For businesses across the spectrum of the cannabis industry, extracts are in high demand. Innovation has led to a wide range of new cannabis and hemp products available for retail, and smart entrepreneurs are thinking strategically about the extraction equipment they use in their operations. According to Headset, vape pens alone accounted for nearly 25 percent of overall industry sales in the first quarter of 2022. As the industry continues to expand and innovation persists, businesses with the right extraction equipment will be more capable of meeting the evolving marketplace’s demands.
3 Methods of Extraction
As with any significant purchase, smart businesses develop a comprehensive understanding of their options before making any investment. There are three main methods of extraction used to create high-quality hash. When the processes are conducted correctly, they all produce a final product without any leftover solvent residue. However, each method maintains its own appeal.
Ethanol extraction is a popular method because of its versatility; it can produce several different cannabinoid derivatives. This may be ideal for craft processors creating high-end exploratory products or large-scale labs working to isolate specific terpenes or cannabinoids. Ethanol extraction processes must be conducted in C1D1 or C1D2 conditions because it involves volatile, flammable substances. This means the layout of an ethanol extraction lab must be designed and outfitted according to strict government regulations. A big selling point for ethanol extraction is its solid ROI and cost-effective operation. Ethanol is recoverable and reusable over multiple cycles, making the process easily scalable and financially responsible for many operators.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extraction uses pressurized supercritical CO2 to lift cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp biomass. Unlike ethanol, CO2 is not volatile as a solvent and is commonly used to produce essential oils. Manufacturers of medicinal products may be drawn to CO2 extraction to ensure their extracts are safe for consumers with compromised immune systems. CO2 extraction is also an appealing option for those creating vape products and other concentrates. Using CO2 helps maintain the flavor profiles of the strain during the extraction process because it preserves fragile terpenes.
Solventless extraction uses heat, pressure, ice, or water to extract cannabinoids from plant matter. With the rapid development of cannabis processing technology and the consumers’ overwhelming demand for “clean” products, solventless extraction has grown in popularity. According to Headset, solventless products are contributing to the overall rise of the concentrated cannabis sector despite their relatively high retail price. It is worth noting that some common cultivars, like OG Kush, do not perform as well in solventless extraction.
If you’re researching your next major extraction equipment purchase, consider some of the following leading options for ethanol, C02, and solventless systems designed for the cannabis industry.
Apeks Supercritical Duplex
The Apeks Duplex is a CO2 system optimized for both subcritical and supercritical processing. Using a continuous batch operation system and featuring multiple separator cups, the Duplex can process up to 180 pounds of dried botanical material per day. Its closed-loop system recovers 95 percent of the CO2 for efficient extraction of oils without thermal degradation. There are no decompression valves in this system, meaning operators never have to worry about clogs. Its open-frame design and visual indication of valve positions enable easy configuration. The Duplex can be fully automated with its integrated chiller control, ability to interface with SQL databases, and data collecting control panel.
Delta Separations VTS-50
Delta Separations recently launched its solventless extractor, the VTS-50, using cold-water mechanical separation techniques for producing ice-water hash. A two-person team can output up to 33 pounds of dry hash per day, with options for manual operations or automated functions. The VTS-50 uses crossflow vortex agitation with customizable ranges to separate trichomes in water as suspended undissolved solids. Once this water and trichome mix is separated from the remaining biomass, it’s easy to filter, separate, collect, and dry the product for use in high-quality, light-colored hash. The machine is also easy to clean, UL certified, and comes with comprehensive customer support.
Eden Labs Hi-Flo FX2
Eden Labs’ Hi-Flo FX2 is a powerful closed-loop CO2 extractor with the ability to process over 100 pounds of biomass in a single day. This system’s automation software collects valuable data for research and development, offers rich analysis for pilot programs, and provides industrial output evaluation. The Hi-Flo FX2 features an electric pump for quiet and dependable operations, no internal moving parts for seamless operations, and fast terpene capture with an advanced oil integrity cup design. Eden Labs also offers onsite installation and training, and they guarantee operator certification in two days. With the available Self-Sufficiency Kit, it’s easy to keep the system operating at peak performance over the long run.
This CO2 extractor is a versatile cold trap available for terpene and vapor recovery in pre-extraction decarboxylation processes. Decarboxylation of the biomass using vacuum ovens is performed before CO2 extraction, increasing the efficiency and accuracy of terpene captures. Depending on biomass moisture, ExtraktLAB’s terpTRAP can handle 10 tons per day. Its heat exchanger is capable of 20 tons of heat exchange capacity and features process connections to support chilling, vacuum, and condensates produced by the largest decarboxylation processes. Using the vacuum distillation method collects terpene vapors for high-quality products and makes biomass more liquid-soluble. The terpTRAP is UL certified, GMP compliant, and accommodates full-spectrum terpene recovery.
GreenBroz 420 Alchemist
With GreenBroz 420 Alchemist Trichome Extractor, businesses can turn their trim into high-quality kief, ideal for producing profitable solventless extracts. The 420 Alchemist, with an eight cubic foot capacity, yields 15 to 25 percent by weight through their standard 180-micron screens that can be used with or without dry ice. It is also incredibly simple to operate; with just one adjustable timer dial to turn, the operator can lock the trim, unlock the tumbler, and set the timer for seamless functionality. The whisper-quiet motor spins the trim chamber at 20 revolutions per minute, and its surgical grade steel design is easy to clean and food-grade certified. GreenBroz American-made products come with a three-year warranty and boast customizable compatibility with almost any system for post-harvest automation.
Precision Extraction C-40 Centrifugal Extractor
Precision Extraction is a branch of Agrify, the vertically-integrated cannabis solutions provider, that creates top-of-the-line ethanol extractors for businesses of all sizes. The C-40 is designed for mid- and large-scale volumes with C1D1 compliance and PSI certification. In a 10 to 20-minute cycle, the C-40 can process up to 40 pounds of biomass. The low-temp configuration features multi-function jacketed housing that supports either liquid coolant or vacuum insulation. With impressive efficiency and accuracy, the C-40 removes 98 percent of cannabinoids from biomass and removes 97 percent of solvents from final products. Precision Extraction knows that its machinery is a big investment for any business, and offers financing options to make acquisition fast, easy, and economical.
Pure Pressure Pikes Peak Rosin Press
Pure Pressure has created a rosin press that is lauded by many in the cannabis industry. The solventless extractor can process up to 3.75 pounds of flower or over seven pounds of dry sift or hash per day. The aluminum heat plate assemblies feature independent thermocouples which evenly distribute heat and ensure temperature accuracy. Each Pikes Peak Rosin Press includes two sets of orientation legs, so the machine can operate vertically or horizontally. Pure Pressure’s custom intuitive software, called Pressware, enables incredible control, consistency, and the ability to save up to 29 pre-set recipes for consistency across markets and suppliers. To guarantee customer satisfaction, Pure Pressure offers a two-year warranty and professional end-user support.