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.