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Proper Brands: Customer Feature

Where do cultivation, manufacturing, and retail intertwine to create a comprehensive cannabis experience? Proper Brands, a fully vertical marijuana company in Missouri, handles all three, offering a diverse product range that few can match. With product variety, quality, and volume being the most important, Proper trusted Vape-Jet filling machines to do what they do best—fill vape cartridges with industry-leading accuracy.  

Proper Brands at a Glance 

With an extensive brand catalog consisting of Proper Cannabis, Ratio Vapes & Microdose Mints, Honeybee Edibles, Goodnight gummies and vapes, and vape cartridge operations powered by our semi-automated Jet Fueler 3.0 and fully automated Vape-Jet 4.0, we checked in with Larry Decristofaro, Proper’s Director of Processing, to see how things were going. 

See what we learned:  

Before Vape-Jet  Filling Machines

Before they switched to Vape-Jet, Proper used an A10-Hotshot semi-auto filler. As they began manufacturing live resin and rosin, Larry recognized they would have to increase volume.   

“On a good day, during an 8-hour shift, we were doing around 2,000 pens for a distillate product,” Larry says. As far as capping, Larry recalls using screw tops for a short time, but switching to AVD Eazy Press has made everything easier. “AVD has really changed the game with the Eazy Press,” he says.  

Switching to Vape-Jet

After switching to Vape-Jet, Proper fills and caps up to 7,500 vape cartridges per shift, with a single operator. That’s right, one person using a Vape-Jet (for distillate or live resin SKUs) and a Jet Fueler (for rosin) more than tripled their daily throughput.  The Vape-Jet has been a huge asset in our lab, it’s almost like a team member.”

What is Proper currently filling?  

  • Distillate with botanical terpene blends   
  • 100% live resin blends   
  • Distillate live resin hybrids   
  • 100% rosin blends   
  • Distillate and isolate hybrids   

What has improved?   

“Everything from volume to overall quality, to shot size,” Larry says. “Our workers are happier working with [your] machinery. It’s also an easier piece of equipment to learn, so I can have more people using it.”  

“We have really high fill volumes, in my opinion; our shot sizes are super accurate. And our batches are always within 2-3% of what we’re reflecting, which is great.”   

What are Larry’s favorite features?  

“You can clean the machine with a solvent easily.” And the reservoir size, Larry mentions—compared to their last filler, ”it’s huge by comparison.” Larry also notes the nitrogen-pressurized fluid path is helpful for limiting oxidation and assisting with temperature control. 

“The amount of work that goes unnoticed on the Vape-Jet vs. the competition is unmatched. Especially being able to hot swap reservoirs on the Vape-Jet; you can fly,” Larry says. “We have the Drop Tank, and it’s well worth it if you’re a high-volume producer.”   

Growing with Vape-Jet Filling Machines

As Proper transitioned from strictly medical markets to recreational cannabis markets, Vape-Jet emerged as the ultimate growth catalyst for expanding production capacity. “We were a 3000-4000 package a week lab,” Larry reflects. “Now, we’re a 12,000-15,000 package a week lab.” 

This transition wasn’t just about increased production volume; it also empowered Proper with precise control over their vape cartridge automation, allowing for fine-tuned formulations and improved operational procedures. “It’s really interesting how [Vape-Jet] has helped us grow. And it’s not just helping us grow by the numbers, it’s helping us grow in our thought processes,” Larry says. “The Vape-Jet really helped put us over the top.” 

Vape-Jet Support

Vape-Jet’s commitment to technical support is critical for bolstering production volume, especially as companies transition to recreational markets. The accessibility of Vape-Jet Support played a crucial role in getting Proper up-to-speed, from machine training to rapid troubleshooting. 

Accessible Support 

“[With Vape-Jet] you get this incredible support team, which is very valuable,” Larry says. “Our whole lab has interacted with most of your team when we were getting trained on the machine.”  

“So many of these companies are huge one day, then they’re not answering phones the next. Vape-Jet’s service has been phenomenal. They’re going to overnight a part, and they’re going to work through it with you.”  

Remote Installation

“[Vape-Jet] sends you all the tools, stays on the phone the entire time, and has techs that will go out and physically show what you’re trying to do.”  

Improved Uptime

“The other fillers I’ve had, you had to ship back to the manufacturer if you wanted anything done,” Larry says. “You could be out for weeks if they were backed up or if something got messed up in the mail. Vape-Jet overnights you parts, gets you a technician immediately, and you’re able to do it yourself.”  

The Vape-Jet crew understands the potential loss that comes when your vape cartridge filler is down. For example, if you’re filling 7,500 vape pens a day and you’re down for two weeks, that’s 75,000 pens worth of profit lost. Vape-Jet gets you back up and running in no time.  

Feedback, Tips, & Tricks from Proper Brands

Since repeatability is at the core of Vape-Jet filling machines, we turn to the expertise of experienced operators like Larry to share insights and time-tested strategies that can be universally applied to elevate your vape cartridge production. 

Bubbling 

“A lot of people blame their fillers [for] bubbling,” Larry begins. “[The issue] often lies in the processes before getting to the filler. The Vape-Jet comes with the nitrogen boost, that’s going to kill a lot of those bubbles for you if your oil is right and it’s been exposed to temperatures similar to what you’re filling at.”  

Heating  

Temperature control plays a pivotal role in the oil filling process, and different oil types require precise temperature controls for premium quality. 

  • In general, the longer your oil is exposed to heat, the more variability.    
  • Distillate, on the other hand, maintains a more consistent viscosity across a range of temperatures. 

Vape-Jet Tips

“Our rosin gets put into the Jet Fueler at a higher temperature than we produce the rosin pens at. We’ve realized that if we put the hopper below the 350g mark, we’re able to fill [carts] fast enough that it does not decarb more in the hopper.”  

“Listen to the people that are teaching you how to use this equipment. A great example I have is on the Vape-Jet when we were first getting started,” Larry explains. “One of our techs was using the machine, and we had to take the oil out of the machine for whatever reason. That person disconnected the fluid line before the nitrogen. If you listen, you won’t run into major issues.”   

Optimize Your Filling Operations

Whether it’s improving from 10,000 vape carts a week to 37,500 or the consistent quality of Vape-Jet filling machines, Larry is excited for what the future holds. “We’ve only started optimizing processes over the last two weeks,” he says. “We haven’t fully utilized the Vape-Jet to its fullest extent.”  

How likely are you to recommend Vape-Jet? I have always recommended Vape-Jet and will continue to do so,” Larry says.  

If you want to ramp up production and maintain premium quality products, reach out to our crew, and we’ll find the best solution for your business.   

Like our customer features? Check out these other success stories:   

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter and YouTube

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Introducing Vape-Jet’s Renewed Partner Program

From our inception, Vape-Jet has experienced tremendous growth, much of which was driven by unwavering support and word-of-mouth endorsements from our valued customers and machine operators. We are deeply humbled by the amount of positive feedback we have received about the work we do and the products we offer. And now we would like to give back by introducing our revamped three-tier partner program. This innovative program is designed to recognize and reward our brand advocates at every level of the industry. Let’s delve into what each tier offers. 

Tier 1: Brand Rep 

Designed For: Current Vape-Jet and Jet Fueler machine operators and industry professionals with firsthand experience of our products. 

Description: Our reps have the unique opportunity to contribute to Vape-Jet’s growth by sharing valuable leads, receiving a referral bonus for every lead that results in a closed deal. 

What’s Included? Brand Reps will receive Vape-Jet branded merch and apparel to proudly represent our brand. Educational marketing materials will also be provided to assist them in understanding and promoting our products effectively. There will be special incentive offers for referred leads to motivate continued support, and a referral bonus for every deal closed to reward their hard work. 

Tier 2: Brand Consultant 

Designed For: Equipment manufacturers and independent consultants engaged in facility build-outs, networking, and industry events. 

Description: These key players leverage their expertise to align with Vape-Jet’s mission of delivering efficient filling solutions, promoting growth and innovation within the industry. 

What’s Included? Brand Consultants will receive introductory sales training to understand our products deeply. They will also have access to educational marketing materials to support their promotions. With personalized referral forms, a listing in our partner directory, and incentive offers for referred leads, consultants have all the tools they need for success. Furthermore, a commission rate for each deal closed adds a rewarding financial aspect to the partnership. 

Tier 3: Brand Partner 

Designed For: B2B or D2C brands with a shared customer base that has found success using both brands’ products and services. (Note: For hardware manufacturers, we require references for customers who are successfully filling your hardware with one of our filling machines.)

Description: This partnership fosters mutual growth and collaboration in the competitive cannabis market. It’s more than just a business relationship; it’s a shared journey to customer satisfaction. 

What’s Included? Our brand partners will enjoy a feature on the Vape-Jet crew blog, where we will highlight our collaboration and success stories. In addition, shared social media content will enhance our online presence together, coupled with a special feature in our monthly newsletter. Partners will also be listed in our partner directory, have the option to develop a custom partner feature page on our website (example), and benefit from collaborative marketing opportunities. Co-branded sales collateral will strengthen our joint marketing efforts, and a commission rate for each deal closed will ensure mutual financial growth. 

Ready to join the crew?

Our renewed partner program structure is more than just a reward system; it’s our way of building a community, fostering collaboration, and most importantly, showing our appreciation to those who have contributed to our success. If you believe in what we do, and you want to be a part of our growth story, we invite you to explore the tier that fits you best. 

Your belief in Vape-Jet is what keeps us going, and we’re thrilled to offer these exciting opportunities to collaborate, grow, and celebrate our shared success.

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter, and YouTube

Think Automation is a Thing of the Future? 

This article was developed by an AI copywriter. The future is now, so join the revolution or risk getting stuck in the past. If you’re ready to integrate automation into your workflow reach out to our crew with your questions to see what Vape-Jet automation solutions can do for you.

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Vape-Jet

Vape-Jet Hardware Partner: Greentank

The Vape-Jet crew is thrilled to announce our newest hardware partnership with Greentank, a leading vape hardware manufacturer in the cannabis industry. Recognized as an industry powerhouse with a proven track record of 200+ successful vape brand launches across the US and Canada, Greentank won a Red Dot Design award and Cannabis Independent’s Vape Tank and Single-Use Vaporizer of the Year distinctions. Now trusted by millions, Greentank is at the forefront of vaping innovation and customization. 

See how you can benefit from the Vape-Jet x Greentank partnership: 

  • Greentank at a Glance 
  • Vape-Jet x Greentank: Partnership Benefits 
  • Compatible Hardware

Greentank at a Glance

Greentank was built to revolutionize the cannabis vape market by providing high quality, reliable vaporizers that surpassed anything available. Today, Greentank collaborates with prominent cannabis brands worldwide, offering innovative and reliable vape hardware

Hardware Expertise and New Cannabis Markets 

Greentank’s team boasts over 100 experts—engineers, designers, material scientists, and product development specialists—all working together to create the most reliable high-performance vape hardware. With the help of market specialists who identify selling trends, Greentank works with brands to select fitting hardware best positioned for success.  

By working with Greentank, Vape-Jet customers unlock a vault of vape market knowledge that can accelerate their growth. With huge investments in R&D and manufacturing capabilities, Greentank has the hardware, people, and strategy to succeed in new cannabis markets and find opportunities in more developed markets.

Vape-Jet x Greentank: Partnership Benefits

Together, Vape-Jet and Greentank provide: 

  1. Comprehensive Hardware Solutions — One-stop shop for cutting-edge hardware, filling, and retail-compliant cannabis packaging solutions.  
  1. Extensive Customization Options — From surface finishes and colors to mouthpieces, chargers, and packaging options, create unique hardware that perfectly matches your brand’s aesthetics. 
  1. High-Quality, Compatible Hardware — Seamlessly integrate your Greentank hardware with fully-automatic and semi-automatic Vape-Jet filling and capping solutions

Compatible Hardware

Our partnership’s dedication to hardware quality and user satisfaction sets new standards for vaping excellence. 

We are excited to present four styles of hardware that are fully compatible with Vape-Jet filling systems:  

GT GO Cartridge — A Class of its Own 

After six years of meticulous research and development, the GTGO Cartridge combines all the industry-leading qualities a premium 510 cartridge should possess while setting new standards for reliability, flavor, and vapor quality. 

Key Features: 

  • Upgraded 316-stainless steel offers safety and performance. 
  • Push-down mouthpiece assembly reduces labor costs. 
  • 0.5ml and 1.0ml reservoir capacity sizes. 
  • Market-leading flavor output, eliciting pinpoint terpene profiles. 
  • Customizable finishes, treatments, and mouthpiece options. 
  • Available with revolutionary automated pre-loaded tray solution, reducing costs by up to $0.60c per unit. 

GT DX Cartridge — From the Rest to the Best 

This Cartridge offers a perfect blend of quality and affordability. Designed to enhance fill efficiencies, the GTDX features easy press-down mouthpiece technology that eliminates the need for a cumbersome arbor press.  

Key Features: 

  • Premium-built cartridge at an extremely competitive price point. 
  • 0.5ml and 1.0ml reservoir capacity sizes. 
  • FDA-certified ceramics, stainless steel, and cotton componentry. 
  • Push-down tamper-proof mouthpieces reduce labor costs. 
  • The most customizable 510 cartridge in the industry. 
  • Borosilicate glass housing. 

GT M3 All-in-One — Perfect Wasn’t Good Enough

Offers breakthrough performance and a familiar design that captures your customer’s attention. The M3 Cartridge can be precisely calibrated for a wide range of cannabis extract viscosities, ensuring precise flavor profiles. 

Key Features: 

  • Engineered for both high-viscosity and low-viscosity. 
  • Stainless steel internal frame. 
  • FDA-certified ceramics, stainless steel, and cotton componentry. 
  • Various reservoir capacities, including 0.35ml, 0.5ml, and 1.0ml. 
  • Customized finishes, silkscreening, LED options, logo placement, and mouthpiece options. 

GT M8 All-in-One — The Premium Rechargeable Disposable

This lightweight, rechargeable stainless-steel disposable offers rapid response heating with its short-path airflow design. It is completely customizable and ready to go at any time, providing convenience and flexibility. 

Key Features: 

  • Premium-feel stainless steel frame. 
  • Rechargeable micro-USB options with a branded cap. 
  • FDA-certified ceramics, stainless steel, and cotton componentry. 
  • 0.5ml and 1.0ml reservoir capacity options. 
  • Customized finishes, electroplating, silkscreening, LED options, logo placements, and mouthpiece options. 
  • No additional occlusion jigs needed. 
  • Note: The GT M8 is the only Greentank hardware listed that is not compatible with the Squish-o-Matic 1000 capping machine.

Get Started with Vape-Jet x Greentank

With a range of versatile hardware options, our partnership with Greentank empowers brands to elevate vaping experiences and meet market demands. By partnering with Greentank, Vape-Jet customers can expect seamless compatibility with supported hardware, allowing brands to streamline their production process and ensure optimal end-user satisfaction.

If you want to become a Vape-Jet success story, reach out to our crew, and we’ll find the best solution for your business.  

Check out these success stories:  

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube

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Industry Insight: New Markets and Old Myths

In the world of cannabis, three industry veterans, Devon Reid, Jack Naito, and Sean Duffy, got together for a discussion about the ever-changing landscape of emerging markets. Using their vast experience, the trio brings their excitement and expertise to emerging markets and debunks some of the myths that permeate the industry.   

Devon, COO of Vape-Jet Automated Vape Cartridge-Filling and Capping Solutions, emphasizes the holy trinity of efficiency, quality, and process control that reigns supreme in this competitive realm.   

Jack, the President of Luna Technologies Automated Solutions for Cannabis Extraction, leads a company that offers Automated Solutions for Cannabis Extraction. Luna Technologies specializes in state-of-the-art extraction equipment and has established itself as the benchmark for safety, quality, consistency, and customization within the industry. 

Sean, CEO of Media Bros, leads a company dedicated to providing premium color remediation media for cannabis extraction. With a methodical approach backed by extensive market research and strategic planning, Sean offers valuable insights into the ever changing cannabis industry. 

Read what this gathering of some of the finest minds in cannabis had to say, and see how you can apply it to your own process to increase customer satisfaction and fine-tune your workflow.  
  

The State of New Markets  

As the industry expands and new markets emerge, the dynamics of the cannabis space have undergone significant changes. With perspective from Oregon’s recreational cannabis journey, Sean lends perspective on what’s coming for other states. “The market space has changed,” Sean begins. “Current needs require us to focus more on the business of extraction, processing, and producing end-consumer products to the point where they can remain viably competitive.”  

Recently, one of the primary drivers of change is the drop in the cost per gram of oil. Sean attributes this decline to consolidation, competition, saturation, and supply. In response to this trend, producers are shifting their focus toward explaining the efficiency of their products. 

“We have 40-something separate markets in the US,” Jack says. “Do you think in the new markets that’s the case too? Seems like margins aren’t squeezed as much in those.”  

“Yeah, the margins are definitely not as squeezed in new markets,” Devon begins. However, there is still a significant influence from established markets, such as California, Colorado, and Oregon, Devon explains. Professionals from these established markets often lend their expertise to help new businesses set up in emerging markets.   

Reflecting on the rapid pace of change in new markets, Jack suggests that knowledge and experience from established states quickly permeate these emerging regions. He posits that businesses in new markets have the advantage of making profits more rapidly due to high demand and relatively higher prices. However, as knowledge and expertise flow in, prices are likely to stabilize and drop.  

Frozen biomass waiting to be processed and extracted.

The Truth About Terpene Content  

When it comes to terpenes in cannabis extracts, there’s a common misconception that more is better. However, as Devon explains, this legacy viewpoint doesn’t necessarily hold, especially when processing extracts for cartridges. Devon points out that variability between different cartridge manufacturers can lead to harsh flavors and leaky cartridges if there are excessive amounts of terpenes.  

Jack emphasizes that terpenes are not only harsh on the taste buds but also caustic in nature, explaining that the more terpenes you add, the harsher the experience becomes.   

“And it’s expensive,” Devon states. “Having these conversations with customers, I get a lot of feedback like, ‘Oh, we want to do 20% terpenes in this oil.’ Okay, well you can try that,” he says sarcastically. “There’s definitely cartridges that are designed to handle that. And you know, some people have good effects with that. But if you bring it down to 5%, you can make four times as many cartridges.” This increased production capacity doesn’t compromise the quality of the end product.   

From their experiences with pitfalls in the market, Devon and Jack agree that it’s less about the number of terpenes and more about the quality and profile of the terpenes being used. The focus should be on selecting the right combination of terpenes that deliver the desired flavor and effects while maintaining product stability and customer satisfaction.  

Filled vape cartridges waiting to be packaged.

The Importance of Process Control  

In the cannabis industry, maintaining consistency and quality throughout the supply chain and manufacturing process is essential. Jack emphasizes the importance of process control, emphasizing the need for consistency from cultivation to extraction and post-processing. 

According to Jack, achieving consistent growth starts with the cannabis strain itself, where it is critical to anticipate consumer tastes, ensure product diversification, foster relationships with farmers, and plan for year after year growth. The extraction process plays a vital role as well, determining the terpene profile and components carried into subsequent stages. 

Devon agrees, acknowledging that the post-processing phase presents opportunities to compensate for any variables encountered during cultivation and extraction. Downstream processes—like decarboxylation and terpene formulation—can ensure consistency from batch to batch and year to year, Devon suggests. He also points out that starting with a live resin product helps retain most of the terpenes from the growing process while cautioning against the common practice of decarboxylating bulk extract and directly filling cartridges, as it can lead to the loss of terpenes due to the violent nature of the decarb process.  

Relying on mechanical and chemical processes can help achieve control, even with the existing limitations. The physical act of THCa crystallization and the separation from the non-crystallized components as an example of a simpler and more effective control mechanism. 

Luna Technologies extractor interface.

The Craft of Vape Cartridge Production   

Creating a perfect strain-specific vape cartridge may require a different process than most producers are used to, but it’s certainly achievable. The key lies in separating and decarbing the crystals, mixing in a measured amount of sauce (not just using all of it) to ensure optimal flavor. Leftover sauce from the extraction process can be added to distillate for vape production, resulting in a product that tastes almost as good as fully live resin.  

Devon spotlights the control vape cartridge producers have over their offerings: “You can sell it at a different price point to attract different customers and have different SKUs for different pocketbooks.”   

A diagram breaking down how to produce a vape cartridge for every customer taste and price point.
Note: this is a simplified diagram for illustrative purposes, it makes some assumptions and may omit certain details.

In new markets, Jack highlights the presence of experienced cannabis producers who have been creating high-quality products but on a smaller scale. As consumer preferences shift towards quality, technological advancements like automated extractors and equipment make it easier to produce high-quality products at a more affordable price for producers.  

Sean mentions how labs reach a point where they need to scale their craft production. Extraction automation, reliable media, and automated vape cartridge-filling systems become crucial in maintaining the quality that makes a producer successful in the first place. The ability to replicate the craft consistently and scale effectively are where innovative automation solutions like Vape-Jet play a vital role.  

“So these products always exist in new markets, they’re just usually a really high price point,” Jack summarizes. “Then consumer preference shifts toward higher-quality products, and then the technology starts coming into that marketplace, like our extractor and [Vape-Jet] equipment. It makes it easier to produce those high-quality products at a lower price point. Then, [high-quality products] gain popularity.”  

The Challenges of Color Remediation (CRC) in Cannabis  

Color remediation presents a unique set of challenges that can impact a customer’s perception of product quality and safety. “In the early days of CRC, people would just say, ‘throw some silica into the CRC column, nuke the product as it’s coming out, and then you end up with limonene and pinene terpenes and that’s it,’” Sean explains. This misinformed approach contributes to the negative perception of butane hash oil (BHO) extract and CRC products, leading to a general skepticism toward filtration.  

“If you have a mistake—you over process or under process at any point—it’ll affect all of your processes,” Jack adds. The importance of precision and attention to detail at each stage of production cannot be understated.  

Sean also stresses the responsibility of industry professionals to prioritize cleanliness and safety throughout the entire production process. “It’s important for all of us to pay attention to what’s happening from upstream and downstream process[es] and then help provide the cleanest, safest possible product in that space,” he asserts. By focusing on quality and safety, valid arguments against the use of color remediation techniques will ultimately lose their ground, paving the way for a more informed industry.  

Media Bros CRC media next to examples of unremediated and remediated product.

The Value of Data  

As our trio notes, the value of data is becoming increasingly recognized by industry professionals. “Data speaks volumes, and I think that’s something that people are becoming more and more cognizant about,” Devon says. He mentions the reporting feature of Vape-Jet, which tracks crucial information such as temperature, time, and images of filled cartridges. However, it was only recently that users began questioning how to utilize these reports effectively to monitor production and detect potential issues.  

Jack shares a similar experience, explaining “We data log everything… 30 parameters once every 5 seconds.” For a long time, this wealth of data went unused. It was only in the past 18 to 24 months that people started recognizing the value of this data, either for process improvement or compliance purposes.  

Sean brings attention to the importance of data in the context of color remediation in cannabis (CRC) in Canada. He explains that there is a demand for Certificates of Analysis (COAs). While the cannabis industry doesn’t have HPLCs (high pressure liquid chromatography) like other industries, Media Bros does meticulously test their products.  

“We saw that in Canada immediately,” Sean explains. “We test all of our products, not just through examination of the product itself, but we run biomass through that product. We actually run it in some cannabinoid product to make sure that co-solvents in there, such as the terpenes, THC or CBD or whatever is being processed, that those are all finalized.” Yet, even though Sean’s team provides this data on every single batch of product nobody really asks for the information.  

A Vape-Jet fully automatic filling machine interface.

Dispelling Myths   

The Myths of Color Remediation   

Color Remediation (CRC) is a frequent subject of debate in the cannabis industry, with various myths surrounding its use. “[For] every single myth out there, there is a grain of truth, right?” Sean asks rhetorically. “The genesis of [CRC] myths can be traced back to the very beginning, where inexperienced operators were trying to make good-looking oil out of oxidized biomass and using whatever they thought could improve it.”  

However, in this hasty process, operators unintentionally overprocessed the biomass without a full understanding of their effects. Silica, for example, acts as a potent remediator, capable of extracting and absorbing various compounds. As a consequence, only specific flavor profiles, such as limonene or pinene, prevailed in the THC products, making all products taste similar. 

This led to a misconception that CRC was responsible for stripping away desirable aromatics, resulting in a less desirable product. “All of those really nice aromatics from the high-quality weed that existed are no longer present,” Sean says. “And in people’s minds, they just equated that as being somehow bad. No one wanted a dab or a cart that just tasted like pine sol.” Sean further explains that some processors responded to this perception by offering alternative products like live resin carts or live rosin carts, claiming they didn’t use CRC or used it correctly. Unfortunately, this created a negative image for those who were using poor CRC methodologies. These early experiences shaped the narrative around CRC, leaving room for misunderstandings.  

Jack brings a different perspective, viewing CRC as just another filtration process within the cannabis extraction realm: “Filtration CRC is just another filtration process. It’s just a different method using an adsorbent media instead of traditional filters.” Filtration is a common practice across various extraction methods, and CRC simply employs an adsorbent media instead of traditional filters. It’s important to remember that filtration itself is a fundamental step in the extraction process, regardless of the technique used, Jack says.  

While it’s true that CRC cannot magically transform low-quality biomass into top-tier products, “you can certainly take good biomass and make it worse by improper extraction techniques,” Sean says. Devon agrees, stating that fundamental changes occur during the extraction process itself, so adding CRC is just another step that can enhance the final product: “If adding CRC makes for a better end product, that should always be the focus.”  

The group agrees that understanding the nuances and dispelling the myths surrounding CRC is crucial to foster informed discussions and decision-making within the cannabis industry.  

Media Bros media being poured into a color remediation column.

The Myths of Extraction and Filling Temperatures  

When it comes to BHO extraction, there are numerous myths floating around. Jack points out that many of these myths arise due to the lack of industry data and improper temperature measurements. “Half the myths that around BHO that we deal with on a regular basis are just because the data doesn’t exist in the industry and no one is collecting it,” Jack says.  

According to Jack, one of the biggest myths is about extraction temperature. Many folks in the industry measure their temperature indirectly, and there are numerous steps where the temperature can change before it goes back to the chiller where measurements occur, Jack explains. “So you’re collecting data really indirectly; collecting data by looking at the chiller every once in a while saying, ‘okay, I’m extracting at -80°, my chiller set temp is -80°.’ Really, that’s not the case at all because there’s a ton of heat gain and energy transfer between your actual extraction and your chiller.”  

Jack also notes that many people believe that lower extraction temperatures result in higher-quality products. However, there’s a threshold temperature where the product quality stops increasing or increases very slowly. Below that threshold, the yield drops dramatically. Jack explains, “Everyone wants to extract at -120º. Technically, our chillers will go down to -120º Fahrenheit, but the problem is at -120º your yield drops dramatically, and there’s really no increase in product quality.”  

Devon agrees that lower extraction temperatures may not be worth the hit to overall yield. Devon also explains that automating the process may not necessarily translate from a manual process, and “you may actually shoot yourself in the foot.” Proper measurement and data can lead to higher-quality and more efficient extraction processes.  

Luna Technologies extractor interface.

The Myth of Craft Cannabis and Automation  

“There’s this myth in the industry that you can’t make a high-quality craft product with automation,” Jack says. Many believe that a high-quality craft product requires the expertise of a knowledgeable extractor who can make decisions based on their understanding of the biomass and the extraction process. When you dive into the details, the myth doesn’t hold up, Jack explains. The actions of an experienced extractor are essentially the same as what automation does. They observe the process, often using indirect methods, and make decisions based on that information.  

However, there are limitations to human decision-making. As Sean points out, “the error rates start going up because of human factors.” Extractors need to balance multiple variables, such as pressures and temperatures, which becomes challenging.   

Automation, on the other hand, can measure these variables accurately and make decisions much faster. Automation doesn’t diminish the role of a craft extractor, either; it simply enhances their capabilities. “All we’re really doing is building people’s decision trees into logic and having it follow that,” Jack clarifies. Sean agrees, adding, “You’re really not taking anything away from the craft extractor. You’re just saying, ‘hey, let me just allow you to make this repeatable.’”  

Devon highlights the cost of manual labor and the need for quality control in the absence of process control. Without control over the extraction process and other crucial factors, Devon explains, manual intervention becomes necessary at every step. However, with controlled processes, automation ensures consistent results, saving money, reallocating labor, and reducing errors. 

When processes are predictable, automation becomes a catalyst for growth and exploration. “If you do things the same way every single time, it becomes predictable,” Devon says. “And then once you have something that’s predictable, automation is going to allow things to explode in a good way.”  

Close up of a Vape-Jet fully automatic filling machine filling disposables.

The Myths of Vape Cartridge Filling  

“There’s no such thing as the artisanal-filled vape cart, doesn’t exist.” Sean begins. While the oil itself may be artisanal, the filling process should not be treated as a boutique or handcrafted endeavor, Devon elaborates. It is a skill or task at best, lacking the expressive nature found in other aspects of the cannabis industry such as extraction or growing. Instead, vape cartridge filling is a necessary step that requires precision and knowledge.  

One challenge that arises during the cart filling process is the homogenization of oil. Devon shares his experiences of troubleshooting issues with bubbly or oxidized cartridges and highlights the significance of proper mixing and homogenization. One common culprit? A hot plate with a magnetic stir bar, a piece of equipment found in almost every lab.  

Uneven heating causes problems. “The bottom of whatever jar you have gets superheated, and the stir bar won’t spin because it’s magnetically coupled, and it doesn’t have torque,” Devon explains. In an attempt to overcome this, operators often increase the heat and speed of the stir bar, which leads to undesirable consequences.  

When the stir bar creates a vortex in the oil, it incorporates air, and if the oil is superheated, oxidation occurs at an accelerated rate. This results in the loss of terpenes, which are released into the surrounding environment, creating the world’s most expensive air freshener. Additionally, the absorbed air in the oil causes the vape cartridges to develop an unattractive champagne-like appearance.  

Moreover, prolonged exposure to heat on the hotplate increases the oxidation rate to the point where the oil may turn red, rendering it unattractive to potential buyers. Devon shares an anecdote about cartridges turning red within a day or two due to improper mixing practices. He advises against relying solely on hotplates for oil mixing, stating, “That’s maybe not the best way to do that.”  

Filled vape cartridges waiting to be capped.

Key Takeaways   

“It’s all about data, data and control. [Data] gives you unprecedented insight into the process of filling cartridges. So, even though it’s not something that I would call ‘craft,’ having the ability to see what’s happening in there is still going to give you an idea of what’s happening and what needs to maybe change.”  

Devon Reid of Vape-Jet 

 “A lot of what we talked about today is how lack of data in the industry has led to a lot of inefficiencies. You have to start looking at margins a little closer, and what can you do to increase margins or maintain your margins in a tough market where prices are dropping. All of our products help do that. At Luna, we do that by putting in an automated solution for extraction where you can reduce your operating costs by moving labor to more effective areas like in food processing.”  

Jack Naito of Luna Tech

“At Media Bros, we really emphasize simplifying and demystifying that CRC process. Processing through a Luna, through our media, and then right into a Vape-Jet is the shortest distance from biomass to cart. Eventually, the market’s going to realize, ‘I’m in a really competitive space. I need to create the best possible products, and they need to taste good, they need to look good, and they need to present well.’ That’s the biggest takeaway for me: all of these components need to work well together. Good process flow will save you.”   

Sean Duffy of Media Bros

Jack Naito, Devon Reid, and Sean Duffy

If you want to refine your filling operation with Vape-Jet, reach out to our crew, and we’ll find the best solution for your business.  

Check out these success stories:  

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Categories
Events

New Jersey Lunch & Learn: Elevate Your Cannabis Extraction Business

Discover How a Concentrate-First Strategy Can Ensure Your Cannabis Extraction Business Dominance

Join us for an exciting Lunch & Learn event where you’ll have the opportunity to connect with five top-tier manufacturers and consultants in the industry. You won’t want to miss this chance to gain invaluable insights and insider tips on compliance, process design, product selection, and streamlining. Whether you’re just starting or looking to optimize your existing business, our experts will be on hand to answer all your questions.

New Jersey Lunch & Learn | Elevate Your Cannabis Extraction Business to the Next Level | June 15 Jersey City or June 16 Aberdeen

Choose From Two Events and Locations

Join us on Thursday, June 15 from 4-7pm at Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden in Jersey City, New Jersey. Or Friday, June 16 from 1-4pm at Alternate Ending Brewing in Aberdeen, New Jersey. Food and drinks are on us, but space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot now.

June 15 | Jersey City | Zeppelin Hall Beer Garden
June 16 | Aberdeen | Alternate Ending Brewing

What’s On the Agenda?

During the Lunch and Learn event, we will delve into a variety of topics that touch on the latest advancements and innovations in cannabis extraction. We’ll be focusing on extraction and concentrates, post processing equipment, facility build outs, engineering peer reviews, and more, with presentations from industry experts and an interactive Q&A session that encourages knowledge sharing and discussion.

Five Trailblazing Manufacturers and Consultants

We’re excited to be joining speakers from the following companies, each bringing a wealth of experience and insight to the table:

Luna Technologies is a pioneering force in the cannabis industry, offering top-of-the-line hydrocarbon extraction equipment that helps producers create clean, consistent products while improving safety, speed, and efficiency. With a commitment to workplace safety and environmental sustainability, they have revolutionized the extraction process by developing innovative equipment from the ground up, drawing inspiration from aerospace engineering, oil and gas, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Vape-Jet is a leading manufacturer of fully-automatic and semi-automatic filling machines for the vape cartridge production industry. Their machines offer high accuracy and fast production rates, making them the perfect choice for both small labs and large enterprises. With a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction, Vape-Jet’s machines are backed by proactive product support, ensuring their clients receive the best possible experience.

FlackTek is a mixing solutions provider based in Landrum, South Carolina. The company offers mixing equipment, supplies, and accessories for the cannabis industry. Their products are known for their quality, top-of-the-line equipment, technical support, and excellent customer service.

2 Bridges Cannabis Design is a cannabis design firm with decades of industry experience and a network of AgTech engineers, researchers, and investors. They provide customized design services for new and existing companies in all phases of operation, from advising on strategic decisions to coaching operators on best practices.

PRV is an engineering consulting firm that provides a wide range of services to help cannabis businesses get their labs certified and up to code. Their licensed engineers can certify any custom system as long as it is safe to use and compliant per local codes and standards, including alcohol chilling systems. They offer field verifications, peer reviews, 3D modeling, OEM manuals, engineering calculations, and site layout services.

Learn the Keys to Success in Mature Cannabis Markets

Our Lunch and Learn event is more than just a networking occasion. It’s a unique opportunity to gain insights into the cannabis extraction industry, get up to speed with the latest trends, interact with like-minded individuals, and potentially uncover new opportunities. Plus, it’s a chance to have your specific questions answered by the experts in the field.

Ready to Register?

Interested in joining us? To register for the event, sign up here for one of the two events. Remember, spaces are limited, so register soon to reserve your spot.

We’re looking forward to an insightful afternoon of learning and networking. Get ready to explore, ask, and discover at our first Lunch and Learn event!

While you’re at it, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter, and YouTube

Categories
Vape Hardware

Vape-Jet Hardware Partner: iKrusher

In a rapidly growing market like the vaping industry, it is essential to dial in filling processes to ensure quality user experiences every time. That may sound daunting, but that’s why the Vape-Jet crew is always looking for ways to provide advanced cartridge-filling solutions for customers through our Partner Program. Our newest partner, iKrusher, expands our one-stop shop for customer success even more, certifying an extensive selection of compatible products that will work seamlessly with your Vape-Jet fully automatic cartridge-filling machine.  

Read on to see how combing iKrusher’s innovative hardware combined with our vape cart filling expertise offers customers a complete turnkey solution for their vaping needs:  

Vape-Jet automatic filling machine filling the iKrusher Uzo disposable hardware.
Vape-Jet automatic filling machine filling the iKrusher Uzo disposable hardware.

iKrusher at a Glance  

Engineered out of California since 2017, iKrusher is a widely trusted vape hardware leader. With over 1,500 brand associations, iKrusher provides millions of vape users with reliable, cutting-edge products, including disposables, vaporizers, pods, batteries, and vaping accessories. With a dual base in the US and China to conduct in-depth research and development on atomization technology, iKrusher is committed to local lab testing to ensure that their products offer the best taste for oils and concentrates.   

With numerous technical patents and revolutionary products on the market, iKrusher continues to lead the trend in vaping experiences. They certainly haven’t shied away from this role either, opening multiple fulfillment distribution centers across the US to stay on top of their supply chain and provide reliable distribution. iKrusher’s wide network also provides local lab testing for oils and concentrates to design premium vaping experiences.  

iKrusher Technology  

OMNI 

If you couldn’t already tell, at Vape-Jet, we’re huge fans of innovation. As the largest custom OEM and ODM vaporizer provider in the US, iKrusher is all-in on creating new, custom vaporizer technologies. OMNI intelligent control technology is an excellent example of their dedication to high-performance vaping, enabling pure, multi-viscosity vaping experiences. With increased battery performance and superior flavor profiles thanks to the OMNI App and OMNI Smart Hub, iKrusher’s vaping technology has created a new industry standard. 

iKonic Ceramic Coil 

Utilizing a porous ceramic material, the iKonic coil locks in oils for better taste and purity, maximizing each draw for users. 

Vape-Jet x iKrusher: Partnership Benefits  

  • Rapid Deployment — leverage Vape-Jet and iKrusher’s in-house R&D teams for expedited hardware prototyping, ensuring repeatable vape cartridge-filling experiences.  
  • Verified Compatibility — pretested hardware means you don’t have to waste time testing different hardware or money using non-optimized components.  
  • Custom-Built Hardware Profiles — pre-configured hardware profiles are available for installation on your new Vape-Jet filling machine, so you can start no-waste filling right away.  
Vape-Jet 4.0 | The Most Advanced Fully-Automatic Vape Cartridge Filling Machine - Click to Learn More

Reliably Compatible Hardware  

Fill with confidence using qualified Vape-Jet Partners in conjunction with your Vape-Jet filling machine. Remember: all of our partners and products are thoroughly vetted by our crew and extensively QA-tested in the field by our customers.  

 Disposables  

iKrusher disposable vapes handle any viscosity: distillate, concentrates, or live resin. All disposables use compliant, durable, and sustainable materials while boasting long battery life and anti-clogging, zero-leak tanks. 

Cartridges  

iKrusher cartridges use award-winning, proprietary designed 510 thread cartridges engineered for even oil vaporization, maximizing consumption. iKrusher’s durable 510 oil cartridges are paired with ceramic quartz heating technology to provide superior taste and quality.   

Note: Not all hardware listed above is compatible with our Squish-o-Matic 1000 capping machine. For more detailed information on compatibility please reach out to our crew for more info. 

Vape-Jet automatic filling machine filling the iKrusher Uzo disposable hardware.
Vape-Jet automatic filling machine filling the iKrusher Uzo disposable hardware.

Tested in the Field 

The best part about our hardware partnership with iKrusher is that the results speak for themselves. Customers are already enjoying the synergy of Vape-Jet x iKrusher, including Joe Fabrizio, Lab Manager and Owner of Soil to Oil Montana.  

So far, Joe’s team has filled the Tik Pro Mini, 0.5mL disposable with their Jet Fueler semi-automatic vape cart filler, and they’ve had loads of success. Asked if he would recommend using Vape-Jet cart filling technology with iKrusher hardware, Joe says, “Absolutely! I’ve been filling carts for about 7 years. I’ve used dozens of different carts, all while filling by hand with a metered syringe. The Tik Pro is, by far, the most reliable vape I have ever used. It has an extremely low fail rate, rarely leaks or clogs, and the vape experience is exactly what I’ve been looking for. The mellow temperature keeps the terpenes preserved, yet it still puffs clouds with ease. Filling with the Jet Fueler ensures every vape is filled exactly the same with precise temperature controls and temperature settings. Low temp cart filling is easily achieved with the use of Nitrogen head pressure.” 

Or ask Jesse from Waypoint Processing, who says, “Every [iKrusher] product is packaged precisely making it easy to replicate and allows the Vape-Jet to quickly move from cart to cart. Vape-Jet support has been fantastic in dialing in so many different hardware types and an ever-changing product list with different concentrate types. Truly an amazing product is going into an amazing machine.” 

Let’s Get Started

We designed our Vape-Jet Partner Program to provide customers with the best possible vape cartridge-filling experience. Our partnership with iKrusher expands our one-stop shop, certifying an extensive selection of compatible products that will work seamlessly with your Vape-Jet fully automatic cartridge-filling machine. Take advantage of custom-built hardware profiles, verified compatibility, and pre-tested hardware so you can fill vape cartridges with confidence.   

If you want to become a Vape-Jet success story, reach out to our crew, and we’ll find the best solution for your business.   

Check out these success stories:   

While you’re at it, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube

Categories
Uncategorized

ElevatedRX: Customer Feature

Proudly cultivating, extracting, and manufacturing from the heart of New Mexico, ElevatedRx is a licensed cannabis extraction and manufacturing company raising the bar for premium-quality cannabis products. Guided by a mission to provide superior edibles, wax, and distillate for consumers, the team at ElevatedRx won the “Best Cart” award with Peaches and Dream at the Essie Awards and continues to focus on delivering products with the highest quality, purity, and potency.

With this mission in mind, the next step for ElevatedRx was to ensure every touchpoint in their process was handled with the same care as extraction. When your customers and mission demand perfection, every cartridge fill counts. That’s why the ElevatedRx team reached out to the Vape Jet crew and how they got started with the Jet Fueler.   

In this customer feature, we spoke with Bobby and Danny who work in the lab at ElevatedRx to see how they have implemented our semi-automatic vape cartridge-filling machine and what tips they would like to pass on to other folks in the cannabis industry looking to elevate their products.  

‘In the Beginning’: Before the Jet Fueler 

In the beginning, there was nothing…   

Well, not really. In the beginning, there was hand-filling. Bobby and Danny recall the painstaking process of filling distillate by hand (with a syringe gun) the same way many of us remember hard times—lots of character-building, not too much fun.  

Filling five vape cartridges at a time by hand meant having to cap each of the cartridges before filling more to ensure oil didn’t discolor in the cartridge. It also required a lot of labor, wasn’t fast by any means, and introduced variables that invite cartridge failures.   

Before the Jet Fueler, ElevatedRx filled about 500 vape cartridges a day with four to five employees dedicated to the task for eight hours each.  

‘Let There Be Light!’: Optimizing Throughput with the Jet Fueler

Switching to the Jet Fueler changed the game, Bobby and Danny agree. “[The Jet Fueler is] a lot more consistent with every single cartridge,” Bobby says. “It gives you very consistent carts, and it’s a lot cleaner too. I hate having sticky hands and sticky clothes.”  

Having a Jet Fueler also gave a significant boost to ElevatedRx’s QA process. Before, there simply wasn’t time to weigh vape cartridges in the thorough way they do things now, Bobby and Danny say. In other words, having a semi-automatic vape cart filler allows them to focus on refining their processes rather than focusing purely on filling.  

Now, ElevatedRx is filling much more volume, allowing them to pull more samples for QA to ensure repeatable quality fills. The fills have been a lot more consistent during spot checks, too, Danny says.  

After the Jet Fueler, ElevatedRx can fill up to 2,000 vape cartridges a day with a single employee filling and one capping. That’s 1,500 more cartridges, quality-filled, and 50-60% less labor! They also switched from steel vape cartridge caps to ceramic AVD cartridges, which have resolved previous capping issues and made the cartridge-filling process much more efficient.  

Jet Fueler Love: Tips, Tricks, and Product Support 

Bobby and Danny’s favorite feature of the Jet Fueler? The heating elements. “The heating elements are really good. Having three separate heaters for the reservoir, needle, and line is very smart and prevents the degradation of your oil from excessive heat.” 

Another great part about working with Vape-Jet is the industry-leading support team. “I’ve had nothing but good experiences. [The support team has] always been there for us any time we need anything. I’ve never encountered someone where I’ve felt like they were having a ‘bad day.’ They have always been chipper, nice, and able to help us out fairly promptly.”  

Asked whether they had any tips and tricks for the Jet Fueler, Bobby and Danny identify a couple of items:  

  1. Work with Vape-Jet support to find the perfect target for each cartridge and oil type to ensure consistency.  
  2. Use a filter! “We just use a coffee filter, but it fits perfectly on top of the reservoir. I recommend a filter so nothing gets into the reservoir or valve.”  

Unparalleled Cartridge-Filling Technology + Vape-Jet Support = 10/10

How likely are you to recommend Vape-Jet? “100%—10,” Bobby and Danny agree, “especially the price point compared to other machines. The Jet Fueler is super, super on point compared to anything else so far.”   

At Vape-Jet, we’re always looking at how we can cultivate premium experiences for vape cartridge fillers and end users alike. ElevatedRx is a great example of how you can grow your brand, decrease labor and product loss costs, and establish yourself as a quality solution provider by optimizing your vape cartridge-filling workflow.   

What’s next for ElevatedRx? The sky is the limit. With a new Vape-Jet fully-automatic cart filler in-house, we see more award-winning fills on the horizon. In fact, ElevatedRx just launched a disposable vape cartridge made possible by their Vape-Jet and Jet Fueler cart-filling machines. So, make sure to stay tuned to ElevatedRx to see what they have in store for 2023!  

In the meantime, if you want to become another success story, reach out to our crew and we’ll find the best solution for your business.   

Like our customer features? Check out these other success stories:   

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter and YouTube

Categories
Laboratory

Measuring Vape Cartridge Success with N.N. Analytics  

After exploring the reasons why vape cartridges fail in our previous blog post, it’s time to dive into the science of measuring vape cartridge success. Joining us again is Jake Rubenstein, the President and CEO of N.N. Analytics. In this blog, Jake shares his expertise on how Vape-Jet, N.N. Analytics, and other contributing factors ensure your cartridges perform at their best for a premium vaping experience. 

What Leads to a Vape Cartridge Success?  

Before we get into the finer scientific details of vape cartridge success, we should look at the factors that lead to a premium vaping experience. Here are the key elements that contribute to successful vape cartridges we’ve seen at N.N. Analytics:  

  • Ensure your vape cartridge performs the same when full, half-full, or near empty without leaks, clogs, or dry hits. 
  • Correct amount of delivered aerosol—correct standard Aerosol Collected Mass (ACM) between 25 to 60mg/puff in most vaping applications measured under a standard ISO regimen.   
  • Low-Pressure Drop (PD) values—a properly assembled cartridge with an oil that has a matched rheology will not have a high PD value when compared to a control sample.  
  • Lack of leaks through the 510 center-post—minimal device weight loss (DWL) is measured throughout the lifetime of a cartridge that was not captured or measured as Aerosol Collected Mass (ACM).
  • Lack of evaporation through the 510 center-post—minimal device weight loss (DWL) as measured throughout the lifetime of the cartridge that is not captured and measured as Aerosol Collected Mass (ACM). 
  • Lack of leaks into the center post by way of the failure modes identified above. 
  • Lack of leaks through the mouthpiece by way of the failure modes identified above.  
  • The proper delivery of cannabinoids measured in the Aerosol Collected Mass (ACM) without deterioration by way of elevated coil temperatures and a lack of airflow through the cartridge.   

What variables are critical for vape cartridge success?   

  • Choosing reliably vetted hardware with a proven track record and direct relationships with a trusted analytical lab.    
  • Confirming the compatibility between each type of cannabis oil and the hardware you intend to fill.   
  • Standardizing your formulation and enforcing process control throughout your extraction and filling operation to reduce variability in your oil output as measured by standard rheological assessments on a batch-by-batch basis.   
  • Confirming that the batch-to-batch variance does not fall outside of the approved rheological bracket defined for the cartridge-oil combination.   
  • A collaborative effort with open communication between the vape hardware manufacturer, vape filling machine manufacturer, vape testing facility, and you.   
  • The Vape-Jet product support team can tailor your filling temperatures and speeds to your formulation. N.N. Analytics can also develop and confirm with Vape-Jet the correct filling parameters that will support ideal cartridge performance without failure.  

How N.N. Analytics Can Resolve Your Vape Cartridge Failures

N.N. Analytics facilitates the standardization of oil-hardware combinations with characterization testing. Our approach to resolving your vape cartridge failure challenges comes in two phases.    

Phase One: Establishment of Approved Parameters    

Rheology Characterization and Performance Assessment of Solutions for Cartridge Filling—this is where we characterize the oil solutions to understand how they perform in each hardware SKU. In short, this process helps us understand whether known rheology will affect the performance and failure rate of the cartridge part number that is approved for sale.    

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis: Cartridge Performance Assessment (Leakage & Dry Hits)—we use this standard metric to evaluate a new part number in hardware that we haven’t assessed yet. We evaluate stability performance, including device weight loss, pressure drop, and aerosol collected mass. This testing is performed with standard solutions (oils) that are deployed by NN Analytics, meeting the criteria of low, medium, or high viscosity:  

  • Low Viscosity: Akin to rosin formulations or those with terpene additions of greater than 10%  
  • Medium viscosity: Akin to formulations that have a standard number of terpenes and are standard performers – This is our target range for most formulations  
  • High Viscosity: High potency oils with minimal terpene or diluent additions require optimum shear rates of cartridges tuned to high-viscosity oils.   

Phase Two: Continual Evaluation of Approved Ranges    

Stability Studies—used to evaluate the stability performance of a new batch of hardware by ACM/DWL and by delivered cannabinoid concentrations in the ACM.   

Oil Performance Assessment—used to evaluate a new batch of oil manufactured to a specific recipe by rheological assessment and terpene/cannabinoid measurements in the ACM according to the standard (approved) reference sample. 

Standard Measurements We Use at N.N. Analytics 

Device Weight Loss   

Device Weight Loss (DWL) measures the total change in filled mass of oil in a cartridge. This measurement is taken when the vape cartridge is filled and capped at T=0, then monitored throughout the lifetime of the cartridge during testing or stability studies before Aerosol Collected Mass (ACM) measurements are taken. 

Over time, oil may leak or evaporate due to leakage or evaporation from an improper cap seal or airhole feed size that allows atmosphere to enter the vape cartridge by way of the center post or air inlets at the bottom of the cartridge, leading to reduced ACM, evaporation of volatile terpenes, and possible oxidation of cannabinoids. 

DWL and reduced ACM are both causative variables of leakage that causes oil to emit from the 510 thread or air feed holes, which are indicative of a rheological mismatch of the oil viscosity with the hardware, namely:   

  • coil-wicking material porosity    
  • feed hole size    
  • airflow hole size    
  • Improper oil rheology  

Aerosol Performance   

Aerosol collected mass (ACM)—this variable determines the efficiency of the cartridge as a complete unit that will establish a parameter we call “ACM” for the amount of vapor emitted from the cartridge during normal expected vaping conditions.   

ACM can be influenced by many factors and is considered a correlative variable for cartridge performance rather than a causative variable, such as device weight loss (DWL) or pressure drop (PD).  

Aerosol Constituents   

There are many constituents in cannabis and hemp aerosol, which we can classify as indicative of proper or improper performance. These measurements are taken hand-in-hand with aerosol collected mass (ACM) to understand the correct selection of good oil and hardware combinations during expected vaping conditions (ISO and CORESTA methods) and identify failures during vaping that may lead to emissions of harmful or potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs), such as:   

  • Heavy Metals    
    • Tested using ICP-MS    
      • Chromium (stainless steel parts or coil)    
      • Nickel (coil)    
      • Cadmium (stainless steel parts or coil)    
      • Lead (coil solder)  
  • Aldehydes    
    • Tested using GC/MS    
  • Volatile Solvents    
    • Tested using GC/MS    
  • Microplastics and solvated plastics    
    • Tested using LC/MS    
  • Other foreign material (coil-wicking material including ceramic particles, rayon, or cotton fibers)     
    • Tested by Scanning Electron Microscopy Tandem Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDX)  

Guaranteeing Vape Cartridge Sucess: Measuring Solution Rheology and Cartridge Performance  

How do vape cartridge producers guarantee their solution will not leak when choosing new cartridge hardware?    

The way to guarantee that leakage will not occur is to standardize the minimum “thickness” of the solution used in a particular hardware platform. N.N. Analytics accomplishes this with strict measurements of solution rheology to define the viscosity, shear rate, and elasticity of oils using an iso-accredited method for rheology measurements.    

Additionally, N.N. Analytics measures coil performance by deploying its patent-pending Iron Lung aerosol collection technology to assess aerosol performance by measuring pressure drop, capturing the aerosol, and measuring the total weight and constituents within the aerosol. Pressure drop measurements allow us to evaluate leakage preventing aerosol delivery. Aerosol weight measurements allow for the characterization of atomizer/coil performance.    

N.N. Analytics' patent-pending Iron Lung aerosol collection technology
N.N. Analytics’ patent-pending “Iron Lung” aerosol collection technology

How can vape cartridge producers guarantee their solution will feed well when choosing new cartridge hardware?    

The way to prevent dry hits is by standardizing the maximum thickness of the solution in a particular hardware platform.    

Unleash Your Vape’s True Potential with Vape-Jet & N.N. Analytics

As you can see, the science behind a successful vaping experience requires cultivating a unique balance between the formulation of the oil, the hardware used, and the filling process.   

At N.N. Analytics, we use a combination of measurements to ensure that your vape cartridges perform optimally and meet industry standards. Our expert team works closely with you, the vape hardware manufacturer and the vape filling machine manufacturer to resolve your vape cartridge failure challenges. Let N.N. Analytics help you achieve the premium vaping experience your customers deserve.  

N.N. Analytics Full Service E-Liquid Testing Laboratory | Click to Browse Our Services

Need some help taking your vape cartridge filling performance to the next level? Reach out to our crew and learn how Vape-Jet can provide next-level products for your customers.  

Some of our success stories:  

Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on the essentials, too: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube

Categories
Uncategorized

The Science Behind Vape Cartridge Failures with N.N. Analytics

We are excited to introduce Jake Rubenstein, the President & CEO of N.N. Analytics, as our first guest contributor to the Vape-Jet crew blog! Established in 2015, N.N. Analytics is a leading consulting and scientific support firm in the rapidly growing vaping industry. With an ISO 17025-accredited laboratory and a diverse team of professionals in regulatory compliance, manufacturing, software, and reverse engineering, N.N. Analytics helps their clients navigate the complex world of national and international regulation. With customers like Cilicon+, AVD, and Blinc you can trust that the team at N.N. is one of the best labs in the industry. 

As a full-service nicotine, e-liquid, and cannabis/hemp testing laboratory out of San Diego, California, N.N. Analytics provides numerous services, including vape cartridge leak and performance testing to help eliminate cartridge loss and improper formulations. They’ve even developed their own aerosol testing apparatuses to ensure the highest standards of results. 

At MJBizCon 2022, the Vape-Jet crew bonded with Jake over our shared love of the science behind great cannabis products. Together, we look forward to providing our customers with even more comprehensive support in assessing their oil and hardware for optimal performance, standardizing their formulations, minimizing end-user returns, and achieving better customer satisfaction and success. 

What Causes Vape Cartridge Failures? 

Most common vape cartridge failures are caused by improper hardware selection for that specific oil formulation, leading to poor performance within the hardware.   

How do you measure performance?  

We measure key variables of the oil and cartridge combination. Proper performance of an oil and cartridge combination starts with a regulated oil feed rate into the coil atomizer, allowing for atomization of oil into the vapor phase at a constant and predictable rate, without leaks or dry hits.  

Now, let’s look at the reasons vape cartridges fail in a bit more depth.

The Top 5 Reasons for Vape Cartridges Failures

First, Some Definitions  

Rheology—studies the deformation of the flow of material, and in this case, the liquid flowing through a vape cartridge reservoir into the vaporization chamber and out of the mouthpiece.  

Viscosity—a measure of a liquid’s thickness and ability to deform to a container/force when pressure or heat is applied.  

Shear-Rate—the stickiness of a liquid and how strong it clings to a container or surface.  

Elastic Modulus—a liquid’s ability to stretch when a force is applied, either by pressure or by heat.   

Tensile Modulus—a liquid’s ability to resist deformation when a force is applied, either by pressure or by heat.  

#1 Failure: Leaks 

Oil leakage into the air inlet chamber is due to a mismatch in:  

  • Cartridge Feed-Hole Diameter—the aperture of the feed hole is too large, allowing liquid to flood the cartridge-wicking material too quickly.  
  • Wicking Material Porosity—porosity is too high (not dense enough), leading to liquid seeping through the wicking material and leaking out of the bottom of the cartridge.  
  • Rheology of Liquid is Too Thin—the viscosity is too low, the elastic modulus is non-Newtonian, the shear rate is too low, or the tensile modulus is non-Newtonian or too high. 

#2 Failure: Clogs  

Lack of wicking material saturation is due to:  

  • Cartridge Feed Hole Diameter—aperture is too small for liquid rheology.  
  • Wicking Material Porosity—porosity is too high (too dense), leading to liquid not sufficiently saturating the wicking material, which presents as a dry hit.   
  • Rheology of liquid being too thick—viscosity is too high, elastic modulus or tensile modulus is non-Newtonian, shear rate is too high.  

#3 Failure: Hardware Issues  

Cartridge Feed Hole Diameter  
  • Feed holes too large or too many—flooding of the wicking material in the atomization chamber.  
  • Feed holes too small or too few—poor saturation of the wicking material in the atomization chamber, leading to dry hits, which can be harmful. 
Coil-Wicking Material Selection

Ceramic  

  • Ceramic particles can be emitted if the coils are not well washed/sintered before installation, leading to nano-particulates in the vapor stream.  
  • Porosity (see below)  

Rayon  

  • Density (see below)  

Cotton  

  • Same issues as rayon wicking.  
Coil-Wicking Material Porosity/Density   
  • Porosity is too high (not dense enough)—liquid flows too easily through and saturates the atomization chamber, leading to leaks through the 510-thread or clogs through the center post.   
  • Porosity is too low (too dense)—liquid does not flow easily or saturate the atomization chamber, leading to dry-hits or the emission of harmful constituents due to elevated vaping temperatures.
510-Thread Inlet Air Hole Feed Size  
  • Too large—leads to leakage related to improper rheology, making liquid too thin.  
  • Too small—alters the ability to generate sufficient amounts of vapor, leading to dry hits, which can be harmful.  
Center Post Diameter
  • Too small of a diameter leads to clogs from non-atomized liquid and a noticeable pressure drop.
Center Post Venturi-Effect Pressure Drop and Airflow  
  • Buildup of excess liquid that was not vaporized in the center post, leading to clogs.   
  • Rheology is too thin, leading to leaks.  
Cartridge Reservoir Size and Head-Pressure
  • Too large—can lead to too much head pressure, flooding the wicking material in the atomization chamber, and is a major cause of leaks.  
  • Too small—can lead to a lack of head pressure and dry hits due to a lack of liquid feed into the coil-wicking material in the atomization chamber.  

  

#4 Failure: Liquid-Based Issues 

  • Batch-by-batch variation of oils—when distilled in different batches, the rheology of cannabis/hemp oils can vary greatly from previous batches.   
  • Batch-by-batch variation of terpenoids and flavoring components—terpene products, especially in live resin formulations, can vary greatly.   
  • Measurements and mixing during liquid product assembly—a single variation in standard operating procedures can disrupt the balance between liquid rheology and hardware. 

#5 Failure: Filling and Capping Parameters and Execution 

  • Flooding of the Cartridge Coil—high fill temperature, unreasonably fast fill speed, or an improper fill angle leads to fast flooding without air gaps next to the coil-wicking material.  
  • Insufficient Fill Volumes—overfilling of cartridges forces solution into the coil-wicking material before negative pressure is initiated by standard vaping conditions.  
  • Clogging—poor saturation of the cartridge leads to capping failures from the application of caps without correct pressure leading to air gaps in the seal at the cap.
Vape-Jet 4.0 | The Most Advanced Fully-Automatic Vape Cartridge Filling Machine - Click to Learn More

Joining Forces: Vape-Jet x N.N. Analytics

Understanding the reasons vape cartridges fail is crucial to creating and producing a high-quality and reliable product. Whether it is due to hardware selection, leaks, clogs, hardware issues, or improper coil-wicking material selection, having the right knowledge and resources can help prevent common vape cartridge failures.  

But where do we go from here?  

Stay tuned for our next article where we discuss practical solutions to overcome these common vape cartridge failures and provide guidance for achieving enhanced product performance and a smoother vaping experience. If you’re looking to optimize your vape cartridge formulations, minimize returns, and achieve better results, you’re in the right spot. 

Browse N.N. Analytics’ Complete Services

Need some help taking your vape cartridge filling performance to the next level? Reach out to our crew and learn how Vape-Jet can provide next-level products for your customers.  

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Vape-Jet

Vape-Jet 2022 Company Review

As we kick off the new year, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the growth of Vape-Jet in 2022. From expanding our on-site operations to growing our international network of developers, designers, and engineers, we’ve made huge strides in refining our products and providing industry-leading support to our customers. We even traveled across the U.S. to visit with customers and learn about their needs and experiences. In short, it was a productive year at Vape-Jet!  

Join us as we celebrate the progress of Vape-Jet and look forward to an even brighter future: 

2022 Overall Growth with CEO Ryan Hoitt

As we begin 2023, I am proud to reflect on another incredible year for the Vape-Jet team. The year was full of growth and progress, highlighting the importance of prioritizing innovation and building value for our customers. Throughout 2022, we remained committed to these goals, releasing an upgraded, fully-automatic Vape-Jet 4.0, and a new software platform, MARVIN, to improve our already industry-leading products.  

Vape-Jet 4.0 | The Most Advanced Fully-Automatic Vape Cartridge Filling Machine - Click to Learn More

Another highlight in 2022 was the launch of our partner program. Designed to provide a one-stop shop for our customers’ vape cartridge production needs, we thoroughly vetted several vape hardware companies, a terpene supplier, and an equipment manufacturing team to establish a solid foundation for quality vape solutions. 

At MJBizCon 2022, we were thrilled to see the evolution of our brand into a recognized and highly respected company within the cannabis industry. We have come a long way from being a small, relatively unknown company striving for recognition to a crew that people went out of their way to see in person. If any event could signify the growth of our company at a glance, this was it. 

Last but not least, we doubled our manufacturing crew and customer service team in 2022, providing our customers with quick support and troubleshooting options with more room to expand in 2023.  

Ryan Hoitt, CEO  

2022 Financial Growth with CFO Brian Kuo 

In 2022, our strategy was to continue the organic, sustainable growth that made 2021 so strong. While the backdrop of the industry was dire, with many companies experiencing low to negative growth, Vape-Jet bucked that trend by having its best year ever, including record-breaking months in the fourth quarter.  

Our mission of innovation (in a space that has grown stale with retrofits and dated equipment) continues to build value for our clients and pushes us to innovate to pass even more benefits to our customers. This mission emphasizes growth alongside our customers, crew diversity and experience, heavy investments in R&D, and local manufacturing, assembly, and support. 

As we look to the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of our accomplishments:  

  • In 2022, our YoY (year-over-year) revenue grew by almost 200%*  
  • We have been profitable and cash flow positive since 2020, with an approximate 428% growth in profitability YoY in 2022*  
  • We have simultaneously increased our total assets by more than 200% with no new long-term debt  
  • Our crew crushed it this year, so we rewarded their hard work by increasing our employee profit share bonus approximately 200%  

Brian Kuo, CFO  

*Financial data included in this blog is unaudited and not to be relied upon for investment decisions. 2022 has not been closed at the time this blog was written. Some figures are estimates.   

2022 Operational Growth with COO Devon Reid

In 2022, our vape cart filling machines maintained 2021’s stellar growth numbers, allowing us to continue reinvesting in improving the manufacturability of our Vape-Jet cart filler. Now, with the release of our 4.0 model, we can build and ship units much faster than before. Notably, despite the increase in units shipped, remote support handled greater than 99% of customer tickets, with only four issues requiring on-site assistance.  

With increased efficiency on the manufacturing end and scaling product support to maintain our goals, we set our sights on electrical safety certifications for international sales. In that regard, we are pleased to report that the Vape-Jet 4.0 passed its electrical safety inspection on the first attempt (conforming to UL-61010 via CSA SPE-1000); this will enable ETL and CE marks to be obtained in early 2023.   

Devon Reid, COO  

2023 Vape-Jet Growth Goals 

Entering 2023, we know the importance of setting clear and achievable goals to drive growth and stay on track. However, before we dive into our goals for 2023, how did we fare in 2022?  

✓ Maintained our dedication to post-sales support by increasing accessibility with more written and video resources, troubleshooting guides, in-application assistance programs, and software-based SOPs.  

✓ Stuck to our innovative roots with continued software and hardware improvements.  

✓ Scaled with our customers by adding operational capacity and maintaining inventory buffers by adding office space and on-site storage.  

Having met our goals for 2022, here are our goals for 2023:  

  • Release a major product upgrade in the first quarter 
  • Release a new Vape-Jet product
  • Obtain necessary certifications for Vape-Jet and Jet Fueler to expand into new international markets 
  • Increase support hours and improve response times ever further 

Get Ready for 2023 

As we wrap up 2022 at Vape-Jet HQ, we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of the hard work, dedication, and innovation that went into making this year a success. From expanding our operations and establishing an international network of partners to refining our products and providing industry-leading support to our customers, we’ve continued to build a strong and sustainable business.   

Looking ahead to 2023, we’re excited to focus on new growth goals and continue building on the progress we’ve made. Most importantly, thank you for joining us on this journey, and here’s to another year of growth and success for Vape-Jet!  

If you are interested in partnering with us, reach out to our crew to learn how Vape-Jet can provide next-level products for your customers.   

Read our customer features:  

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