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“Reducing overpack is a major benefit”

Automated cannabis batching and packaging helps companies save money and labor

"Most people interested in our machine are focused on saving on labor. However, that is just the cherry on top of all the other benefits it provides. Reducing the overpack is where the big savings come in." At this year's GreenTech in Amsterdam, Green Vault Systems' Precision Batcher was introduced to the European market for the first time. With 170 machines already up and running throughout the United States and Canada, the company is excited to explore new markets. Arnar Olgeirsson, Vice President and Co-Founder, and Lise Bernard, Director of Sales and Commercial Business, explain that Green Vault Systems worked together with cannabis growers to design the Precision Batcher according to their specific needs. "When it comes to automation, cannabis growers want something that is very precise and gentle."

Demonstrating how the machine works at GreenTech Amsterdam 2022, with Lise Bernard of Green Vault Systems and Jim Pryor of Can-Hub in the front.

Meeting growers' needs
Before starting Green Vault Systems, the founders worked in food automation. They were able to take that technology and knowledge with them but soon realized that they were dealing with a completely different product. "Traditional weighing and packaging systems just weren't going to work well. Cannabis is very different from pretzels, coffee beans, etc. Now, we are dealing with a dried flower which has a really high value per gram and small weighing denominations."

Olgeirsson and Bernard explain that the fact that their machine is designed specifically for cannabis flowers is what sets the Precision Batcher apart from other batching and packaging machines. "When we designed our equipment, we designed it in collaboration with growers who told us what they were looking for. First, they wanted something that was very accurate, so we designed our machine to weigh to a hundredth of a gram which is at least ten times the weighing resolution of traditional weighing and packaging machines. Second, a crop as delicate and valuable as cannabis requires a gentle touch. Therefore, we made sure there was no vibration anywhere in our Precision Batcher. When the flower moves laterally, it is via a very gentle puff of air using the GVS Air Kush Technology and vertical movement due to gravity. With such a gentle and controlled process, there is a greatly reduced risk of trichome loss. Further, our equipment is intuitive to use and easy to clean and calibrate."

The Precision Batcher
So how does the Precision Batcher work? The machine has eight load cells that weigh the individual buds to a hundredth of a gram, the weight is recorded, and the flower is moved to a holding cell. There are 16 holding cells from which combinations can be formed in order to make a batch. The user is able to set the target weight to their desired range. For example, when packaging eighths, one can set a minimum weight of 3.51 and a maximum weight of 3.57. Once the combination is identified, the flower is released to a check weigher for a final weight verification prior to being released into the package.

"The machine is very efficient; you can expect to produce 800-1000 packages in an hour. One of the beautiful things about our Precision Batcher is even though you are automating, you are not sacrificing the ability to control the consistency of your packaging. Your consumer knows exactly what they are getting every time," the team explains. "For example, you can select for a minimum or maximum piece count, or you can select for a 'hero piece,' where you can ensure there is at least one piece of a certain size in each package. Once again, with our Precision Batcher, you have the ability to automate without sacrificing control."

Olgeirsson and Bernard explain that the Precision Batcher is a modular system that can be added on to for the process to become even more automated, allowing for additions both up and downstream to include auto-jarring, capping, labeling, bagging, and so on. Bottom line, they will work with you to design the system that works for your operation with the ability to add on as you need and on your own timeline. 

"Saving labor is just the cherry on top"
While many people approach Green Vault Systems with labor savings at the forefront of their mind, it is the reduction in overpack and product loss that provides the biggest savings. "In the United States, the most common denominator is an eighth (3.5 grams). Our clients tell us that when hand packing in eighths, their average weight is 3.6 grams. Using the Precision Batcher, the average is between 3.54 and 3.56 grams. An ongoing overpack of 0.05 grams adds up quickly. In many cases, it only takes a few months for clients to have made their money back on their investment in our Precision Batcher. Most importantly, our clients find the quality, precision, reliability, and outstanding support to be as important as the exceptional return on investment."

For more information:
Green Vault Systems