Whether you are a long-time leader in the cannabis industry or are still in the process of getting your business off the ground, there are some critical pieces of information you should try to have confirmed to save yourself time and headache when buying cannabis extraction equipment. Having clear specifications will also ensure the vendors you are engaging are in fact comparing apples to apples as well.
Define Your Requirements
Our team has put together a helpful list of topics and questions you will likely be asked by a quality manufacturer to determine the right extraction equipment to buy.
Type of Plant
Question: Are you processing cannabis, hemp, or both?
The very first thing to keep in mind is also the most basic — whether you are processing hemp or marijuana. The processing and manufacturing requirements are going to be different depending on which species of cannabis you are processing. Being clear from the beginning on what your input material is will lay the groundwork for the rest of the conversation.
Question: What is your desired throughput?
Simply put, throughput is the amount of plant material you will be processing. This is one of the most important and most difficult pieces of information to have when starting a cannabis company. While it may be hard to give an exact answer, having a rough idea will be beneficial. Expanding on throughput, there are two additional questions you will likely be asked.
Question: What size crop do you have?
Whether you are growing hemp or marijuana, it is important for the manufacturer to understand the size of your crop, as well as the acreage of the farm or size of the greenhouse to forecast future yields.
Question: Do you want to process hemp or marijuana for other people?
Once the manufacturer understands the size of your personal crop, they can move on to determining the amount of product you might be interested in processing for someone else — either now or in the future.
Question: What is your solvent preference?
Solvent preference is something only some manufacturers are comfortable taking the lead on, but they should definitely be happy to listen to your preferences. Ultimately, a supplier’s final product recommendation is going to be based on the products they offer. However, speaking with an extraction manufacturer that has working experience with other solvents and blends can be very helpful in understanding the pros and cons of different solvents.
Question: What products do you want to make?
As mentioned previously, product selection is going to determine many of the other extraction equipment recommendations. An equipment supplier needs to understand what types of products you are specifically looking to manufacture — be it hemp or marijuana products. Whether you are producing basic products or more craft concentrates will determine what kind of solvent and equipment you should use. Below are the more common cannabis products processing companies look to manufacture:
Popular Hemp Products:
Popular Marijuana Products:
Having a clear understanding of your desired end products can help the manufacturer determine whether it could be beneficial to set up two smaller extraction lines (each running a different solvent), enabling you to manufacture a wide variety of products either now or in the near future.
Facilities & Licenses
Question: Do you currently have a facility and/or license?
While most of the aforementioned questions have more to do with specific equipment requirements, a manufacturer should also ask about your facilities and licenses. You may not even have a facility or license at the time you engage a supplier, but the manufacturer should be able to clearly explain what would be required in your region for extraction equipment and services to be legally offered at your location.
Question: Do you need training for your team?
Training can often be an afterthought when equipment throughput and costs are being calculated, but having a supplier that can offer a wide range of in-person training should be a major consideration when making a choice for the long term.
You may have a group of experienced extraction technicians and only require installation and basic equipment operation. However, you may also have a group of inexperienced or yet-to-be-hired technicians who will require more in-depth training on craft product techniques, large-scale processing methods, or distillation practices. Knowing what kind of training you may need can help you shortlist extraction equipment suppliers early on as well.
Question: Do you need help in the design or build of your lab?
Not every extraction manufacturer is going to be in a position to assist you with this; however, a select few have the in-house specialists to help you through what is too often a labyrinth of prerequisite work before your extraction equipment can even arrive.
Solutions could include prefabricated indoor extraction rooms, modular outdoor extraction pods, or even a full-fledged custom lab design plan complete with mechanical, engineering, and plumbing (MEP) protocols and drawings. If you know you are going to need assistance on the infrastructure of your lab as well, sharing that information with your equipment supplier could help you solve two problems with one phone call.
Don’t Rush It
We understand all too well the eagerness and excitement of buying cannabis extraction equipment (it is the sickest part, don’t get us wrong), and identifying an extraction equipment supplier early on can actually be highly beneficial when designing your lab. However, making sure you have the basic specifications before buying cannabis extraction equipment is a prudent exercise that will pay off in the long run of setting up your business or new location.
How Precision® Can Help
Our sales reps, extraction technicians, and lab design specialists have been doing this for a very long time, and we have experience working with countless start-ups and multi-state operators using hydrocarbon and ethanol cannabis extraction. Whether you are in a newly legalized state or expanding your operations into another region, Precision has the end-to-end expertise to help you get all the questions answered and jobs done.