FAQ: Commonly asked questions and answers for extraction
Are your systems automated ?
Simplicity: Because our systems are not automated, you do not have to worry about software updates, system shutdowns (in the middle of a run due to power failure or software hickups), or problematic pressure control.
Do you have full automation ?
Full Automation: After consulting with botanical extraction professionals, we have decided against moving forward with full automation with our CO2 10L system. Our customers are getting such great results with a semi-automated system, we believe it is not advantageous to deploy fully automated PLC systems. After talking with several customers, we do not believe that a fully automated system, is the best choice for a production Cannabis oil operation. With fully automated systems lights-out means when you lose power, or the software bongles, it automatically vents all your CO2 which can get very expensive, plus you’ve lost your extraction run.
Why is your system faster and better at extraction ?
FlowBar: We distribute CO2 over the length of the extraction vessel, and from the inside of the Cannabis to the outside. The result is a much faster, and complete extraction. This means that you can run through 2-4 times more cycles than with the same size competition. With our system, you can do a extraction cycle in 1-3 hours. Faster extraction means more profit, so your payback is even faster with our system. To be conservative, just plan on a 3 hour extraction time, and experiment with your actual extraction time.
Why is your system better at collecting botanical oil ?
Electro-Static Precipitation System: We use the action of the CO2 flowing over food-grade Teflon to produce a passive static charge. The tribo-effect charges the oil entrained in the CO2 gas so that it sticks to the first contact, which is the first collection vessel. Better collection equals less or minimal carry-over, which reduces pump maintenance.
What is your tube size ?
Tube Size: We use 1/4 to 1/2 inch Swagelok tubes and components, which allow better flow of the CO2.
How loud is your system ?
Silent CO2 Pump: We use a highly-modified industrial liquid Cat CO2 pump, which runs using a motor. Operation is silent. Our extensive modification means very minimal maintenance, and seal replacement can be done by removing the pump head (about 5 minutes), cleaning the pistons (about 10 minutes), and replacing seals (about 10 minutes).
Does your system use a loud annoying expensive compressor ?
No Compressor: We do not need, nor use, a external pneumatic air compressor (or additional chiller to cool the compressor which gets hot from use). Compressor is so loud, that most systems which require it, will need a separate room because it’s so noisy. Noise produces extractor technician fatigue.
What type of quality valves does your system use which are made in the USA ?
Swagelok Back Pressure Valve: We use a very precise BVP, which allows us to achieve very accurate pressures. We do not use valveless technology, which produces pressure swings.
Do you preheat the CO2 ?
CO2 Preheat: We use a heat exchanger on our motor-to-pump gearbox, which preheats the CO2 before it gets into the extraction vessel. By using the heat (byproduct of the gearbox), we are conserving energy and preheating the CO2.
How do you automatically control system pressure and temperature ?
Pressure and Heat Zone Feedback PID: We use compact PLCs to control the pressure (with a feedback loop via digital sensor) and three zone heat monitor, control, and feedback.
Is your system durable and how mobile is it ?
Less Complicated: The system we have is modular, on a sturdy industrial bolt-together frame, with casters, and can be wheeled through any standard door, hallway, or elevator. The modular cart is 24 inches wide, by 48 inches long, by 71 inches in height. You will notice the clean lines, minimal tubing, and logical layout of the components. This is designed to reduce complexity, and operation of the machine is methodical and logically streamlined.
What do you need to run your system ?
Less Stuff Needed to Run: Our system requires a liquid CO2 supply (cylinders), and a small chiller. That’s it. No air compressor, or items to support that compressor.
What does your system extract ?
Quality Extract: Our customers who perform extraction, say that their ultimate customers rave about the quality and aroma of the extracted oil. The quality terpenes that are extracted and ultimately preserved, make the end-user experience a quality one.
What innovations are you working on ?
New Technology: We’re working on a solid state chiller (bolt-on), energy saver heating/cooling technology, acoustical ultrasonics, and other advanced technology, which not only enhance the operator experience, but will reduce cycle time, while increasing quality of extract. The bottom line is to save you time, and increase production, which result in more profit. We are also working on SDR (Spinning Disc Reactor) technology which will allow continuous flow processing, and without pressure or CO2.
Do I need Training ?
Yes. This is high-pressure system, which requires operator training. We offer a one-day training session to introduce you into the system operation, safety, start-up and shut-down procedures, and pump maintenance. You may require more than one day of training. We suggest you do several practice runs with the machine empty (no botanicals) and then practicing using hops, or some other lower cost oil-rich botanical.
What is FlowBar, and how does it work ?
Infinity Supercritical is the first in the industry to introduce a device and method for faster deliverability and penetration of the CO2 (solvent) through the botanical. Every other manufacturer will introduce CO2 from one end of the botanicals extraction vessel, and exit from the opposite end. Since the CO2 has to migrate through the entire vessel, the term soak time was coined, which basically is the time it takes for the CO2 to start acting as a solvent to extract oil. It’s such an inefficient method of CO2 delivery, that some groups will actually reverse flow of the CO2, so that the botanicals get better exposure from each end of the vessel. FlowBar eliminates this issue, but delivering CO2 evenly through the entire length of the vessel, so the CO2 permeates the botanicals and can act faster as a solvent, to release the oil.
What is Electrostatic Precipitation (ESP) and why is it important with Cannabis Oil collection ?
Infinity Supercritical is the first in the industry to introduce its patent-pending electrostatic precipitation collection, which enhances the rate and amount of collection of the Botanical Oil extract. This means that more oil is collected in the vessel where you can access it, rather than having the oil have the opportunity to go through the entire system, potentially clogging the pump system. Oil carry over is a problem with all extraction systems in the industry, and is the leading cause to time consuming maintenance, pump failure, and continual replacement of valve and pump seals.
Do extraction systems have a specific yield ?
Extraction systems are not sold based on yield or performance, since ultimately the operator has full control of whether or not a system operates to any level of yield or performance. Training is available and encouraged for the operator to learn how to operate the system and utilize the full capabilities of the extraction process. Without proper experience or training, it’s unlikely you’ll get any results. Ultimately, yield will also depend on quality of your botanicals. Quality in = quality out. We recommend that you get your Cannabis (or other botanical) tested in a lab, before you start an extraction run, so you can see what oil is available in the material. This will give you a benchmark on what to expect from your system. Also keep in mind that high pressure systems claim to have a better yield, but that yield will also include lots more waxes and other compounds, which need to be separated out later in post-processing (winterization and distillation). Our system below 2,000 psi specifically targets terpene and oil production, while leaving the majority of waxes and other non-usable compounds behind.
Should I Fractionate at the Machine Level, or During Post Processing ?
The most efficient, profit generating extraction facilities do a primary CO2 extraction which results in a crude-oil. You then winterize, rotovap, and then can fractionate after that. While you can use the three collection vessels with optional BPV’s to fractionate, it’s more efficient to do so after the CO2 extraction process.
What is Decarboxylation, and why do I need to convert THCA to THC ?
Decarboxylation (or decarbing) is removing the CO2 and water vapor (COOH) from the botanicals, which can be done in an oven, or over time via air drying. It’s a chemical reaction which carboxylic acids loose a carbon atom in the carbon chain, that converts THCA to THC. 30 minutes at 240 F or 115 C. The results are dramatic. With a 30 minute decarb, THC in Kief can go from 3.8 percent to 25.4 percent. The THCA with 30 minutes goes from 24.5 percent to 2.6 percent. Longer times did not result in any statistically better percentages, but no more than 60 minutes is required. For Cannabis Trim, the THC goes from .6 percent to 4.8 percent, while the THCA goes from 6.5 percent to 2.9 percent. Again, a longer decarb did not result in much better percentages, however depending on moisture content, times do not need to exceed 60 minutes. However, decarbing might reduce or destroy Terpenes (see below). A combined Terpene extraction, followed by decarb, and then extraction may be worth trying. Moisture content will effect time in the oven. More moisture = more time.
What about Terpenes during Decarboxylation ?
Besides cannabinoids, the cannabis plant contains a range of terpenes, which are the volatile compounds that give cannabis its distinct smell and may act synergistically with cannabinoids. Although preheating the plant material may release more of the known active (neutral) cannabinoids, it may simultaneously also cause loss by degradation or evaporation of components such as terpenes. Our tests were intended to better clarify the balance between desired decarboxylation and unwanted degradation. Unheated cannabis material was analyzed as a control. Source: Cannabis Oil: chemical evaluation of an upcoming cannabis-based medicine Luigi L Romano, Arno Hazekamp Department of Pharmacy, University of Siena, Italy Plant Metabolomics group, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, The Netherlands
What are Terpenes ?
Terpenes are found in the essential oils (flavinoids) of plants, consisting of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons. Found commonly in conifers and citrus trees. In Cannabis, terpenes are the oily compound, and the main building block of resin that contribute to the flavor, scent and color of the oil. The aeromatic nature of the Terpene give Cannabis its unique smell. Terpenes are volatile molecules that evaporate easily, and are oily compounds secreted by the plants Trichomes. Cannabinoids and Terpenoids develop from THC and Terpenes that infuse the plants flower tops,share the same biochemical precursor (Geranyl Pyrophosphate). Terpenes have the aroma, while Cannabinoids are odorless. In extraction, Terpenes can be extracted separately than the Cannabinoids, and recombined at the end of the extraction process. Terpenes are generally extracted in lower pressure and no heat. The Infinity System extracts terpenes, just do the first run cold, since the system will run SubCritical or Supercritical.
What kind of pump do you use, and why is it different than others ?
Infinity Supercritical uses a high pressure, high flow, industrial liquid CO2 pump, in combination with a VFD controlled AC motor and gearbox. These pumps are highly modified from the factory to work in the Supercritical CO2 Fluid Extraction environment. Without improvements, expect only a few hours of run time, before pump failure or before major maintenance is required. After our pump modifications, expect routine maintenance around once per month. Infinity manufacturers its own seals, which have proven to have better run-time, and less fouling than the factory-supplied plunger pump seals. The CO2 pump is the heart of any extraction system. Its smooth operation is key to smooth run cycles and reduced run time, and reduced downtime. Infinity Supercritical sells high pressure seal kits, valve kits, and complete improved Cat CO2 pumps. The CO2 is heated, in part, directly after the CO2 pump, but a heat exchanger connected to the gearbox, which utilizes waste heat. Additional heat is supplied to the CO2 by use of solid state electrical heaters.
How are extracts collected ? Can you run the same botanicals twice ?
Extracts are collected and taken from the three collection/separation vessels. Extraction is an art, and a combination of compounds is extracted when you vary the pressure, temperature and time. Extraction products may also vary if you decarboxylate the Cannabis before doing an extraction run. Higher pressures and temperatures result in more waxes and chlorophyll. For example, you can run the first hour without heat, to extract terpenes, etc. More than 95 percent (depends on the extraction technique) is extracted on the first cycle/run. Depending on your target compound and/or end product, you may run once, or twice.
How are the fractions separated ?
There are three collection/separation vessels. The standard configuration has one back pressure valve (which allows the other vessels to cascade), but you may select three if you would like to fractionate at three pressures and/or temperatures amongst the vessels. Fractions are separated by pressure. You can also fractionate as part of the post-processing stage, where you can employ the use of distillation equipment or a flash chromatography system. This allows you to separate terpenes, THC, CB D, and other components of the oil. They can then be recombined in a recipe, specific to the end use (custom vape pen, concentrate, etc.). This technique allows you to make a vape pen (or other product) which has a higher concentration of THC, or CB D’s, etc. In the real world, most crude oil extraction takes place in the first collection vessel, then post-processed.
What is the material you use for the pressure vessels and system ?
All pressure vessels are stainless steel. All tubing and pipes are stainless steel. Hoses are industrial grade, pressure rated, and braided. All fittings and valves are the highest quality Swagelok brand. The frame is our own design Caster Beam metal, which is bolted together for modular construction and easy add-on modification. The entire build is on four heavy duty casters (two which lock in place), and the footprint is designed so that the entire system can fit though any standard door, elevator, and hallway. All components have easy access for operation and maintenance.
What is a Spinning Disc Reactor ?
Infinity Supercritical has developed a SDR that can be used for botanical oils extraction using distilled water. This is the industry-first completely organic extraction method which does not use hydrocarbons or CO2. This is a quantum leap for the botanicals industry, since it is virtually a one push-button operation. This method is continuous feed, and only uses water was the solvent. Unlike legacy batch systems (CO2, hydrocarbon, etc.) you can feed material into this system at continuous rate, and it is processed within seconds.
What are the Maintenance Costs ?
You are responsible for all consumables, and any part failure replacement. The machine is fully pressure tested, and run-in tested (and documented) before it leaves the shop. In general, the consumables are o-rings and other pump-related items. If you run properly, and clean the machine regularly, you can expect to clean the pump about once a month. The record (so far) is two months without pump cleaning (running the machine almost daily), and they are in experts at running the machine. The machine has one moving rotary component, the pump assembly.
What Maintenance is needed ?
After every run, make sure the extraction vessel is cleaned. If you run with proper parameters, which result in all of the oil being collected, you don’t have to worry about carry-over and pump cleaning, other than routine seal change.
How Long is the Machine Down for Maintenance ?
Since the only moving part on the machine is the pump, that is the area of focus (aside from making sure the extraction vessel is clean after every run). To remove the pump head, and clean, replace seals, expect at most 1 hour downtime. If you purchase the pump cleaner, it’s a matter of replacing a few pressure hoses, and then run the alcohol cleaner for a few minutes, and replace hoses, and you’re all set. You don’t have to remove the pump head, as it’s cleaned in place.
What is Preparation Time Before a Run ?
Fill basket with botanical and CO2 into machine. Expect 30 minutes.
What is Energy Usage During a Cycle ?
Expect 1-4 kW per hour during run time.
How Many People Does it Take to Operate the Machine ?
One person can run the machine.
How do I learn extraction properly ?
Recommended Learning Schedule and Strategy: After selling lots of systems, and determining the best practice to learn extraction, we have developed a learning system to help you minimize pump maintenance, and maximize yield and successful extraction runs. If you follow our learning plan, and practice extraction runs on hops, you can expect proper system operation, low pump maintenance, and extractions up to the full oil content of your botanicals.If you follow this schedule, you will learn quickly. If you do not follow this schedule, then you can expect pump clogging, building pressure issues, and lack of yield or extract. If you decide to not follow our plan, then you can expect to have pump problems (from improperly running the system) and little to no yield (extraction). To be clear, if you do not follow our recommended plan, you may get zero results. Prior experience on other CO2 extraction machines doesn’t make any difference to running a new machine, with a different configuration. To be clear, you need proper training, and follow a well thought-out plan to succeed if you want to have great extractions.
What is the Learning Schedule For Extraction ?
We suggest you do several practice runs with the machine empty (no botanicals – just CO2) and then practicing using hops (with known oil content). We recommend using 1 pound of hops in the extraction vessel, and doing at least 10 practice runs up to 1,400 psi. Adjust the extraction time from 1 to 4 hours, and compare results. You may also practice with doing the first 30-45 minutes without any heat, to collect terpenes. Practice on low value hops first, gain experience, then move on to your trim or bud. Hops have a 15-20 percent oil content, so they are good for learning.Improper use of the 10L system can result in component damage, which is not a warranty issue, it’s a flag for the operator to continue to learn, and train with the system for proper, profitable operation. Unless you have had your botanicals tested for oil content, we do not recommend learning on any botanicals with unknown oil content. To be clear, do not use your trim or bud to start with.
How do I know a used machine is good since the industry is full of untrustworthy people ?
Buyer beware. You have no idea if your machine runs, if you purchase from Ebay, or used, unless it has been certified or reconditioned and tested by Infinity. We do not provide support for used machines, unless you have either done a reconditioned/certification at our shop, or have paid a $10,000 access fee. Support is not included with your used machine. Any recertification, parts, support, or any time, is extra, and billed on a customer and per-case basis. If your machine does not run, we may not support it at all (since we have no idea if it has been damaged, modified, etc.). There is no warranty for used machines.Purchasing Used Machines: Any used machine may or may not be operational. It is your responsibility to determine the operability of the machine prior to purchase, or just assume it does not work at all. Please purchase a new machine with a warranty. Any used or secondary machine All service, support, and parts are additional, and on a per-quote basis. All service and support is on a best-efforts basis.
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