If you’re looking to start a cannabis extraction business, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is selecting the right extraction equipment. Choosing the right equipment can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be with the help of H&H’s team of experts.
There are many factors to consider, from what type of products you want to create and how much material you want to process, to the type of licensing and extraction lab that will be required. Answering these questions will help determine the right type of extraction equipment for your business. Here’s a short guide on how to pick the right extraction equipment for your business.
Types of Extraction Equipment
Hydrocarbon Extractors use butane or propane as a solvent. Hydrocarbon extraction is the most popular extraction method, as it allows extractors to make many different extracts. Some of these extracts include shatter, budder, wax, live resin, and THC diamonds. Hydrocarbon extraction is ideal for small to medium size extraction and is more common in cannabis extraction than hemp extraction.
Hydrocarbon extractors can typically process from 40-200 lbs per day. While hydrocarbon extraction allows you to create a more diverse lineup of finished products, there are also more safety requirements for this type of volatile extraction. One of these requirements is a C1D1 lab to house the hazardous extraction process.
Co2 Extractors use carbon dioxide to separate cannabinoids from the plant material. One of the biggest benefits of Co2 extraction is that it does an incredible job of extracting and separating the terpenes from both the plant material and the extract. Co2 is a preferred method for some of the most popular vape cartridge companies for this reason.
Co2 is generally considered very safe as it is non volatile and leaves no trace of solvent in the finished product. It also does not require a C1D1 lab, since there are no hazardous gasses that could cause an explosion if ignited. Co2 extractors have a similar throughput to hydrocarbon systems, usually having the capability of processing around 50-100 pounds of biomass per day.
Ethanol Extractors use ethanol as the solvent to extract cannabinoids from plant material, and are considered less hazardous than hydrocarbon extraction systems. This is because the liquid ethanol is much less likely to create an ignition risk than the gaseous hydrocarbons. However, ethanol is extremely limiting in the products that can be produced from this process.
The single oil ethanol is capable of producing, commonly called Crude Oil, is sometimes used in full spectrum extract products like tinctures, but is most often refined through distillation. This really limits the finished products that can be produced. While the products are limited, ethanol extraction allows extractors to process very high volumes of plant material or biomass. Ethanol extractors are capable of processing 10,000+ pounds of biomass per day.
Solventless Extractors have grown in popularity over the last few years. These extraction systems use either ice water or heat and pressure to extract the cannabinoids. Ice hash has evolved from the old style of “bubble hash” that was used for years before the development of extraction technology. Cold water and ice knock off the trichomes and are then filtered from the ice water. Similarly, rosin presses use heat and pressure to “squish” out the cannabinoids in a way that does not require any other solvent. These systems are safe and less expensive, but are very limited in both the products that can be made and the amount of material that can be processed.
How Much Material Do You Need To Process?
Another key factor when choosing your extraction system is how much material you need it to process. The capacity of each system varies widely and is largely based on its physical size and the solvents being used. It’s important to determine your needs before investing in an expensive piece of machinery. It’s also important to consider scalability, and if you plan to expand in the next few years. One great option is a modular system, like H&H’s line of EX hydrocarbon extractors. These models allow extractors to add additional solvent tanks and material columns down the road as their businesses grow.
Extraction Lab Requirements
Finally, it’s important to consider what type of lab will be needed for your chosen extraction system. Some systems require specialized rooms with advanced ventilation systems and safety measures such as fire suppression systems and gas monitoring in order to reduce potential hazards associated with combustible solvents like butane or propane.
Hydrocarbon systems require C1D1 Labs to house the volatile extraction process.
Ethanol systems may be required to be inside a C1D1 or C1D2 lab depending on a number of factors. Check out our blog to learn more about C1D1 and C1D2 Labs.
Co2 Extractors and Solventless Extraction Systems are not required to be in a classified space, but should be contained to a clean room to keep the process, materials, and finished products clean.
It’s always best practice to consult a professional team that is clear on the codes and requirements for your equipment before making a purchase. A good way to find out more about your requirements based on your local jurisdiction is to find your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction)
Selecting the right type of extraction equipment for your cannabis business is no easy task – from determining what kind of products you want to make and how much material you want it process, all the way down to what kind of lab requirements are needed – there’s a lot that goes into making this decision. Don’t go in alone! H&H Extraction Solutions are leaders in the field and we are here to help you every step of the way. Reach out to our team of experts to see what type of extraction system and extraction lab best fits your needs.