I have been traveling around the country helping folks get set up in the extraction/formulation industry. I have seen my share of Terpenator knock offs; some better set up than others. Other than some minor changes; most have been ready to go and fairly safe. Some other styles of extractors have also needed modifications to be safe. My latest trip to Colorado inspired me to “call out” some of these manufacturers.
Top on my list of safety violators is…..
1) Isolation Extractors
This company has no regard for the safety of the operator or the quality of the meds being produced. This ass clown put Viton TRI-CLAMP gaskets on the sight glass; between the glass and the flange. The assembler cut the ridge down on one end with a razor blade but didn’t bother on the opposite end. That shows that they knew what they were doing was bullshit but continued without a care. The glass was also not stock and was replaced by an improperly annealed (egg shaped) piece.
There are no gauges on the machine whatsoever. The manufacturers excuse was that a Promax RG6000 has gauges on it….. First, let me say that the Promax RG6000 is not rated for Butane. Second, what if I close the valve on the column to soak? I cant see that the pressure is building against the sight glass and…..Boom!
That is also the only valve on the system! How are you supposed to purge the system of atmosphere? There isn’t even enough ports to connect a vacuum pump. Maybe they didn’t know you had to vacuum the air out…..so it doesn’t end up in your cheesy ass tank.
That tank is a 6×36″ spool with some flat sheet stainless welded on top. Which is rounding as any engineer would expect. Gas filled tanks have hemispherical ends for a reason. Oh but it has a pressure relief valve right….
Speaking of sheet stainless… the collection pot has it welded to the bottom and its un-polished. Which makes it nearly impossible to clean.
One thing I forgot to mention was that this machine was sold to my client with single pin butterfly style clamps. We only use high pressure type bolt on clamps for 2″ and larger tri clamp fittings.
2) Any company that has quick connects on they’re machine. If you have a machine with quick connects; replace them with gas suitable fittings if you value your safety. I don’t care what B.S. line they gave you….. they all will leak! ETS and many other companies use these.
3) In house welds are a joke… Go to an ASME certified shop! You may think you can weld but, I don’t trust you with my life. Sub Zero, BHOgart are admittedly in this camp, and obviously Isolation Extactors paid someone in an alley to do their welds.
Also sanitary welds are on both INSIDE and OUTSIDE faces.
4) So far only the Haskel pneumatic and the CMEP-OL are the only two oil less recovery pumps rated for R-290/600/600A recovery, so be leary of claims that other pumps are safe. Appion openly admits that their pumps are downright dangerous to use.
Please inspect your equipment and remove any dangerous components! We don’t need Closed loopers to start falling in with the BHOtards as a danger to our neighborhoods. We generally have a lot more gas around as well; so the intensity of a closed loop explosion could potentially be much worse. It would only take one to start a campaign against us and throw us in with the open blasters.
If your name is on my list and you’re interested in changing your design to be safe feel free to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think I am not justified in pointing out your design flaws in a public medium you can email me to bitch about it as well.
Closed Loop Extractor Design as seen by Graywolf
Joe’s brought up the subject of closed loop extractor design from his personal field observations, and I thought it might be a propitious time to add my own two cents.
One of the things coming our way, is regulation of equipment, and not all of the equipment currently offered will pass ANSI/ASME scrutiny, nor will packages offered meet UL/NEC or NFPA standards.
Starting with design, I’ve had my original Mk IIIA, as well as WolfWurx Inc’s turnkey Mk IV and V designs reviewed by a third party Registered Professional Mechanical Engineer, and the designs certified to meet ANSI and ASME standards when manufactured according to the prints and operated according to the instructions provided.
The designs that I certified did not contain any tubular sight glasses, because they are not rated at high enough pressure to provide reliable 3X protection under all operating conditions. Instead I used a sight glass using Borosilicate wafers, rated above 700 psi at 250F.
The difference is that glass, including Borosilicate, doesn’t have much strength in tension, but has a lot in compression. In a tubular sight glass design, the fluid pressure inside the glass puts the glass in tension, by trying to stretch the tube to a larger diameter, when it is under pressure.
The wafer design puts two columns of Borosilicate under compression, which is at its strongest, permitting the design to be offered to 3000 psi for hydraulic applications.
While the tubular design is rated at least double the operating pressure, it doesn’t meet ASME 3X requirements and loses strength rapidly, and becomes more shock sensitive with drops in temperature, which is what happens when a refrigerant is boiled under vacuum.
Those designs which have the tubular sight glass captured at the top or bottom of a column between two valves, are a disaster waiting to happen. The reason that you don’t fill a 450 psi tank more than 80% full, is to accommodate thermal expansion. To lock a glass tube in a column of liquid that will be warming and expanding is asking for a ruptured tube. I personally know of two such events, and have read of others.
That instantly vents the content of your system where ever the event is taking place, which may or may not be a handy thing.
Systems utilizing triclamp type sanitary components are limited by the rating of their connections, as it is the weakest point. A 12” high pressure clamp is only rated at 100 psi at 250F, and the 10” is not much higher, so some pressure relief mechanism must be provided to insure that extreme situations have a means to relieve themselves, without rupturing a vessel or deflecting an end cap far enough to lift its edges off the seal.
Some of the manufacturers who do install a pressure relief valve, use an un-calibrated and uncertified cheap brass valve to provide this protection, which pops off and relieves itself right at the device.
Because pressure relief valves are not necessarily bubble tight under vacuum, even if they do seal properly under pressure, WolfWurx Inc, uses a custom built and factory certified combination vacuum check and pressure relief valve, which is protected from the vacuum by the check. The assembly comes wire locked after factory calibration, and with a letter of conformance.
More notably, they don’t relieve at the machine, but are plumbed to either a surge tank under vacuum or to a more suitable location.
Looking at manufacturing, ANSI/ASME Section VIII and IX certification requires that you certify the design and process, and that their components are manufactured to that design, using the specified process, in an ASME certified shop, by an ASME certified welder certified that specific alloy group, using that process.
Not all welders are created equal, which is why certification is required in the first place to weld on pressure vessels, so don’t ass-U-ME that because friend Bob does such an excellent job TIG welding tail pipes and cracked blocks, that he is the man for the job of welding up closed loop extractors.
I’m far from a welding expert, but to put my own point in perspective, in the mid 1970’s, I worked as the manufacturing and weld engineer for an international ASME certified pressure vessel manufacturer and was personally certified to ASME Section IX, welding the 300 series chromium based alloys in question, in GTAW, GMAW, and SMAW processes (TIG, Mig, & Stick).
I have also worked as a Non Destructive Technician inspecting welds in the 1960’s, using visual dimensional, radiographic, fluorescent penetrant, and magnetic particle inspection techniques, so though not an expert, I’m not a novice either.
Here is what I look for when visually inspecting welds.
Most of the manufacturers are using the TIG (Gas Tungsten Arc Weld) process, with argon shielding, but some MIG (Gas Metal Arc Weld) may be used.
Given the size of the welds, a WP-20 sized torch is most often used, with 3/32” Thoriated Tungsten electrode, straight polarity, and 100% argon shielding. Amps and volts vary with arc length and petal position, as well as part position and whether it is welded on a powered weldment manipulator.
With either, the welds should still be bright after cooling and if they are blackened or if they have been heavily wire brushed to remove the oxidation, they are suspect.
A properly made TIG weld should resemble a shiny stack of new silver coins. The size of the individual dabs shows you the deposition rate and their spacing tells you how fast they were moving. Big daubs, with wide spacing indicates high heat input and fast travel.
One of the issues with going too fast and pouring on the heat, is that you out run your argon shielding and the hot weld cools down without adequate shielding, so it oxidizes and becomes more brittle on the surface, where cracks can start and propagate with high cyclic fatigue, or even just time.
Under those circumstances you can use a larger torch cup, a trailing shield, or even a glove box to maintain shielding, or you can simply slow down, and use less power, so that the metal cools below reactive range while still protected by the touch cup shield.
The back side of the weld also gets hot, so it also requires shielding and should also still be shiny after cooling.
Portions of the weldments that the extracted oil passes through, must be full penetration or seal welded both sides to meet sanitary standards. They should be post weld finished to leave a smooth easily cleaned surface, without fissures or traps.
There should be no undercutting or cold laps at the edges of the weld, nor should there be cratering at the end, and no cracks are allowed.
Ugly welds do not necessarily mean defective welds, but it is good indicator of the skill level of the operator, or at least their ability to see.
A professionally manufactured machine shouldn’t have ugly welds, so any that do should at the very least be dye penetrant inspected for cracks and laps. Fluorescent penetrant would be even better, but alas 300 Series stainless isn’t magnetic, so magnetic particle inspection doesn’t work.
Recovery pumps are a subject under heavy scrutiny as only the Haskel has been identified as rated for R-600 and oil less.
A number of other pumps work but aren’t rated for flammable refrigerants like R-600/n-Butane.
The Caresaver Universal is rated for R-600, but is both slow and not oil less, which means the recovered butane passes through the pumps oil filled internals.
There are currently other pumps rated for R-600, but thus far no oil less ones. We are currently testing an oil bath pump, running hemp seed oil as the lubricant and will test the butane after successive runs, to see what it has picked up.
I have been drafted by Concentrate Extractors National Trade Association to aid in compiling cannabis industry design, installation, and operational standards for extraction equipment, and am currently compiling a straw man review in concert with other members. When it is final I will share the results, but wish to issue a clarion cry to enlighten all ya’ll extraction equipment manufacturers not yet aware, that things are changing fast.
I encourage ya’ll manufacturers to be proactive in raising our level of professionalism to meet the existing national standards governing the various aspects of our operations, cause I’m pretty sure that if we don’t take care of our own laundry, government agencies will do it for us.
Lastly, sadly I experienced the unscrupulous and shady side of the cannabis extractor supply chain, at the recent Portland Hempfest. I was drawn to a booth displaying Mk III Terpenators and Appion recovery pumps, and the brothers tending the booth were shouting out, “1000 grams of shatter in one day!”
I elected not to identify myself, but rounded up two witnesses before stopping and asking questions about how it worked and if the Appion was approved for the service.
I asked if it was a Terpenator, and was assured that it was instead an Extraction King, designed by a friend down south that had rather not have his name revealed, and much better than the Terpenator, which wasn’t a bottom feed.
I next asked if the Appion was rated for butane, and was assured it was rated for butane, though when I pushed, the attendant acknowledged that Appion issued a letter, “to cover their ass”, but was actually ideal for the application and at $1200 wholesale, was far cheaper than the ones with the manufacturers blessings. He never attempted to upgrade me to a more expensive pump and I never mentioned that I’ve purchased multiple Appion’s for under $700 ea.
Obviously the young man talking to me had little knowledge of what he was talking about and the group was there to sell extractors at outrageous prices to naive brother and sisters.
He could offer only rudimentary operational data, so those leaving with one that weekend, left without adequate training in operation or safety.
Clearly there is also no way to produce 1000 grams of shatter a day in a Mk III, so they were lying to the customer up front, so they were not planning on repeat business.
The odds of that customer finding someone to resolve latter issues with, are likely to be close to zero and the odds of them not being able to differentiate those outlaws from the rest of us legitimate manufacturers are low.
Soooo, in summary, those of ya’ll manufacturers that plan to hang around for the long haul, should plan on meeting regulation and professional standards, as well as not bullshitting your customers right out of the gate.
Hopefully you all believe your thang is better than the rest of our thangs, or you would be building our thangs, but it would also be a good thing if we could share why we thing our product is superior, without blasting the net with lies and fabrications denigrating the competition.
My first thought anytime I see such a marketing approach, is that the perpetrator must recognize that their product is so inferior, that the only way they can compete is with deceit.
Those of ya’ll guilty of that, seemingly are unaware of how it looks to the general public for us to be taking each others inventory in public.
Some are indeed swayed by the beguiling and fanciful stories, but those more educated on the subject are not, and those under attack are most assuredly going to respond by highlighting your own feet of clay.
Add the CMEP-OL to the list of pumps now certified for flammable refrigerant recovery.