The cannabis industry brings with it a tornado of creative innovation and positive disruption wherever it goes. As the industry grows and spreads, we are seeing innovations which are unique to cannabis, as well as others that tackle existing methodologies, products and services used in other industries. One area where we are especially seeing a break from tradition is in manufacturing.
The hardware manufacturing industry, in its broadest terms, creates a massive assortment of tools, gadgets, and devices out of raw materials. It is a sector which has been around in some shape or form since the Agricultural Revolution 12,000 years ago. Hardware is an example of a specific sector of manufacturing that cannabis is disrupting.
Shenzhen Smoore Technology has been revolutionizing vaporizing technology for the last 12 years and became the National Equities Exchange And Quotations Co.’s (NEEQ – a Chinese OTC trading system) first “10-Bagger” last May. CCELL, one of Smoore’s brands named after its patented ceramic heating technology, is one of the largest vaporizer cartridge and battery manufacturers in the world.
I reached out to a spokesperson for CCELL to ask about how the cannabis industry is innovating traditional hardware manufacturing, who told me:
Based on our observations of the cannabis industry in recent years, developments in innovation have to do with professionalism, prioritizing technology, legalization and compliance. The biggest impact on manufacturing, in our opinion, is to reshuffle manufacturing or to integrate it. We have seen plenty of small-scaled companies and even workshops in China that are not competitive enough on technology, not innovative enough on product development or not up to the standard on production management, and they have become obsolete.
I also spoke with Dominick Volpini, the Vice President of Cloudious9, a high-tech vaporizer company that’s developed the “Hydrology 9,” the first-ever vaporizer with a built-in water filtration system that enables users to combust or vaporize their products. He believes:
Cannabis hardware manufacturing is undergoing rapid innovation as the industry continues to mature, and the CDS (cannabis delivery system) is becoming just as important as the actual branded cannabis product being consumed. How the cannabis is consumed greatly affects the user and brand experience, which is why a number of MSOs [multi-state operators] and LPs have invested in the hardware space. This has led to hardware manufacturing innovations in an effort to deliver new, superior, consistent and safe consumption experiences.
This leads us to a different sector of manufacturing, which the cannabis industry has done much more than simply disrupt; I’m talking, of course, about extraction, refinement and production of concentrates. Extraction manufacturing has in the past meant any processes that involve the extraction of raw materials from the earth to be refined into products bought and used by consumers.
One of the biggest trends in cannabis today is the multitude of different types of extracted concentrates available, including oil, wax, shatter and crumble. Extracting cannabinoids like THC and CBD, as well as terpenes, from cannabis plants can be done in a variety of ways. Some of the more popular methods include the use of hydrocarbons like butane, CO2 , alcohol and even water. Live resin extraction is done without any solvents.
To learn more about the creative ways that the cannabis industry is tackling the demand for concentrates, I first reached out to Colby Zeedyk, Sales & Marketing Director of Extract Craft, a manufacturer of at-home ethanol extraction machines for concentrates and a wide variety of botanical oils. The company’s appliances are marketed as easy and safe to use in the home or small business setting, making high-quality extraction achievable for the masses. These appliances work under vacuum, with low heat, to recover almost all the ethanol for reuse, paying the user back and paying for itself every time the machines are used. Mr. Zeedyk told me:
The need for safe, simple, and effective home extraction equipment for creating one’s own medicinal or culinary oil has never been greater in today’s market with legalization on the horizon. The average home grower isn’t looking for commercial equipment to process large volume of biomass, but they need the innovation and equipment to craft their concentrates. Our ethanol recovery machines allow anyone to craft a beautifully potent extract safely with the touch of button right on their kitchen counter, all without the hazards and unnecessary heat that are involved with many of the various old methods of ethanol evaporation.
Lastly, I heard from Danny Davis, Founder and Chairman at Convectium, a one-stop-shop for cannabis retailers’ sourcing, packaging, shipping or domestic and international manufacturing needs, and the developer of the 710 Shark Filling machine, which fills thousands of oil cartridges per hour. He predicts:
There is a significant amount of data suggesting that the momentum around concentrates will continue its upward trend. Thus, processors and extractors are constantly looking at new ways in which to increase yields. I believe that companies will begin leveraging machine learning to properly predict yields and AI systems to automatically adjust output accordingly. This means that no matter the input, the output is predictable for each strain or crop. Combined with automation systems for filling, bottling or packing, the increase in output will be substantial.
It’s clear that in the area of manufacturing, there’s a tremendous market to be tapped. Innovative and creative approaches to traditional issues, ranging from production equipment to extraction techniques and machinery, are plentiful in the cannabis industry as legalization continues to spread. The future is certainly green.