At Precision, we try to help our customers build high-quality, safe and precise operations for processing hemp. For this article, we’re going to walk you through the various pieces of equipment you’ll need in order to put together your extraction system, and point out some considerations for your business along the way. The best hemp extraction equipment that we’re recommending will get you from start to finish with efficiency, while producing a high-quality product.
And even if you don’t buy your equipment from Precision, we hope we’re able to impart some wisdom and make you feel more comfortable when discussing your system requirements with your potential vendors.
Primary Extraction Equipment
Centrifugal Extraction Systems
When you’re processing hemp in large quantities, throughput is a primary concern. That’s just one reason that ethanol extraction with a centrifuge is a better choice for hemp extraction than butane or propane extraction systems.
There are two approaches to centrifugal extraction – low temperature and room temperature extraction. When we refer to the “temperature,” we are specifically referring to the temperature of the solvent prior to bringing it into the centrifuge and washing the biomass.
Room Temperature Hemp Extraction
Room temperature centrifugal extraction is recommended if you need to process a large volume of plant material each day. Using room temperature extraction is both faster and a less expensive upfront capital expenditure. However, using a room temp ethanol extraction method will necessitate the need for further processing called “winterization” in order to remove fats and waxes from the hemp extract. Winterization requires additional equipment, time and labor to perform.
Low Temperature Hemp Extraction
Low temperature, or cryogenic, centrifugal extraction requires the ethanol solvent to be chilled to extremely low temperatures often at, or below, -40C. A benefit of low temp extraction is that it negates the need for winterization. The sub zero ethanol temperature will not separate the fats, waxes, chlorophyll, and other water soluble components of the plant material into your final extract. There is some added time required to bring the ethanol down to temp as well as the added expense to the tanks and chillers required to perform the low temperature process.
Industrial Hemp Extraction
At some point in large scale processing there is a breaking point where a centrifuge(s) no longer makes fiscal sense for throughput requirements. There are industrial hemp extraction equipment systems with the ability to do the ENTIRE extraction process in an all-in-one solution – including extraction, winterization, filtration, solvent recovery and distillation. These all-in-one systems will ultimately require less total operators, come with some automation features, and have remote monitoring and data logging of your system performance. This is not a centrifugal-style extractor, but still a closed loop extraction system.
Extraction Equipment For Hemp Winterization
Reaction Vessels & Deep Freezers
If you find winterization is required for your crude, then you’re going to need either a reaction vessel or a deep freezer to perform the process. A reaction vessel can be a great choice because it can perform double, or triple duty, as a decarboxylation and crystallization vessel. With the assistance of a temperature control unit, a reaction vessel can also perform the function of winterization faster than a deep freezer alone.
To winterize with a deep freezer, you will place the crude in a food-grade storage container and simply put in the freezer for up to 48 hours.
Regardless of the winterization equipment used to separate those fats and waxes in your hemp oil, you will now need to filter those particles out of your winterized hemp extract. Using a filter press is our top choice for filtering. It’s a reliable piece of equipment, often comes with scalable plates, and is fairly easy to use.
Equipment for Decarboxylation
Again, we see the use for a reaction vessel. Regardless of whether you have had to perform winterization you will need to decarboxylate your crude oil. With the assistance of a heater, the vessel is going to apply heat to your oil in order to perform the process of decarboxylation. This will effectively convert CBDa into CBD. This process is also important and necessary in order to perform distillation properly further in post processing.
Equipment for Hemp Distillation
Wiped Film Distillation
When looking for the best extraction equipment for hemp distillation in larger labs, factors like efficiency, ease of use, and repeatability are absolutely essential. Using an advanced wiped film technique for distillation with the option to operate in continuous mode allows you to create high-purity distillate with consistent results at scale. More traditional short path, bench-top distillation systems operate in a batch-style and can be very challenging when trying to meet high production quotas.
Need To Know More About The Best Extraction Equipment For Hemp?
As a leading provider of extraction equipment and technology, we’d love to talk to you about how we can help you with cannabis extraction equipment, technology, site planning, compliance, lab build-out, installation, consulting, or training. Schedule your free consultation today!