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What Filtration System Should I purchase?
There are so many filtration options to choose from that it can be daunting and confusing deciding what to purchase. However, you must choose the correct filtration system for your operation to achieve cost-effective results and the quality filtrate required.
Though we have the right solution for every extraction method, the main constraint you may be facing is your budget. Therefore, we will first discuss the price.
The least expensive, yet the most cost-effective method of filtering most solution types is our filter trolley, with prices starting at $7,650. SO if you are starting up and don't have the funds or the volume, this is the best option for you. Trolleys will do the job right and can handle one gallon or dozens of gallons of many types of solutions. Their versatility makes them our bestseller.
If your budget allows it, our favorite and most automated filtration option is a candle filter. Next, though filter presses can be expensive, they have a broad range of purchase prices. Filter presses can fit the budget of most medium to large operations. Lastly, Lenticular filters work well for small to medium operations but have a high operating cost.
The most cost-effective and least capital-intensive option is the filter trolley. Lenticular filters are the next best option with complete systems at over $8,000 and complete skids just shy of $19k. Filter presses have a wide range of sizes and options and so prices reflect this. Somewhere between lenticular and presses are candle filters with a price tag of $46k.
Though filter presses are expensive, they are the cheapest option on a cost per gallon of filtration capacity. The larger filter presses can filter thousands of gallons per batch. Here is a rough estimate of the capital expenditure necessary to filter one gallon of the tincture. Keep in mind that crude quality and SOPs vary so these comparisons are not exact by any means. This number is an important consideration when budgeting as it describes how far your dollar takes you.
Investment to filter 1 gallon batch:
The next constraint is your batch size. Filter trolleys are optimal for craft cannabis and small (1 gallon) to medium batch sizes of up to 50 gallons. Lenticular filters have a minimum batch size, which depending on the configuration can be as low as 20 gallons but as high as 60 gallons. Filter presses also are limited by batch sizes but are versatile enough to be able to operate on small batches as low as 5 gallons and can be scaled up to any size necessary. Candle filters we recommend for medium to large sized operations with batches of over 50 gallons.
Batch size is extremely important. It is a mistake to own and operate a machine that is far too great for your batch size. You may want something that will grow with your business, and that's OK. There is however a sweet spot that must be maintained for a machine to operate correctly.
The temperature of the solution is another important consideration. Few filtration solutions can operate at extremely cold temperatures. Trolleys and lenticular filters are recommended for temperatures as low as -20 C. Our new filter presses are capable of filtering at temperatures of -40 C. Candle filters operate best at temperatures of up to -20 C. We currently do not offer anything for temperatures lower than -40C. Most equipment can filter at hot temperatures, as hot as 160F.
Chemical compatibility is another important factor in determining what filtration solution will work best for you. All of our filtration solutions are compatible with ethanol and methanol, but some processors use chemicals such as Pentane, which are typically not compatible with most filtration solutions. Either the machines are made with polypropylene or the filter cartridges themselves are made with polypropylene, which is typically incompatible with Pentane.
An important decision on equipment selection is operating costs. Generally speaking, the greater the capital expenditure, the lower the operating cost. Filter presses and candle filters have low maintenance costs and sporadic replacement costs. Lenticular skids cost about $1,000.00 every time cartridges and modules need to be changed. Filter trolleys use paper that needs to be changed after every use.
Determining the exact cost of labor per gallon processed or using any other metric can be challenging. Here is a commonsense list of what would be expected to be most expensive to operate due to their hands on requirements to operate. Some machines like trolleys require supervision, while candle filters are completely automated. Some are extremely cumbersome to clean, like lenticular filters and others are automated, like candle filters.
Most Labor Intensive:
All of our equipment can meet FDA standards and Fire Marshall safety concerns. CGMP is also an option on most of our equipment as standard or as an upgrade.
If you are a small craft producer or have a low budget, trolleys are and option for you that can grow with your operation. If you have CO2 or high lipids crude, trolleys are also a good option.
If you can afford it and have a larger operation, get a filter press. If you have lots of CO2 or high fats crude, presses are a great option. If you have biomass to filter, presses are the best option.
If you use a centrifuge to extract, get a lenticular skid. Lenticular excels in this process. Don't use lenticular for anything high in fats.
If you have money and want the best automated system money can buy, get a candle filter. Candle filters can handle any stream and handle it well.