Pro Tips and Consulting Services
Fee based support is available from these groups who own Infinity Supercritical extraction systems.
Brook B <email@example.com> | Green County Hemp: Owns (2) 10L Systems | Specializes in hemp and hemp extract products | Consulting Services: Start-up, training, optimization, marketing, on-site available, post-processing, CO2 pump | (Wisconsin, Midwest, online support)
Todd F<firstname.lastname@example.org> | Owns Multiple 10L Systems |Consulting Services: Start-up, training, optimization, marketing, post-processing, CO2 pump |(California and online support)
Jonathan C<email@example.com> | Resonance Farms Hemp: Owns (2) 10L Systems | Specializes in hemp and hemp extract products | Consulting Services: Start-up, training, optimization, CO2 pump | (Pacific Northwest and global coverage via email, and online support)
Pro Tips from Jonathan:
Cat 310 Pumps: Regarding our experience with the Cat pump and seals, they are pretty finicky for sure. Through the thousands of hours that we have run our machines, we have learned a lot about how to have successful runs.
We have helped a good number of folks with the Infinity 10L machines overcome their issues of pump failures and unsuccessful runs.
Here are some of the most common issues we have encountered.
Machine not building pressure – This is typically result of having material in the pump. We have found that even a tiny speck of plant material in the pump can cause the pumps to not build pressure. This can be remedied by taking the pump apart and throughly cleaning with ethanol. We clean all the seals and valve parts as well as flushing the pump body with ethanol. If any seals appear damaged at this point they get replaced.
The seals we replace the most are the tiny ones that are around the valves. We have had a lot of success re-using the high and low pressure seals and feel like these are pretty durable parts.
The main thing here is to be able to execute a run without getting traces of plant material in the pump. There are a few techniques that seem to help achieve this.
- Always use the extraction baskets (we have talked with some owners who seem to think it’s ok to just fill the extraction chamber with plant material. The extraction baskets are the first ‘filter’ to traces of plant material. This is super important. Also, we have had most success with using pretty much whole flower / biomass and NOT grinding it down. Having the material with some structural integrity seems to keep it in the basket.
- When moving pressure through the machine (especially into the extraction chamber and equalizing the extraction chamber with the pump) this must happen very slowly. Like turning the valve until you just barely hear it. If this step is done too quickly, plant material seems to be moved along with the gas and can get into the pump and lines. Also, pressurizing the pump too fast can cause the valves to lock, so this process of very slowly moving the pressure through the system is key.
- Temperature of the extraction environment is important. Those pumps are essentially moving the CO2 that should be liquid after it goes through the heat exchanger. This can only happen when the chiller is adequately working (we keep it between 31-34 F). If the temperature surrounding the pump (or the pump itself) is warm, the liquid CO2 will change back to gas when it hits the pump and cause a pump failure (you can see this by observing bubbles in the sight glass). We recommended keeping the extraction environment under 70F and ideally closer to 60F. If this is not possible due to the facility, we have seen success with operators by ducting an air conditioner to blow directly on the pump. This has been a game changer for some folks we have helped out. Also, be aware of where the chiller(s) are and make sure the heat they are giving off is not impacting the temperate of the pump/machine. This can be remedied with fans moving the hot air away or having the chillers in a different area completely.
Other common issues:
Lines getting clogged – if suspected remove the line and attempt to move air through it (blow on it). If air cannot pass through easily, then the line is probably clogged. This is more common at the elbows, but sometime occurs in the straights. This can be remedied by soaking the line with ethanol and then flushing with ethanol and pressure. Lines can get clogged with sediment as well as oil (lines into and between the collection chambers). A sonication bath can also be used to clean parts.
Using too much pressure – we recommend for folks to do trials with their material and find the lowest temperature / pressure settings that work. It is better to have a longer run time at lower temps / pressure than constant failed runs with high temp and pressure. I can’t give out our specific extraction perimeters, but the cooler the better.
Not doing cleaning runs – after about 50-100 hours of use the machine should be run with just ethanol in the extraction chamber and pumped though the machine at a higher pressure than the production runs. Ethanol should be allowed to circulate for a while (at least 45-60min) before differentiating the pressure and collecting it. Every time we do this, a lot of gunk comes out. Also, it’s very important to to clean out the extraction chamber after each run with a shop vac.
Too much material in the extraction chamber – we think of the extraction process a lot like making a shot of espresso. If the material is packed in too tight the solvent does not access all of the material and will either channel through inefficiently or not go through at all. All I can say here is pack it tight but not too tight. We typically run 1100-1400 grams of starting material.
Closing Comments: I hope this helps as I do believe the machines you manufacture are good machines that can create an excellent product. They do take a very skilled operator to work well though. My company does offer CO2 machine troubleshooting & operator training and would be grateful for any recommendations to clients who may need help.
Cat 310 Plunger Pump Low and High Pressure Seals | Please purchase low and high pressure seals from Cat Pumps directly. We have canvased successful operators of the Cat 310 pump and they claim that the Cat Pump seals work fine with CO2 as of August 20, 2020. Proper machine operation is attributed to longevity of seals (more than a month per set).