Buying Tips: Not All Machines Are Created Equal

DSC08574

SAVE TIME, EFFORT AND STRESS WITH THESE CONSIDERATIONS

When looking at extraction equipment, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Price, reliability, safety and performance are top criteria that come readily to mind. For any business owner, procurement manager or buyer, the key goal is to ensure that they get a good deal on a system that will meet the company needs. To ensure a positive experience, and an efficient decision-making process, Careful consideration of the following factors will help keep your extraction system evaluation(s) on track for a successful purchase..

KNOW YOUR END GOAL

When you're looking for CO2 extraction equipment, the first thought should be to your end goals. What do you want to produce? Different market products call for different pathways to production, including with regards to equipment requirements. For example, will you need to perform extractions in both subcritical and supercritical states in order to extract the target compounds for your products? Will you need to pull every ounce of recoverable material out of the biomass or will your profit curve require you to end an extraction run early? Will your system need to have precise control over the extraction parameters or are you comfortable spending more time on post-processing? Understanding the end product you want to produce will allow you to trace back through the process, identify the appropriate extraction equipment, and make informed decisions based on profit margins, resource requirements, and time.

BE CLEAR ON CAPACITY NEEDS

If your extraction plans require you to process thousands of pounds of biomass a week, you'll need to look at systems that have the capacity to meet those requirements. Small-volume systems, or systems requiring longer run times can make it hard to reach large volume goals. Understanding the volume of feedstock you'll be working with is a huge factor in making a smart decision on extraction equipment. It can also help you identify other revenue opportunities. For example, if your volume needs are small, perhaps it makes business sense to do toll-processing, making a profit by processing another supplier’s biomass.

AVOID OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS

A savvy shopper knows the importance of investing time in understanding a process or product before making a purchase. Marketing strategies in the extraction environment are often flooded with outrageous claims. It is important to understand the science underlying the process of extraction and that, regardless of equipment type or manufacturer, no piece of machinery can operate outside of physical laws. Time spent studying the fundamental principles of how temperature, pressure, time and flowrate factor into extraction will pay dividends in vetting sensational schemes and decoding fine print.

YIELDS VS RECOVERY VS EFFICIENCY

Yields is an entire topic on its own and comes up quite frequently in conversation about extraction equipment. Most often, it is used as a simple measure for buyers to evaluate the efficiency of a system. However, using yields as a measure of extraction efficiency is akin to using horsepower to evaluate the speed of a vehicle - a semi-truck can have excessive horsepower, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will go fast. Bulk yield is a measure of the total mass of material that results from an extraction, but it doesn't provide a clear picture of the amount of valuable material recovered. Understanding recovery percentage and knowing the chemical composition of the biomass can help eliminate confusion on the topic of yields and prevent decision-making based on erroneous criteria (for a better understanding of Yields, read this article).

LICENSING & FACILITY

Licensing and regulations can vary dramatically between nation, state, city and even county lines . The products that can be processed, the size and engineering requirements of the facilities, and the type and amount of chemicals allowed on-site are all major factors to consider before going too far on your extraction system purchase. But more than just the regulatory landscape, the simplest reason to consider your facility and lab setup before buying equipment is to ensure that you'll be able to get it into the room. It's rather difficult (impossible) to move a five-foot-wide piece of equipment down a four-foot-wide hallway, and putting a ten-foot-tall system in an eight-foot-tall room can be a daunting (also impossible) task. Knowing your building dimensions and size requirements can save from excessive retrofitting costs down the line.

SCALING & COSTS

Having clarity on desired growth, sustainability, and a solid plan in place are also key factors to consider when choosing extraction equipment. While these are certainly true of any business venture, they should be included within this decision-making process. If your goal is to scale and grow, purchasing equipment that can do the same is a smart idea. By the same token, obtaining a system that will require multiple installations in order to scale can be costly and negatively impact your overall efficiency.

As well as examining your growth potential, understanding the difference between capital expenditures (CapEx) and operating expenditures (OpEx) is important when looking at long term strategies. In some cases, higher CapEx can lead to much lower OpEx in the long run, creating a positive ROI in a shorter amount of time. Without thoroughly examining the options, it can be easy to go with a lower upfront cost despite the fact that it can be detrimental to growth in the long run. Being clear on your finances and estimated return from the start, you can save yourself from stress and unnecessary expenditures in the future.

Often in the buying process, it's easy t get blinded by low-cost options and empty promises. Negotiations over cost and delivery have become a natural part of the process. Of course, there are many more factors to consider when making a significant purchase, as is the case when evaluating CO2 extraction equipment. By keeping the above tips in mind, you will be better prepared to make a sensible decision that can set the stage for your company's future success.

If you're looking at making an investment in CO2 extraction equipment and are unsure where to start, these tips are a great spot. For further help and assistance, reach out to our Business Development team to get the conversation started. They'll help identify an equipment solution to perfectly fit your short-term and long-term goals.

Leave a Reply