The cannabis processing industry has been quiet about processing methods for years. Until recently, manufacturers selling equipment for cannabis processing didn't have a clear understanding of the purpose of their machinery within the industry. Recent legal changes have eased the secrecy around both medicinal and recreational access to THC-containing products.
Over the decades, cannabis processors have used their experience to develop techniques that increase the quality and efficiency of their processing operations for the extraction and production of edibles, smokeables and topical ointments. This blog post will focus on the value of industrial sifting, sorting, and screening equipment within the cannabis processing industry.
The terms sifting, screening, and sorting may be used interchangeably. Generally, sifting involves more aggressive agitation, such as centrifugal motion, while screening is a gentler process that uses either manual or automated vibratory motion to sort into various size fractions.
The safety and effectiveness of industrial screeners are well-founded, as such machinery already has an established presence within the food, biomass and pharmaceutical industries. Cannabis processors find industrial sifters and screeners meeting desired FDA, cGMP, and other company or industry standards to guarantee their ability to safely process materials for human consumption and pharmacological use.
Quality and Capacity for CBD and THC
Vibratory screeners and centrifugal sifters can be used for a wide variety of processing tasks in the cannabis processing industry, including:
- Bud sorting In the production of THC-based products, a vibratory sifter enables consistent sorting of different sizes and qualities of buds. Using appropriate separating procedures, processors can sort between small, medium and large buds. These pharmaceutical-quality screeners reduce material handling and dramatically increase throughput for cannabis processors. Bud sorters are available in different sizes to meet a wide range of throughput requirements.
- Separation of flower, leaf, stem and stalk In both CBD and THC production, segregation into different size fractions allows for the best materials for use in extraction (wet and dry) and for producing smokable, edible, and pharmaceutical products.
- Vigorous sifting Plant materials can be broken and segregated from stalk and stem for use in extraction, edible, smokable and premium products.
The sorting of trimmings is best accomplished on multi-deck machines with the gentle motion of vibratory screeners to protect the integrity of the flower materials. These machines greatly increase production rates and eliminate tedious hand work traditionally associated with this process. Sifters and screeners can be mounted on wheels so that they can be moved from room to room for preparing material. The sifters are often used for preparing pre-rolled joint material and sifting macerated trim to avoid channeling during extraction. For most cultivators, it is perfect for sorting flower as well. Ice water hash screeners feature a dewatering process, which is an organic extraction method for separating trichomes from plant material takes advantage of temperature and the liquid carrier to enhance separation. This method of extraction eliminates the need for solvents or other chemicals and is the further development of a 1980s approach created by David “Skunkman” that today is widely used throughout the industry. Sifters and screeners are integral parts of simple separation processes that enhance both wet and dry, as well as cold and ambient extraction methods.
Getting the right equipment for drying and sorting hemp and cannabis gives processors and growers a tremendous boost in their output capability while reducing labor and manual handling associated with cannabis processing. Even small- and mid-sized processors and dispensaries can benefit from high-quality technology for sorting cannabis.
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