With all the big cannabis money chasing CBD, it’s no wonder that cbd extraction systems are booming. Louisville, Colorado-based IES is well positioned in the expanding cannabis value chain, and much of its future depends on the growing demand for cannabidiol. The company already has more than 100 extraction units in 45 U.S. states, extracting compounds from cannabis and other raw materials through its CO2-based extraction technology, said CEO Kelly Knutson.
IES is currently designing and building a new carbon dioxide machine that is not only faster and more efficient than ethanol, butane or steam, but also automatically separates terpenes, oils and waxes during the process, a major advance.
The investment represented by this highly sophisticated technology is considerable. Extraction systems range in price from a few hundred thousand Euros for infants to millions of Euros for large industrial operations. In addition to IES’ home market in the United States, Knutson has seen demand grow from Australia to Europe, Canada, and Central and South America. While the extraction technology sub-sector may be a particular sweet spot in the CBD value chain, large sums of money are chasing business in each segment. All of which is good to hear.
In the field and on the shop floor
But the machines needed to harvest the full promise of cannabis are also needed much closer to home, and much of the current investment is in the blood, sweat and tears of some dream machines. In pockets around the world, independent entrepreneurs – engineers and other problem solvers – are developing small, specialized cannabis machines, often providing the needed cash as well.
In May 2018, German engineer Heinrich Wieker’s de-leafing machine harvester won an innovation award at ExpoCanamo in Spain.
German engineer Heinrich Wieker, who has been working in the cannabis field and workshop for three years, has developed a mobile harvester and electric cannabis bud stripper that can work in the field or barn or in a small factory. It runs on a trailer behind any small truck or jeep.
While “hand harvesting” may sound like a good marketing slogan, as the availability of raw cannabis increases, it is becoming less and less economically feasible to bring large groups of people into the fields to harvest the crop. The harvester developed by Wieker, Henry’s Harvester, based in Burgdorf, Germany, is designed to deliver fluffy, whole flower tops sorted from the stems of the plant. By means of a chain and roller system, the stems are collected on one side of the machine, while the flowers are collected on the other side.
Wieker invested personal funds and signed a bank loan to finance his harvester, which he has been working on on a daily basis. His goal is to make small farmers more efficient while allowing them to expand their fields and promote high-quality bud production while reducing labor costs.
Image results from the MCHC 3400 hemp harvester
In Latvia, Voldemars Cirulis (left) and Kristaps Eglitis work on a debarker project started by Cirulis, a 95-year-old blind man who lived in Australia in the early 2000s. (Photo: John Rumbold)
In Dzukste, Latvia, metalworker Kristaps Eglitis is working with Voldemars Cirulis on another dreamy little machine, a peeler project started by the 95-year-old Cirulis while living in Australia in the early 2000s. For the small but growing number of cannabis concrete construction enthusiasts around the world (including Eglitis), such machines may finally arrive in the cannabis era.
The value of small machines
These small machines fit into the current cannabis landscape in two important ways. First, they have the potential to help spark a revival of small agricultural businesses. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs – where producers and consumers share the risk of growing food while maintaining a balance between local supply and demand – have been operating in Europe for several years.
Advocates see hemp as a perfect fit for the strategy, which aims to bring supply chains closer to food sources. These visionaries say hemp offers potential not only for food for communities, but also for clothing, health supplies, efficient housing and even fuel. It’s a vision that puts cannabis at the center of agricultural renewal and more sustainable lifestyles.
Small and medium-sized, mobile machines (affordable machines) are also necessary until more industrial-scale farms are launched in large agricultural countries like Canada, the U.S., China, India and Australia. As the industry grows slowly but steadily, cannabis fields often remain small, especially, unfortunately, in the U.S., where federal and state governments have imposed restrictions on crop cultivation.
Large farm machinery is also rolling
At the other end of the agricultural spectrum, European cannabis veteran Rafael Dulon of HANF FARM GmbH in Berlin continues to innovate on his Multi-Combine HC 3400 platform – an extremely flexible industrial-scale cannabis harvester that has been in use across Europe for the past three years. The system allows the crop to be cut multiple times during the vegetation period each year and can harvest both short and long varieties of cannabis as it chews through the field at 10-12 kilometers per hour, collecting and sorting stems, seeds and flowers.
“Of course, financially, it’s a long-term investment,” Dulon said of the MC HC 3400. “But continuing to perfect the harvester is a labor of love. It’s an expression of our confidence in the industry,” said Dulon, who has 20 years of experience in the European cannabis community as a farmer and producer of cannabis foods as well as the flowering material used for extraction.
Despite the relatively constrained situation in the U.S., Colorado-based developer Power Zone also offers a large harvester and processing system – a machine that can be used with existing farm machinery, a key selling point for farmers seeking to maximize returns on their investment. The platform – once again self-funded – is designed for optimal flower production and collection of hemp straw from CBD oil, can crawl across fields at 12 acres per hour and has cutting options between 6 inches and 15 feet off the ground. power Zone’s Fiber Track debarking equipment can process up to 10 tons of hemp straw per hour, converting it into straw for building materials.
Thanks to Tinker
Like everything else in the cannabis industry today, technological advances are in desperate need of investment. It’s great to hear the CBD sector roaring. It’s an attractive gateway to cannabis for early-stage, high-risk investors who need to stay on top of growth. Meanwhile, downstream in the value chain, we should be thankful for the tinkerers, engineers and other dreamers who contribute to the grassroots industry with their time and money while chasing the perfect cannabis machine. They send an important signal: if we are to reap all that cannabis has to offer, we need to invest more in technology and machines up and down the value chain.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
With all the big cannabis money chasing CBD, it’s no wonder that cbd extraction systems are booming. Louisville, Colorado-based IES is well positioned in the expanding cannabis value chain, and much of its future depends on the growing demand for cannabidiol. The company already has more than 100 extraction units in 45 U.S. states, extracting […]