Marijuana Business Magazine January 2020

January 2019 | 97 For Taylor Durmer, chief operating officer of Denver Dab Co., a Colorado- based marijuana extraction business, he wanted a machine that was capable of handling more than one solvent— butane and propane—for the variety of concentrates it could produce, including sugar wax and shatter. Build In Added Capacity In 2015, when Durmer started creating concentrates, his hydrocarbon-extraction system could process about 2-3 pounds of raw material at a time. “If everything was equal, we would have bought a bigger unit at the time,” he said. Durmer recommends that anyone buying a machine consider one larger than current needs demand. Since 2015, he’s purchased two other hydrocarbon machines: one with more volume and the other a little smaller but allowing for more premium product formulation. Robson of Valens GroWorks echoes Durmer’s advice: “Demand is always bigger than expected,” Robson said. It’s also a good idea to build in redundancy. For example, in Robson’s operation, he would rather run multiple medium-sized machines than one large one, in case something breaks. “Any time we start running a machine at 70%, we go buy another one,” he said. “Just to make sure if and when a machine goes down, we can still run that excess capacity.” At Spherex, a CO 2 extraction and distillation company based in Aurora, Colorado, founder and Chief Technology Officer Niccolo Aieta guessed on the high side of his company’s potential, and Spherex is still growing into the equipment he purchased. “We thought we were going to be processing 20% of the marijuana that’s being grown in the state, and right now we’re processing 3%-4%,” he said. Spherex is processing 2,000-3,000 pounds of cannabis a month, according to Aieta. When he chose the extraction manufacturer for Spherex, Aieta said he wanted to use a company that wasn’t designing equipment specifically for the cannabis industry but was instead an existing chemical process equipment manufacturer. Aieta decided to go with Thar Process, the more established equipment company, because he found it to offer a higher level of professionalism and quality. Also, the company had been around longer. “The trick there is being able to speak enough geek to those Extraction equipment can be one of the biggest purchases a cannabis company will make. The machines cost thousands of dollars, can be very fickle and require ongoing maintenance. When thinking about purchasing extraction equipment, consider: • Special features may be necessary for the type of product you plan to produce. • Room for scalability can be crucial as production demands increase. Purchasing equipment that can be expanded upon could prevent the need to purchase an entirely new extractor down the road. • Manufacturers may offer different levels of post-sale support and customer service. • Ascertain the company’s reputation via word-of-mouth and online industry forums. Taylor Durmer Photo Courtesy of Denver Dab Co. Before purchasing extraction equipment, clearly define what product will be produced, as that should inform any purchasing decisions. Photo Courtesy of Valens GroWorks