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What happens when you start working with Vitalis?

Supporting Your Business Success Right From the Start

Vitalis is the global leader in CO2 extraction solutions. Right from your initial deposit, a wealth of services and support are available to assist your company and pave the way for success. Check out the infographic to see all the amazing services that get unlocked at the start of our relationship!

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ICBC Berlin Cannabis Extracts Panel

ICBC Berlin Cannabis Extracts Panel featuring Vitalis Co-Founder and COO, Pete Patterson

Vitalis Extraction Technology COO and Co-Founder, Pete Patterson was among a group of panelists speaking at the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) Cannabis Extracts panel in Berlin last month.

Along with panelists Mike Palumbo of Lab Society, Dave LaRussa of Apeks Supercritical, Zach Peyser of Sho Product’s, and moderator and freelance journalist, Michael Knodt, they discussed present extraction products and technology and where the industry is headed in terms of industry standardization and compliance.

In a young, burgeoning market, there are a number of concerns involving standardization of products, and the regulations surrounding them. Expertise from North American companies can be invaluable in Europe, as the region starts to tackle industry questions of legislation, medicinal vs recreational and distribution.

As much of the knowledge base in Europe tends to be held privately, events like ICBC help promote discussion and idea sharing to a wider audience. As a global leader in the extraction space, Vitalis was proud to send Pete to speak on this panel, further demonstrating the company's commitment to knowledge sharing and thought leadership.

For more information on the International Cannabis Business Conference, locations and event dates, visit: https://internationalcbc.com/

The Importance of Certification for Pressure Vessels

Air tank with pressure gauge.

Do you work in an industry where the use of pressure vessels is common?

Then, explosions may be something you worry about. You want to stay safe at work and go home at the end of the day in one piece. Have you ever looked at a vessel and wondered how it can keep its pressurized contents safely in place? Who makes sure that these vessels are safe? Have you ever noticed the stamp or plate on a vessel and wondered what it means?

Let's find out!

What are Pressure Vessels?

If you don't work in a field that routinely uses pressure vessels, you may not know what they are. Simply put, they are containers that hold pressurized contents.

This means that the container holds its contents, either a gas or a liquid, at a different pressure than the atmosphere. It is critical that this vessel maintains its seal. Otherwise, the sudden pressure change will cause an explosion.

The vessels were originally invented to handle the steam needed to operate a steam engine back in the day. But now these vessels are very useful for a variety of applications. Everything on the following list uses these vessels in some manner:

  • Recompression chambers
  • Mining operations
  • Nuclear reactor vessels
  • Distillation towers
  • Submarines
  • Spaceship habitats
  • Petrochemical plants
  • CO2 extraction systems

These vessels are also routinely used for storing liquefied gases like propane, butane, LPG, chlorine, or ammonia.

Safety

As you can imagine, safety is a huge concern with these vessels. If you've ever popped a balloon with a pin, you have an idea of what would happen if a pressure vessel suddenly lost its seal.

Safety is the number one reason why proper certification is so important. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) put into place their rather stringent standards in 1914. Before this, working with these vessels was very dangerous.

The vessels often failed and exploded. These explosions often severely injured or even killed anyone that was nearby. Obviously, this was not ideal. So the ASME put into place inspections and certifications that these vessels had to pass.

It didn't start out this big, but now the ASME's code encompasses 28 books and over 14,000 pages. It covers residential and industrial boilers and every pressure vessel imaginable.

It is an international code that everyone should adhere to. After all, it doesn't matter where you are on the planet. Physics is still physics, and a vessel will still explode under the same miserable conditions.

ASME Certification

Not all these vessels are created equally. They can handle a wide range of PSI. Thus the ASME construction code has different standards that apply to the vessels. Regardless, though, any vessel that will handle more than 15 PSI is subject to the ASME code.

The vessels are divided into three groups. Those that handle up to 3,000 PSI, up to 10,000 PSI, and those that handle pressures over 10,000 PSI.

The ASME has guidelines for the types of materials that can be used to build these vessels. Some requirements apply to all vessels. Others only apply according to how much pressure the vessel will handle.

Once the vessel has been approved, it gets a stamp or plate that boasts ASME certification. Many insurance companies will only cover a company that uses pressure vessels if every vessel has this ASME certification.

Of course, it's possible that any pressure vessel can fail. Don't assume that a vessel is foolproof just because it has been certified. But, meeting the certification standards greatly reduces the risk of failure and a potentially serious tragedy.

Good Design

In addition to the materials that can be used, the code also covers how the vessel should be designed. The ASME clearly lays out design standards that a vessel must meet or exceed to get certification. Even the shape of the vessel is essential for proper construction.

This also extends to the fabrication process. Manufacturers should follow certain procedures during fabrication that will help ensure the integrity of the vessel. Manufacturers must also follow a quality control regimen to ensure that the vessels they produce are solid.

The ASME also keeps an eye on the manufacturer's track record. The vessels that a manufacturer produces must consistently meet the ASME standards.

Transportation

While a pressure vessel can explode at any time, they are particularly dangerous during transport. The vibrations and jostling about that happen during transport can be just enough to cause the vessel to fail.

Imagine the devastation if a vessel explodes on a public roadway.

For this reason, the Department of Transportation also gets involved here. They issue an R-stamp that is very important. If a vessel needs repairs, the welder must have this R-stamp certification.

The welder (and the shop) have to undergo strict testing to receive this certification. Once they obtain it, they have to stay in good standing with the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors.

Improper repair of these vessels is a hazard to the public that is taken very seriously. This certification ensures that everybody stays safe.

Stay Safe

Who knows how many lives have been saved because of the ASME standards. But the only way to ensure that they keep saving lives is by following them.

Now that you know what ASME certification is and why it's so important, it helps to ensure that your vessels meet all the codes and standards. If you see a pressure vessel in use that doesn't have the proper certification, say something. You could potentially save someone's life.

Would you like to learn more interesting tidbits about chemical or mechanical engineering? Be sure to check out our education page. We've got great bits of interesting information about the exciting world of engineering.

INFOGRAPHIC | Safety First – Does Your Pressure Equipment Have This?

Worried about your pressure equipment?

Certified equipment is vital to the continued success of your business.

Take a look at our infographic to learn about some of the certifications required to stay compliant and operational.

Certifications

Licensing and Regulations for Extraction Efforts

Cultivation of marijuana , cannabis sativa , flowering plant as legal medicinal drug , herb , ready to harvest

Demand for high-quality cannabis extracts is surging. Fresh recreational and medical laws continue to burst into existence. Nearly a dozen states are considering adopting pro-cannabis laws this year.

Old-fashioned extraction efforts are blazing back into popularity. Supercritical CO2 extraction has long been a staple in the food and beverage industry. Cannabis manufacturers, however, have historically shied away from the expensive method. Until now.

The cannabis industry is booming; a lot of growers and manufacturers are flush with cash. Cannabis connoisseurs crave variety at dispensaries.

CO2 oil is popular because it's a pure, clean substance that's devoid of the usual harsh solvents used to create cannabis concentrates. States with legalized cannabis have introducing licensing and regulatory rules for cannabis concentrates.

This post will delve into the basics of supercritical CO2 extraction methods and explain the regulations guiding extract artists in their work. Keep reading to find out more about CO2 oil and the laws surrounding it.

What is CO2 Extraction?

Supercritical CO2 extraction processes take advantage of a bizarre property of carbon dioxide (CO2). Extreme pressure and temperature are combined to force the CO2 beyond its critical point.

Supercritical fluids have features midway between a gas and a liquid at the same time. While in this volatile state, supercritical CO2 is an ideal solvent. It breaks down the plant structures in cannabis and allows the technician to isolate cannabinoids and terpenes, chemicals in cannabis that affect the human body and brain.

Traditional cannabis extraction efforts rely on harsh, flammable solvents.

Licensing and Regulations

The cannabis industry has been legitimized. Strict rules now govern cannabis manufacturers. Most states have licensing and accreditation requirements. They also have standards that must be met before the cannabis can be sold.

Laws change drastically by state. States with legalized recreational cannabis seem to have the most robust regulatory system. For instance, California law states that: "Every person who manufactures cannabis products shall obtain and maintain a valid manufacturer license from the Department..."

Cannabis professionals that want to produce CO2 oil in most states need to be properly licensed. There are additional rules about the product itself. A lot of states with legal cannabis require that it be tested by an independent laboratory before it reaches dispensaries.

CO2 extraction efforts should produce a clean extract that's free from contaminants. States with lab testing requirements check for pesticides and bacteria as well as other impurities.

Volatile vs Non-volatile Manufacturing

State regulators worry about flammable, volatile solvents. California law separates cannabis manufacturers based on their extraction efforts. You need a different license to produce butane hash oil than CO2 oil. California lawmakers split manufacturers into two groups, distinguished by their use of volatile or non-volatile solvents.

According to last year's Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, a volatile solvent "is or produces a flammable gas or vapor that, when present in the air in sufficient quantities, will create explosive or ignitable mixtures."

CO2 is a non-volatile solvent. California cannabis manufacturers who use a professional CO2 system to create their extracts would be considered Level 1 Manufacturers. Extract technicians who worked with chemicals like butane are Level 2 Manufacturers. It's more difficult and more expensive to apply for a Level 2 license. Few California neighborhoods allow Level 2 cannabis facilities.

California law isn't a federal dictate, but the state's cannabis market is now the largest in the world. Smaller markets look to California as an example.

Problems with Butane Extraction Efforts

Consumers are wary of butane. Last year, California legislators passed a bill that treats butane like a serious drug. Gov. Jerry Brown eventually vetoed it, if he hadn't the state's butane hash oil producers would have gone out of business. The bill limited the amount of butane a consumer could purchase each month and required dispensaries to keep track of people's usage. "This type of 'point-of-sale' regulation works," the bill's authors wrote. "It has a proven track record in the detection and dismantling of methamphetamine labs..."

Denver, Colorado was the first city to slap regulations onto the butane hash oil process. Engineers analyze new facilities to make sure that they're compliant with the law. In 2014, 32 butane hash oil explosions were reported in Colorado alone.

Manufacturers using CO2 are scrutinized as well, but the regulations are less burdensome. Manufacturing CO2 oil-based cannabis products is often cheaper and easier than using butane.

Benefits of CO2 Extraction

Cannabis is heavily regulated. The law, however, is friendlier toward to certain types of extraction methods than others. Butane is risky. Ignoring the health risks of ingesting the chemical, labs that work with Butane are at risk of blowing up.

That's why so many California counties are okay with manufacturing facilities that use CO2 to create cannabis extracts but are reluctant to approve labs that use flammable solvents. Creating butane hash oil is dangerous if you're not experienced.

California, Nevada, Colorado, and Washington all have rigid regulations and licensing rules controlling their legal cannabis market. Other states are adopting similar laws.

CO2 oil is preferable to other cannabis-infused products because its health benefits appeal to consumers and regulators alike. It's an FDA-approved solvent that's doesn't harm the environment or the human body.

Find Out More

Supercritical CO2 extraction is an increasingly popular way to produce high-quality cannabis concentrates. It's a pure method that produces terpene and cannabinoid-rich extracts without sullying the product with potentially toxic materials. Cannabis growers and concentrate manufacturers who want to satisfy a diverse client base should look into producing CO2 oil.

To learn more about supercritical and subcritical CO2, browse through the CO2 Science section of our site.