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True North Collective MI: Customer Feature

A Shared Dedication to Quality

When it comes to offering transformative solutions for your customers, you have to embrace a growth mindset that challenges the status quo. Every day, our team at Vape-Jet has lived by this ethos, and we love when others do too. That’s why it should be no surprise that today, we’re focusing on True North Collective—an unapologetically authentic purveyor of craft cannabis products.  

As one of Michigan’s premier cannabis brands, you can bet that the True North Collective (TNC) team doesn’t take any shortcuts. Since 2019, they’ve emphasized the healing potential of cannabis and have cultivated multi-award-winning products for medical and recreational users alike. 

True North Collective - From Michigan, For Michigan | Click to Learn More

With three brands in the TNC family, it didn’t take long before their vape cartridge-filling production needed a boost. Most importantly, this wasn’t a time to take shortcuts with their operation. Recognizing the innovation and quality behind Vape-Jet products reflected their own high standards, Vape-Jet automation and True North Collective were a perfect match. TNC decided to invest in our Vape-Jet 3.0 fully automatic and a Jet Fueler 2.0 semi-automatic filler, and that’s where our story begins.  

This week, we sat down with TNC-Michigan’s Distillation Director, Joey Stutz to see how their operation had changed since acquiring our cartridge-filling machines: 

Vape-Jet in action at True North Collective’s Michigan facility.

Before and After 

Before investing in their first Vape-Jet, TNC was filling cartridges by hand with a generic cartridge-filling gun. Since there were no heating elements in the filling gun, fill techs had to heat the oil separately. With this heating variable added to an already physically intensive filling process, TNC had to dedicate up to six employees at a time for filling and capping, which limited them to filling 50-100 cartridges at a time and up to 1,000-2,000 a day. 

And after they bought a Vape-Jet? 

With the Vape-Jet they can fill about 4,000 distillate cartridges per day—and that’s with one person for filling and capping. Needless to say, that was a huge improvement over hand-filling! 

With the speed and precision of a Vape-Jet in their facility, TNC saw an opportunity to use our semi-automatic Jet Fueler to generate new products, like a line of premium sauce cartridges coming to market soon. For businesses looking to accelerate their growth by adding product lines—or rapidly boosting their throughput to meet demand and enter new markets—the flexibility of a Vape-Jet and Jet Fueler tandem is highly effective

With their move to Vape-Jet automation, TNC also switched to AVD EazyPress cartridges (one of Vape-Jet’s most filled hardware suppliers) for a seamless production workflow. “We did R&D on a bunch of different disposables, pods, and other carts that aren’t EasyPress, but ultimately the best flavor came from the EasyPress AVD [cartridges],” Joey says. 

Jet Fueler 2.0 The Most Advanced Semi-Automatic Vape Cartridge Filling Machine - Click to Learn More

Labor Cost 

By switching to Vape-Jet, True North Collective reduced its labor needs by 83% while doubling its production output.  

“The Vape-Jet is automated, so you need someone in the room watching it, but they can also be doing something else while the machine is running itself. It’s not like that person is just dedicated to filling the entire time or just dedicated to one other process. The machine makes it so that one person can get carts ready, they can get the oil ready for the carts and mix the terpenes into it, they can watch the machine and cap at the same time. [The Vape-Jet] makes it very easy for us to reduce the amount of labor overall,” Joey says. “We don’t even have to use the VJ every day right now because it can fill so many, and it’s so efficient.”  

What about fill accuracy? Any improvement there?  

Although their hand-filling operator was very skilled and experienced, it would have been difficult if they had to train someone new. “Whereas the Vape-Jet comes in, and you just work a computer a little bit, and you’re good to go,” Joey says. “There’s not a lot of skill required to operate this machine, just knowledge.”  

How easy is it to operate a Vape-Jet? Contact our crew to request a live demo and see for yourself.

Vape-Jet Product Support 

Creating an extensive, easily accessed online product support library has been, and remains, a main focus for the Vape-Jet team. With an abundance of resources for new Vape-Jet users and veterans alike, folks can easily find: 

Joey emphasizes this comprehensive approach to product support as a key component of the success TNC has had with their machines. “Anytime we have an issue, I go online or send a support message, and they’re on it within a day. If it’s super time-sensitive,” Joey continues, “[Vape-Jet support] is right on it. Just the other day, we had an issue with the needle, and they got on within 30-45 minutes. Customer service is great.”   

Operator Tips from Joey 

  • For faster changeover between batches, make sure to purchase an extra reservoir for oil so you can have it ready as soon as your cleaning cycle ends. You can also get a DropTank Oil Preheater to perform hot swaps and save more time. 
  • Try to run the same cannabis strain back-to-back so you don’t have to wait for the cleaning process. 
  • Always be aware if the nitrogen is connected or disconnected to the oil reservoir (depending on the task at hand) because it can make a huge mess.  
Vape-Jet 4.0 | The Most Advanced Fully-Automatic Vape Cartridge Filling Machine - Click to Learn More

Why Vape-Jet? 

Ease of use 

I really like the efficiency of your machine. You literally just put the brick in there, it fills the brick, and then you take the brick out. It’s that easy,” Joey explains. “Every other machine that we saw was a little bit more manual or had some other things that you had to do to them.”  

Operation Consistency 

“I also liked that the Vape-Jet was a single fill vs. filling 100 cartridges at one time because I’ve never seen that work correctly.”   

Pricing 

“The price is excellent. It’s probably 50-66% the cost of the machines that claim they can do a similar amount.” And that’s without getting into fill repeatability, where the Vape–Jet outpaces all competitors with a fill variability of ±0.25%. That’s more precise than a single drop of oil! 

Look 

And,” Joey emphasizes, “it looks cool! It’s something that when someone is touring the facility, they look at it and they’re like ‘That looks pretty cool!’ instead of a big clunky machine just sitting there that we have to explain what it does.” 

10/10 Would Recommend” 

Before we said goodbye, we asked Joey how likely he was to recommend our vape cartridge-filling machines to others: “10/10—would recommend,” Joey said. We can’t ask for a better score than that! 

As they look to ramp up production soon (and possibly bring another Vape-Jet on board), we wish True North Collective the very best moving forward. We couldn’t be happier to watch their customer-centered focus on quality pay off. We also want to thank Joey Stutz for taking the time to speak with us and share his unique insights. It’s always a pleasure speaking with other folks who are passionate about cannabis and process development. 

If you want to experience freedom from workflow, labor, and product quality constraints that Joey describes, contact our sales team and join the Vape-Jet Revolution! 

Interested in learning more? Browse one of our other informational blogs:  

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, and LinkedIn

Newsworthy Bonus Content

True North Collective was featured in an AP piece earlier this year, including a glimpse of their Vape-Jet 3.0 in action.

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Why We Invest in American-Made Parts

Establishing a Manufacturing Network in the United States

At Vape-Jet, we are proud of our relationships with American businesses. While we have—and continue to—work with hand-picked international vendors, every business in our network recognizes Vape-Jet’s commitment to sourcing quality parts and the importance of building strong relationships with fellow US-based manufacturers. Additionally, our customers know that every Vape-Jet and Jet-Fueler are not only hand-built and QA tested on-site, but backed by customized, on-demand support from our team of engineers in Portland, Oregon. 

Vape-Jet | The Most Advanced Fully-Automatic Vape Cartridge Filling Machine

Why is this so important? Because using products sourced from the US is not only great for our communities, it also allows us to rapidly develop our vape cartridge-filling solutions. By pushing the limits of what’s possible with our network of partners, we’ve perfected innovation and implementation strategies that keep our equipment on the cutting edge of cartridge-filling automation. 

As a result, every investment in Vape-Jet equipment is an investment in a network of US-based manufacturers and suppliers working together to engineer the future of vape cartridge production. Working with this network: 

  • Keeps Us Agile—we can scale our processes, pivot to alternative components, and innovate faster. 
  • Lowers Shipping Costs—with reduced supply chain, shipping, and storage costs, we can pass logistics savings along to our customers. 
  • Creates More Jobs—providing employment, training, and skill development opportunities for Americans looking to break into new industries. 
  • Bolsters Economic Resilience—with supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and logistics challenges, reinvesting in the US economy keeps Vape-Jet durable during turbulent times. 
  • Reduces Our Environmental Impact—less shipping, less emissions (not to mention strict e-cycling standards). 

This month, we teamed up with some of our suppliers to discuss the importance of US-based partnerships from a wider perspective. We asked them to tell us about their company, how their relationship with Vape-Jet has grown, and what they thought of American-made manufacturing. 

Brad White, Senior Mechanical Engineer from N.B. Oler

N.B.Oler | High Quality Stainless Equipment | Click to Learn More

 N.B. Oler manufactures the stainless-steel reservoirs on our Vape-Jet and Jet-Fueler. 

About N.B. Oler

We are an Oregon-based stainless steel fabrication company focused on manufacturing the highest quality products and services. We specialize in pressure vessels, process optimization, and custom fabrication in the pharmaceutical, cannabis, and food and beverage industries.

N.B. Oler & Vape-Jet

We started fabricating components for Vape-Jet in 2019 and have witnessed the progression of their product capabilities through the sophisticated application of engineering and R&D efforts. Vape-Jet is producing some of the most innovative products in the cannabis industry, and it is exciting to be innovating with such a talented team. 

Vape-Jet has always been responsive, professional, and fantastic with collaboration. 

Why Prioritize American-made?

At N.B. Oler, we know American manufacturers provide some of the most consistent, highest-quality parts available. As a producer of high-end pressure vessels, it’s essential we source the highest quality components not only for functionality but, more importantly, for the safety of our customers. We also fabricate all our vessels in the USA and remain dedicated to working with other US-based businesses. 

We believe in supporting American business and the American worker as we continue to drive innovation in the modern economy. 

Kevin Hayward, Bridgeview Manufacturing

Bridgeview Manufacturing | Contract Manufacturing | Click to Learn More

Bridgeview Manufacturing makes the cables and electrical components on our Vape-Jet.  

About Bridgeview Manufacturing 

We assemble wire harnesses, cables, and other electrical assembly services for multiple industries, including the semiconductor and UAV/Aerial surveillance industries.  

Our team specializes in helping our customers with product development, ironing out the wrinkles, and getting things just right, which is why we say, “let’s build something together!” 

Bridgeview Manufacturing & Vape-Jet

As you have probably guessed, we provide the internal wiring and cabling for Vape-Jet machines. Our experience with the Vape-Jet team has been very collaborative, and we are grateful to be a part of the process. Working with everyone (emphasis on with) at V-J headquarters has allowed us to move collectively toward a polished final product. 

Why Prioritize American-made?

At Bridgeview, this is one of our primary concerns. We have a wealth of experience working with overseas manufacturing, and—while that approach might be appropriate for stable, established commodity items—for complex and specialized products, there is no substitute for domestic suppliers who are responsive, communicative, and closeby. 

The bottom line—when you are working with time-sensitive products that are continually evolving—there is no substitute for buying local. 

Trisha Turner, Black Label Metal 

Black Label Metal | World-Class Fabrication & Finishing | Click to Learn More

Black Label Metal manufactures the all-metal heat box and external panels on our Vape-Jet. 

About Black Label Metal 

Located at the center of Hillsboro’s technology community, Black Label Metal serves the retail industry and the needs of Pacific Northwest high-tech, creative agencies with world-class fabrication and finishing. From international leaders to smaller, local businesses, we show our customers the same level of respect and attention. 

There are many ways to describe what we do, but the truth is: we simply specialize in getting the job done. For us, that means delivering high-quality products on schedule and on budget every time. No variation, no excuses. At Black Label Metal, the success of our clients is more important than winning another job ticket. We won’t take a job if we can’t complete it the right way.  

Our skills run deep, so we take projects from concept to completion. We find that this process reduces the burden on our customers, who shouldn’t have to manage the complex workflow of a fabrication project. 

Black Label Metal & Vape-Jet

In October, Vape-Jet came to us looking for a partner to help make their concepts a reality. With our expertise and Vape-Jet’s vision, we worked together to streamline and improve existing designs. It was a perfect match! Black Label delivered what Vape-Jet was looking for in the timeline they desired. That’s a team win. 

We know that the Vape-Jet team is always looking to improve their existing products and, just as adamantly, develop new ones. It has been impressive to witness and be a part of Vape-Jet’s growth, and we are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their process. 

At Black Label Metal, we look forward to continuing to build our relationship and grow with Vape-Jet in the coming years. 

Jim Bruno, Global Director at IVEK

IVEK | Manufacturing Small Volume Precision Liquid Metering and Dispensing | Click to Learn More

IVEK manufacturers the valves that ensure fast flow rates on our Vape-Jet. 

About IVEK

IVEK provides products and solutions for applications requiring high precision fluidic capabilities. In business since 1979, IVEK serves both production dispensing automation companies and a broad range of fluidic-based OEM instrument companies. 

IVEK & Vape-Jet

Our experience working with Vape-Jet over the past 2.5 years has been terrific. Vape-Jet came to IVEK with a new valve idea (that was certainly in our wheelhouse), and working together, we designed the optimal component for IVEK to manufacture. Even though the prototypes took a bit longer than anticipated, the Vape-Jet Team was extremely cooperative and understanding. Now we are in full production with this valve, and its performance to date has been a great improvement over the previous version. 

Why Prioritize American-made?

As a global supplier, we are proud to meet the demands of our worldwide customer base. However, since we are a Vermont-based company—founded on the principle of entrepreneurship and working hard to fulfill the ideals we believe in—it is great working with companies like Vape-Jet, who are also eager to push forward with products they are passionate about. With so much pressure to outsource ideas and designs, working with start-ups that decide to build their own products in-house is very rewarding for IVEK. 

We are proud to be a key vendor for Vape-Jet. 

Chase Kloehn, Vice President of MK Fluidic Systems

MK Fluidic Systems | Manufacturing OEM Syringes, Valves, Tubing Kits and Probes | Click to Learn More

MK Fluidics manufactures the syringe on our Vape-Jet. 

About MK Fluidic Systems

At MK, we partner with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to help engineer and manufacture high-quality fluid control components. Our products include precision glass barrel syringes, rotary valves, tubing assemblies, probes, and complete service kits used with laboratory equipment. 

MK Fluidic Systems & Vape-Jet

We worked with the Vape-Jet team to engineer some custom syringes for their cartridge filling machines. Vape-Jet’s team members were a fantastic group to work with. We’ve been working together since 2020, and it’s been a very smooth and productive process. 

Why Prioritize American-made?

Our company is glad to have the opportunity to both buy from and sell to other US-based businesses. We find that not only is it sound business to have near and robust supply chains, but it’s socially responsible to keep valuable skills and jobs in the US market that might otherwise be lost. 

Jeremy Golden, Design Engineer from TutcoFarnam

TUTCO | Heating Solutions Group | Click to Learn More

Tutco-Farnam manufactures the environmental control heaters on our Vape-Jet. 

About Tutco-Farnam 

Here at Tutco-Farnam Custom Products we have had the opportunity to provide customized heating solutions to a wide range of customers: everyone from NASA to back-yard innovators. If it gets hot, Tutco-Farnam probably had something to do with it

Tutco-Farnam & Vape-Jet 

With any project, communication is key. Vape-Jet has always had a good open line of communication. I was assigned to this particular project about two years ago. This is not the first project we have collaborated with Vape-Jet on, and it surely will not be the last. Vape-Jet is organized, resourceful, and a great partner to have. 

Why Prioritize American-made? 

When dealing with such a diverse customer base from around the world, it is always a challenge to see the final application up close. US-based companies that bring their design a little closer to home give us all the opportunity to take the best steps forward. I guess you could say: feedback is the biggest benefit of working with your neighbors. 

Learn More About Vape-Jet   

A sincere thanks to all our partners who made this blog and, most importantly, our vision for Vape-Jet a reality. We look forward to continuing to grow together and building the best products for our customers.   

If you want to experience the greatness of your own Vape-Jet, all you need to do is drop us a line. 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, and LinkedIn

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C3 Industries: Customer Feature

How will you grow with a Vape-Jet?

In the cannabis industry, starting your business with a solid, growth-oriented foundation is critical to your success. With increasing competition and demand, you might only get one shot to impress consumers—that’s why we say every cartridge counts.   

In our last customer feature, we saw how Vape-Jet automation is crucial to scalability, even ramping up to produce 5,000-6,000 vape cartridges in a single eight-hour shift. But there’s no point in going fast if you can’t ensure product quality and safety; that’s why our industry-leading fill repeatability (±0.25%) is vital, ensuring every cartridge is uniform while meeting the highest possible standards.   

Sounds too good to be true, right? Luckily, our friends C3 Industries are here to back us up. We love C3 because they respect cannabis consumers—no shortcuts, no filler, just premium quality products. Before they became a multi-state business (with locations in Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Missouri), C3 Industries launched in 2018 in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Within six months their flower, concentrates and vape cartridge brand, Cloud Cover, became one of the top five indoor flower brands in Oregon. As fellow Oregonians, we were stoked!   

Clearly, C3 was something special, so it wasn’t long before they opened a cultivation and manufacturing center in Webberville, Michigan (followed by several High Profile retail stores). With four Vape-Jets in service and a new production facility in Massachusetts on the way, we decided to check in on how things were going.  

Enter: the heroes behind C3’s vape cartridge production, Senior Operations Manager Kevin Duplissis, and Inventory & Packaging Technician Jeremy Torrez.   

Before & After 

Although they’ve used Vape-Jet equipment for a long time (since the Vape-Jet 1.0 days), there was a period when hand-filling was the name of the game.   

How was that experience?’ we asked. “Painful,” Jeremy responds. As a premier, vertically-integrated cannabis cultivator, processor, and retailer, C3 wanted to reduce variability in their workflow from start to finish. This obviously included hand-filling cartridges, so switching to a state-of-the-art vape cartridge-filling machine was the only way forward. Now, “we’re heavily invested in the Vape-Jet ecosystem,” Kevin says. “We have one here [in Michigan], one on its way to Missouri, one in Massachusetts, and one in Oregon.”   

As you’d expect, C3 Industries was (and continues to be) a huge influence on our equipment. In fact, C3’s experiences with older Vape-Jet models informed several of the upgrades and changes in the 3.0 they’re running now. As both a witness to—and an integral part of—our evolution as a company, C3’s loyalty to our products is the best endorsement we could receive, showing how a focus on quality cannabis is always a worthwhile endeavor.  

Let’s Talk Details 

Previously filling 1,000 to 1,500 cartridges across two production days, Kevin says, C3 now targets 4,000 cartridges a week. Usually filling over three days, they mostly focus on 1 gram sauce cartridges with the occasional terpene and dab cartridge run.   

As demand grew, production increased; luckily, C3’s Vape-Jets were up to the task. With C3’s highest single shift output reaching 1,976 cartridges, Kevin and Jeremy know they can ramp up production at a moment’s notice. However, simply ripping through vape cartridges is not C3’s goal. Instead, they take a craft approach to producing cannabis products by fitting production to demand. Often producing small batches rather than ramping up, C3 seeks to perfect their craft, process, and calibration, so consumers only get the very best.  

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

The Pain of Hand-Filling 

The agony of hand filling is well-documented, but it’s worth emphasizing how much of a relief it is to introduce automated filling equipment. Believe us, the physical and mental demands of filling by hand prevent technicians from achieving the same quality control and throughput possible with vape cartridge automation.   

But don’t take our word for it.   

“Hand filling is a painful process,” Kevin says. “I have been around the team and seen them hand-filling. It is arduous, it is not fun on your fingers, it’s not hyper repeatable, and it’s not temperature controlled, so you’re going to have variability from cart to cart. [There are] too many variables out of your control, which we want to avoid at all costs. We want to make sure our product has a consistent flavor and fill level. Definitely not something you can do with hand filling.”  

Moving from a process of hand-filing and manual weight checking with a scale, the workflow with Vape-Jet automation leaves the C3 team much happier. “We save three profiles: a sauce cartridge profile, a terpene profile, and a dab profile,” Kevin says. “If the formulation is a little bit thicker or thinner, we can always adjust minor settings, but for the most part, we don’t have to do too much dialing.”  

Don’t worry, we didn’t make Jeremy or Kevin dwell in the negativity of hand-filling too long. “Don’t get me wrong, our team crushed it and flew through hand-filling,” Kevin says. “But again, not something I would want to subject anyone to on a week-to-week basis. I don’t think anyone would want to do that on a week-to-week basis.”  

Product Support: Internal & External 

Everyone has had a bad experience investing in technology.   

For some of us, it was entrusting a big box store with our first major desktop purchase. For others, a revolutionary new coffee maker dispensing something akin to mud. We’ve learned from these experiences and seek trusting relationships with businesses that take pride in their equipment and prioritize technical support.  

At Vape-Jet, we take pride in our industry-leading product support. Whether we are reviewing customer data to optimize machine performance or developing our active HelpDesk Support Ticketing System (averaging a 15-minute response time during business hours), we are your partners for the long haul.   

Even though they haven’t had any issues with their Vape-Jet 3.0 since installation, having an accessible support service has boosted the C3 team’s confidence. “The support is great,” Jeremy says. “The one time we had a problem [at installation], we got right on a call within fifteen minutes and got it sorted out.”   

Imagine waiting days (or even longer) for the necessary support to get things going! The Vape-Jet team realizes that any production disruption has broad implications for your workflow, so we take an all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing technical problems. We even set up product support calls for hardware calibration so you can save optimized filling profiles for increased efficiency. We win when you win.  

Uniformity Across Locations 

Having the same Vape-Jet model across all locations allowed C3 Industries to build institutional knowledge of our machine. With easier internal training and SOP familiarity, communication and workflow efficiency are much better than in the old hand-filling days. “It’s much easier training our employees across the entire network,” Kevin assures us. “We send out all our profile information. We give everyone the settings that we run on our Vape-Jet 3.0, so they can run the same cartridge profiles.”  

With this uniformity in process, training, and filling, Vape-Jet ensures that C3’s quality product isn’t ruined by inferior filling equipment. The C3 cartridge you purchase in Michigan is filled with the same ideal settings as a cartridge in Oregon. In other words, together, we make every vape cartridge count.   

A look at the Vape-Jet 3.0 in action from C3 Industries’ Michigan production facility.

Growing Together  

As we mentioned earlier, C3 has been a huge part of our growth as a company. The same goes for the other side. During our chat, Kevin and Jeremy mentioned several upgrades that played a vital role in their production (like the stand-alone Drop-Tank reservoir heater that optimizes batch changeovers). C3 knows they can depend on us to innovate for the future while meeting the demands of today. Just knowing they can scale their production at any time is a major reason they continue to invest in Vape-Jet.  

“In this facility alone we’ve gone from 1,500-1,600 cartridges a week up to 4,000 a week,” Kevin reflects. “Obviously, we could blow that number out of the water if we went five days and wanted to run it full bore. Not really part of our business model right now, but you know, we have a 70,000 square foot greenhouse coming online this summer, and you can pretty much guarantee that we’re going to scale our operations to account for the increased biomass. We are definitely going to really pump our cartridge numbers towards the tail end of 2022, I can tell you that.” Understanding that their Vape-Jet could fill about 40,000 cartridges per week with a single operator, C3 Industries can look to the future confidently, knowing their filling machine will scale with business needs moving forward. 

Don’t you love happy (blog) endings? Anyway, after a sincere apology for bringing up hand-filling, we had to let Kevin and Jeremy get back to production. Currently, they are filling five days a week to prepare for the 2022 Michigan High Times Cannabis Cup. More evidence that there are always cartridges to fill.  

Learn More About Vape-Jet   

A huge thanks to Jeremy, Kevin, and C3 Industries for their time and for building such a quality business model. Growing with teams like this makes all the hard work worth it, and we look forward to celebrating more wins together in the future.  

If you want to experience the greatness of your own Vape-Jet, all you need to do is drop us a line. 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, and LinkedIn

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Laboratory Uncategorized Vape-Jet

Vape-Jet Know-How: Optimize Your Live Resin Process

As vape cartridge markets mature and consumers develop more discerning tastes, manufacturers are switching from botanical terpene flavored distillate to true-to-strain cannabis-derived terpene, “live resin” formulations. While this might seem like an easy switch, producing live resin is a complex process that demands, like everything cannabis, we follow best practices. 

Who am I to discuss such complexities? Vape-Jet COO Devon Reid, at your service. I am a chemist and engineer with a passion for optimizing workflows and fostering better customer experiences with science.  

With the release of our brand-new Vape-Jet 4.0, making vape cartridge filling easier than ever (and since preparing quality cannabis products is my area of expertise), I’m using this space to guide you through the switch to live resin. If you want to produce some pure, Walter White-esque, cannabis cartridges with your Vape-Jet, you’ve come to the right place. 

Devon Reid on the set of Breaking Bad.
Speaking of Walter White, here’s a shot of Devon on the set of Breaking Bad from Walter’s brother-in-law Hank’s backyard.

Let’s talk chemistry. 

Common Problems When Switching to Live Resin

If a manufacturer already produces traditional extract products in-house—via hydrocarbon (BHO) or rosin extraction—the switch to using these products as a feedstock for live resin or sauce cartridges seems simple. Unfortunately, compared to cartridges filled with pure distillate and isolated terpene blends, preparing live resin extracts for vape cartridge production presents unique challenges.  

Vape-Jet: The most advanced fully-automatic vape cartridge filling machine. Click to learn more.
Why are pure distillate operations easier than live resin formulations? 

When filled with a Vape-Jet, distillate-based formulations are a breeze. Since THC distillate is incredibly pure (typically over 90%), it performs reliably from batch to batch, especially when formulated with known quantities of isolated, botanical terpene blends. Why? Because THC distillate contains few extraction byproducts, making it thermally and chemically stable. 

In short, when we mix distillate with isolated terpenes, there is not much else in the formulation that can change how it behaves under heat and pressure. As a result, the formulation is chemically simple, which is why distillate performs so well during filling.  

Because of chemical simplicity and process predictability, Vape-Jet operators can use as little as 50C of heat and 50 to 60PSI of nitrogen pressure. This is almost half as much heat as other vape cartridge fillers, which cannot operate under pressure. With the ideal filling conditions made possible by a Vape-Jet, cannabinoids and terpenes are preserved from thermal degradation and oxidation, ensuring consistent product quality and filling speed. 

Unlike simple distillate, live resin and rosin extracts are unrefined, containing a complex mixture of extraction byproducts like lipids, phospholipids, chlorophyll, and carotenoids (in addition to cannabinoids and terpenes). These extraction byproducts result in a highly variable mixture depending on batch, strain, growing conditions, and extraction variables—never a good thing for quality control or scaling your production process. 

Why can’t you just decarboxylate the extract and start filling?

First, we’ll start with the basics. Decarboxylation is the process of removing a carboxyl group from the cannabinoid, converting THCa to THC. Removal typically takes place before or during the distillation process during which vacuum conditions efficiently remove the carboxyl group, in the form of CO2, from the oil.  

While it is certainly possible to just decarboxylate bulk extract and fill cartridges, optimal filling parameters will be wildly different because of the variability in batches and strains discussed above. Some cons could be degraded terpenes (burnt taste), degraded cannabinoids (reddish or dark appearance), and reduced filling throughput. In the extreme case, several critical dispensing errors—from pump stalling to bubbly cartridges and lost product—can result. 

Can I decarboxylate bulk, unrefined extract without vacuum pressure

Not a great idea. Without a vacuum, you’ll need a very long stirring and heating process to remove CO2. This usually means a substantial loss of terpenes to evaporation and oxidation, muting the flavor and darkening the color of the vape cartridges.  

Because cannabinoids are degraded and terpenes are lost, increased oil viscosity results in slower fill times. Furthermore, if this “no-vacuum-decarboxylation process” is rushed, CO2 left in the solution will be agitated during the filling process, potentially leaving cartridges riddled with bubbles in the best case and spilling out of the cartridge in the worst case. 

The Solution: Upstream Changes 

The complexity of live resin formulations, especially rosin, makes them less predictable than distillate and isolated terpene formulations. For example, live resin formulations with terpene concentrations over 10% are more susceptible to nitrogen absorption under pressure, potentially resulting in bubbly cartridges. As such, it is crucial to implement some upstream processes to prepare unrefined extracts for filling. Such processes control the formulation constituents and reduce variability, resulting in high-quality cartridges with a premium taste and better customer experiences.   

Implementing Production Changes: Hydrocarbon Workflows

Since hydrocarbon producers usually have all the equipment for traditional wax, shatter, or diamonds-in-sauce extract production, they are well prepared to implement upstream changes. Yet some of our customers who produce hydrocarbon extract might not be familiar with the “liquid diamonds” approach to preparing extracts for vape cartridge filling machines, a multi-step solution with profound benefits. 

Producing Liquid Diamonds
  1. Winterize during extraction to reduce lipids present in the bulk extract. A bit of color remediation media (such as carbon or silica) aids in reducing unwanted compounds in the bulk extract. Processed in this way, THCa crystallizes and separates from the “sauce” (made of terpenes and other compounds). The resulting crystals can be greater than 95% pure (CC: Walter White). 
  2. Separate the crystals from the sauce with gravity or assistance from a centrifuge.  
  3. Decarboxylate and purge the crystals simultaneously under a hard vacuum, yielding a liquid purer than distillate refined with a wiped film apparatus
  4. Preserve terpenes by purging the sauce portion of hydrocarbons with low heat and vacuum. 
  5. Mix the liquid diamonds and sauce in known proportions (perhaps, 90/10 or 95/5). 

A quick note on vacuum purging: as with all vacuum purging processes, when purging hydrocarbons from the separated sauce and decarboxylating isolated diamonds, closely monitor heat and vacuum to prevent foaming and loss of product. 

My suggestion: when decarboxylating the diamonds, start at a lower temperature and vacuum pressure until carbon dioxide begins to bubble. Once you have bubbling, slowly increase the temperature and vacuum pressure; the bubbling will start to subside until it ceases entirely. When purging the sauce, use low vacuum pressure and low temperature until the hydrocarbons are below the testing limit; slow and steady wins this race

What is the filling process like?

When loaded into a Vape-Jet, this formulation behaves much more like a refined distillate and botanical terpene formulation. Why? Because when we separate the sauce and process the diamonds separately, we gain control of terpene content; we reduce batch and strain variability.  

Controlled Process vs Uncontrolled Process

The filling parameters on your Vape-Jet can be milder as well, resulting in a more flavorful and true-to-strain vape cartridge for connoisseur cannabis consumers. The leftover sauce can even be used to flavor more easily sourced cannabis distillates, generating options for a value-oriented SKU targeted toward more budget-conscious consumers.  

Distillate-with-sauce cartridges offer huge flavor improvements over botanically flavored distillate vape cartridges and are cheaper to produce than liquid-diamond-with-sauce vape carts. You can also use the leftover sauce in an MCT or coconut oil mixture to make strain-specific, precision-filled edible capsules with your Vape-Jet. 

Rosin Workflows

Unlike hydrocarbon producers, rosin producers may have to obtain equipment (like a precision-heated vacuum oven and a centrifuge) that is not common to their process. However, despite needing some equipment, rosin manufacturers can absolutely benefit from implementing a similar methodology for filling vape cartridges.  

Are there other differences between hydrocarbon and rosin workflows besides equipment needs?

Since there are no added solvents in rosin (only terpenes), the primary difference is the time needed to crystallize THCa. Due to strain variability, some rosin extracts will crash to crystals faster than others.

Okay, we have our equipment. Now what?

Generally speaking, you should heat bulk rosin under pressure (Rosin Jar Tech) until it begins to liquify and separate. Rather than whipping the extract to a batter-like consistency, process it to obtain larger crystals.  

As rosin producers know, rosin-based extracts contain more lipids than hydrocarbon extracts. This is why a centrifuge is especially useful for separating crystals from the sauce. Once separated, the process is similar to the hydrocarbon extraction we outlined above. To recap: fully decarboxylate THCa crystals under vacuum and mix the sauce into the liquid diamonds in known proportions. Since there are no hydrocarbon solvents in rosin, the sauce does not need to be heated or purged after separation. 

Now, you can start filling with precision and confidence on your Vape-Jet, knowing your customers will receive a reliable, quality product that will satisfy all cannabis connoisseurs.  

Start Filling

Coupled with our Vape-Jet, fully-automatic vape cartridge-filling machine, you can easily fill a variety of high-quality, great-tasting, and highly efficacious cannabis-derived vape cartridges, capsules, Dablicators, and precision-sauce-dosed diamond extracts.  

Sound good? I think so too, so why not contact us and optimize your vape cartridge production with the best filling machine in the game.  

Don’t forget to keep up-to-date by signing up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. While you’re at it, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin for updates, friendship, and cats

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Uncategorized Vape-Jet

Prepare for Launch: Vape-Jet 4.0 Release

Always Innovating

Vape-Jet has never been about watching change happen. In a fast-paced automation space, we’re always looking for ways to revamp our machines and lead the cutting-edge of vape cartridge production. Our mission is simple: build the best possible product by continually optimizing our software and refining our in-house manufacturing process. 

Ever since the release of the first prototype Vape-Jet system in 2019, our team has been in the lab perfecting our process and improving on the best fully-automatic vape cartridge-filling machine on the market. The result of all this work? Introducing the brand new Vape-Jet 4.0

Powered by our advanced MARVIN software, faster user response times, and an upgraded central processing unit (CPU), the Vape-Jet 4.0 will have you filling carts quicker and more efficiently than ever before. Complemented by upgraded hardware designed to increase longevity and meet ever-growing demand, the 4.0 is truly the future of vape cartridge production. 

Let’s initiate the launch countdown: 

  • 3—New Software That Smokes the Competition 
  • 2—Hardware Straight Off the Millenium Falcon 
  • 1—Time Tested Components 

3—New Software That Smokes the Competition

Take command. A world-class machine requires the most powerful software available. 

  • Faster Processes: A new CPU makes the Vape-Jet 4.0 run much faster than before, ensuring swifter machine boot-up, better UI response times, and, most importantly, faster processing across the board. Complemented by the power of the MARVIN platform, users can easily customize and fine-tune their production process to run as smooth as budder
  • Updated Interface: With an ultra-responsive 11.8” touch screen, you can operate your vape cartridge-filling machine without a secondary device (unless you want to). 
  • Instant Support: Access HelpDesk documentation on the spot from your machine’s display. 
  • Keep with the Times: Simply install software updates from your home screen and get back to filling. 

2—Hardware Straight Off the Millenium Falcon 

Reimagine production possibilities. Sleek design meets improved modularity.  

Superior Electronic Components 
  • Quiet operation with increased temperature stability, all driven by the new upgraded CPU.  
  • Additional inputs and sensors for better operation and fault detection. 
  • Built-in thermostats. 
Built to Last 
  • All-metal heat box and powder-coated aluminum external panels by Oregon’s Black Label Metal bring more stability while allowing easier cleanup than the previous HDPE plastic sheeting. 
  • A larger platform accommodates trays and jigs of all sizes so you can fill more vape cartridges in each run
  • An improved vertical axis helps you switch between configurations reliably with stable IGUS motion components.  
  • Thermal fuses and thermostats on every heater meet even the most stringent compliance requirements. 
Dispensing Optimization 
  • A new long-life syringe from MK Fluidics in Nevada with a specialized UHMWPE plunger reduces the need for repairs. 
  • Ceramic on ceramic valve—specifically manufactured for cannabis oil applications by our friends, IVEK, in New Hampshire—allows higher flow rates
Improved Modularity 
  • Two-door access makes it easier to swap reservoirs, change trays, and perform repairs. Quicker component swap-outs = less downtime and better workflow.  
Click to learn more about the Vape-Jet fully-automatic cartridge filling machine.

1—Time-Tested Components 

Built for the future. What makes a Vape-Jet a Vape-Jet? Powerful software and innovative hardware, of course. But it’s also the feeling you get walking into work and knowing that you have the ultimate equipment for the job.  

Born in the USA 
  • Stainless steel reservoir by our pals in Oregon, NB Oler.  
  • Hamilton Company syringe pump from Nevada.  
  • Idaho-based Bridgeview Manufacturing cables and electrical components 
  • TUTCO environmental control PID heaters from South Carolina. 
  • And, of course, all Vape-Jets are built by hand in Portland, Oregon.  
Strict Quality Control 
  • Fully-enclosed operation and filtered air system keeps contaminants out of your vape cartridges. 
  • Fluid path made entirely from fluoropolymers, Viton, Borosilicate glass, stainless steel, and ceramic. 
  • Easy to use clean-in-place procedure.  
Renowned Software Capabilities 
  • Machine vision alignment system with optional center post avoidance. 
  • Customizable user configurations and profiles. 
  • Data reporting and analytics to fine-tune your production. 

And don’t forget that every Vape-Jet product comes with our industry-leading product support

Watch the new Vape-Jet 4.0 launch sequence and dry run.

0—Ignition

See what the multiverse is talking about and join the Vape-Jet revolution!

Contact us and launch your vape cartridge production with the best vape-cartridge filling machine in the game.  

Your Vape-Jet 4.0 is waiting. 

Like the idea of obliterating subpar production standards? So do we. Keep the conversation going by signing up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter to get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. While you’re at it, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin for updates, friendship, and cats

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Innovation > Overhead: Outsourced Sales and Cannabis Startups

Work Smarter, Not Harder with Outsourced Sales  

During the daily scramble that we call “the startup phase” of any business, it is easy to forget what makes your company strong. With so much excitement and enthusiasm going around, your team can become scattered and ineffective, focusing too much on tasks outside of their wheelhouse and too little on their essential roles. So, if you asked me what the most crucial part of this beginning phase is, I’d simply say: allow your team to do what they do best.  

That sounds nice enough, but what about sales? Surely that’s “all-hands-on-deck” territory for a startup. 

Not necessarily. Let me introduce myself, my name is Joshua Maramba, and I’m the Founder of Maramba Consulting. At Maramba Consulting, our philosophy is to help businesses develop a focused revenue growth strategy so they can scale with more consistency and, you guessed it, let their people do what they do best (i.e. manufacture an excellent product). That’s why partnering with Vape-Jet from the beginning has been so effective. Our collaboration allows us to build and sell the best Vape Cartridge Filling Machines on the market. Everyone is happy! 

In a competitive sector like the cannabis industry, you need to streamline your operations to reduce overhead costs; this means putting your people in positions where they will succeed. Therefore, to answer your “all hands on deck” question, my answer is a resounding no. Odds are, your team is not full of expert salespeople, so leveraging outsourced sales expertise is essential to the success of your startup.  

Let’s chat about this idea by breaking it up into two parts: 

  • The Risks of Relying on Internal Sales 
  • The Benefits of Outsourcing Sales 

The Risks of Relying on Internal Sales

Although cannabis companies that rely on their own internal resources can certainly succeed, the question is whether the company will be fast and nimble enough to meet their customers’ needs and stay ahead of their competitors. The total cost of onboarding, benefits, turnover, and software subscriptions alone can be detrimental to your company’s financial wellbeing, decreasing innovation and stifling workflows.

Well, what about hiring external contractors? At first, hiring external contractors as sales representatives seems like a good way of avoiding some of the costs that accompany building an internal sales department. At Vape-Jet, we determined this approach was misguided. After all, managing a group of fractured contractors working on commission can be a bit like herding cats.

Cat meme showing a room full of cats sitting around in chairs and on the floor. Caption reads: WELCOME During today's meeting we will make plans for our next meeting, which starts in one hour.

Another common approach is to give sales responsibilities to employees who are not qualified or experienced. Obviously, this is a risky move. A worst-case scenario could be that, after a few months of poor sales numbers from limited coverage and expertise (not to mention the resultant lack of innovation), businesses are forced to rethink their whole sales operation, postponing revenue generation and investing more money into sales team costs.  

Forget all of that nastiness for a second and take a look at our partnership with Vape-Jet. In outsourcing an expert sales team, Vape-Jet keeps with our mantra (‘let people do what they do best’) by avoiding forcing its employees to wear multiple hats, an all-too-common practice in startup environments. Just imagine the inefficiency of having product engineers juggle reaching out to potential customers while building a new cartridge filling system.  

Your team should never have to choose between helping a customer with technical support or following up with a lead looking for information. Maramba Consulting allows Vape-Jet to scale more efficiently while providing customers with a more responsive and professional experience. Our teams are in the best possible position for success—ready to scale when the need arises, upgrading our software to meet the highest benchmarks on the market, and prepared to send cat memes to brighten your day.

Maramba Consulting banner with a quote from Ryan Hoitt, Developer and Founder of Vape-Jet "With Maramba Consulting I can trust that the right decisions are being made for our sales department, so I can focus my attention on operations." Click to learn more.

The Benefits of Outsourced Sales

As you can see, outsourcing sales help businesses and customers alike. With sales consultants, your company can: 

Save Money 
  • Lower the cost of sales and expand coverage. 
  • Reduce overhead and invest resources in innovation and customer support. Less staffing expenses=happier you. 
Leverage Expertise 
  • Hire the best without an onboarding process. An outsourced sales team can help you reach long-term sales goals with highly skilled sales representatives, enhancing hiring and training to scale quickly if needed. 
  • Optimize sales programs with advanced analytics. Sales leaders can utilize knowledgeable third-party resources, offering best practices and other capabilities from years of experience across multiple industries. 
Provide Efficient Product Support 
  • With more scalable capacity and fewer resources dedicated to sales, customers can get answers from support representatives quickly. It also means the Vape-Jet team can focus our resources on innovative filling solutions that surpass anything else on the market. Better products and support? That’s a win-win for our customers. 

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder sales representatives are the second most in-demand candidates globally across all job functions. In fact, the global outsourcing market has more than doubled in size from 2000 to 2019. 

Need more proof? Check out our 2021 Company Review. Outsourcing an experienced sales team works, and we could all afford to wear fewer hats.  

Keep your Business Agile and Innovative

Scalability, operating lean, and focusing on core competencies are essential for startups working in the cannabis industry. Working with an external sales organization like Maramba Consulting allows Vape-Jet to scale more quickly, reduce overhead, and dedicate internal resources towards building the best customer support team in the industry. 

Learn how you can leverage outsourced sales to accelerate revenue growth and get your company the sales team it needs by booking a meeting with Maramba Consulting

-Joshua Maramba 

Director of Sales at Vape-Jet
Founder of Maramba Consulting

More, Please.

Speaking of solutions and the future of vape cartridge automation, 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 Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates. 

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The Currency of Cat Memes

And Now for Something Completely Different…Cat Memes!

Hi! Brian Kuo here, otherwise known as the CFO of Vape-Jet. I hope you are well. I have blog duties this month, so buckle up.

Brian Kuo hard at work sporting medieval gauntlets.
A normal Monday morning at Vape-Jet.

I have learned through experience that if I am weird enough, people will leave me alone. Unfortunately, in the game of business (in which we all need to participate to eat/pay rent/buy NFTs), human interaction is necessary. We have to call, email, and text in order to get things done. But does it always have to feel so “sales-y”? No. We can have fun. We can enjoy each other.  

To that end, when my team asked me what blog topic we should tackle next, you might (rightfully) assume it would be an accountant-y or finance-y subject. Instead, I chose INTERNET CATS.  

Cat Meme: Masterpost of cats who have a side quest for you.
I haz a side quest for you.

But, why internet cats?

Well, the purpose of this week’s topic is to relieve you from some stress. This is important because, although I find it rather appalling, we often separate humanity from business. The adage, “It’s just business, nothing personal,” is common—it is also total insanity. The two cannot be separated.  

Thus, instead of constantly “marketing” in a way that feels sterile, perfunctory, and unemotional, we should acknowledge that the world is crazy, we are a little crazy, and, therefore, we should enjoy our encounters with one another. It is not just business; it is also personal… and it is also cat memes.  

Cat Meme: If you touch my money I will cut you.
This is me when you try to sell me something.

Communicating with Cat Memes

In my experience, nothing makes people more guarded than constant business inquiries. Communication, especially in business, should reflect our personalities, our unique characteristics through which we build meaningful relationships. For example, quite a few years ago, way before Vape-Jet, I took over the account of a client who was not pleased with our services. After they sent a particularly scathing email, I took a chance, and instead of emailing them something typical and inane, I decided to take a plunge with (you guessed it) a cat meme. Seriously, the email had nothing but a cat meme on it.  

Cat Meme: Damn, it hurts right here in my meow meow.
It was something like this.

The client’s response was, “hahahahaha who the hell sent this? This is hilarious!” I replied with a sincere apology for their bad experience, letting them know I was taking over and that things would be better from there on out. We ended up having a fantastic relationship. When I failed to send internet cat memes, they demanded them. When we met face-to-face, we didn’t even talk shop—just cats and life. It was less about business and more about simply enjoying the process.  

Since humans learn from positive feedback loops, I started incorporating cat memes into everyday life. The odd part: they kept working. Soon, I was doing everything via cat meme, and it was incredibly rewarding. Booking a hotel? Cat meme. Responding to a missed text? Cat meme. Oddly, cat memes often elicit free things, such as upgrades in travel and random gifts—all due to the love of our furry companions. 

Indeed, a person’s response to cat memes can be a great indicator of what the future holds. True story: I can’t locate the email, but one time a leader of an organization emailed me back (after a cat meme, of course) and said, “Honestly, I’m more of a dog person…sorry.” Their co-founders emailed me to apologize and mentioned they were stressed. Later on, these co-founders were fired. Coincidence? I think not! Judge not the cat, lest ye be judged! I think that’s a saying. 

Some Questions to Consider

Of course, reading this post (henceforth known as ‘Brian’s Internet Thesis of Navigating Business and Life through Cats’), likely elicits corollary questions from you, dear reader, such as:  

  • Does it have to be cats?  
  • Does it ever backfire?  
  • Do you ever refrain from doing this?  
  • What is wrong with you?  

It does not have to be cats (although I am a fierce advocate for our fuzzy, meowy friends). Remember that we are all people trying to enjoy our short time on this insane blue ball flying around the galaxy. Instead of just trying to shift someone else’s money from their pocket to yours, why not laugh more? In other words, send the meme that suits you at the time—be spontaneous

I saw an ad on how to grill sunflowers, and it made me think of a post I saw on how sunflowers face each other when the sun isn't out...so I combined the two, and made this nightmarish scene.
Here is a non-cat meme I amalgamated that is now seared into your mind forever—you’re welcome.

Does it ever backfire? Unfortunately, it does on occasion. However, if you want to weed out people you don’t want to work with, it’s helpful to find out if they have a sense of humor. If not, perhaps it’s best to refer them to your nearest competitor. 

Do you ever refrain from doing this? I do refrain from cat memes at times. It’s not a good idea on many occasions, but I’ll let you judge for yourself. Trial and error are a part of life. But really, if someone does not want to do business with you just because you sent them a meme, I’d recommend avoiding them anyway.  

Now, if, after reading this, you find yourself asking, “What is wrong with Brian?” Rest assured, you are not alone. These matters constitute an expansive topic that could fill several textbooks. In fact, I invite the reader to speculate on the many things that may be wrong with me. One day, we might go over those speculations. 

So, to conclude… well, come to think of it, there isn’t really a conclusion, but the Vape-Jet team, and I hope you laughed. If you have a question about our company and how we can help, hit us up! In the meantime, contemplate the mysteries of cats, enjoy life, and appreciate interacting with fellow people. Onward and upward! 

Sincerely,  
Brian Kuo  

Cat Meme: It's dangerous to go alone! Take this.
Cat meme experience +1! You have gained a level!

Brian Rates Cat Memes

Bonus! Moar cat memes below! 

Cat Meme: Ceiling Cat
An ultra-viral cat meme. Ceiling cat watches us all participate in capitalism.
Brian exchanging cat memes with a wrong number.
Me texting with a wrong number.
Brian exchanging cat memes with his dentist.
Me texting my dentist.
Tybalt patiently sitting and watching Rick and Morty.
Brian’s actual cat, named Sir Tybalt Ham: The Prince of Cats, who he taught how to watch Rick and Morty.

A Look Behind the Scenes

See What Weirdness We Get up to Next

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Software Uncategorized Vape-Jet

Vape-Jet 3.0 Software Upgrade Details

Get Ready for MARVIN 

From the beginning, we set out to build the Vape-Jet 3.0, fully-automatic vape cartridge-filling machine to change the game—this meant not only designing the most innovative hardware but also programming our software to set the highest production benchmarks on the market.  

In 2022, we’ve decided to take things up a notch. Say “hello” to our brand-new software platform, MARVIN. 

Boasting increases in daily output of up to 30%, get ready for a faster, better, and smarter Vape-Jet 3.0.

Vape-Jet 3.0 MARVIN Software Interface

With MARVIN, vape cartridge production has never been easier, faster, or more powerful. 

Faster Processes 

MARVIN optimizes the Vape-Jet’s fully-automatic processes to run even smoother while giving users more customization options.  

Enhanced Cartridge Identification

Maintaining the precision and accuracy of the Vape-Jet 3.0’s onboard machine vision camera, MARVIN software upgrades reduce the time between cartridge alignment and filling by more than half, meaning you can now fill a tray of 100 1g cartridges in as little as 4 minutes. (Watch the video below as the Vape-Jet 3.0 fills 50 1g cartridges in less than 2 minutes!)

Configurable Camera Exposure

MARVIN enables users to manually adjust the machine vision exposure level, eliminating auto exposure errors and reducing cartridge alignment time.  

Custom Cleaning and Drying Cycles

Simplify your cleaning processes and reduce the need for additional user input by setting custom cleaning specifications. 

Better Vape-Jet Operation 

How can we increase daily output while simplifying system operations? It all comes down to the fundamentals.  

Dispense Logic Optimization

MARVIN reduces the number of valve and pump movements during the filling process, increasing daily output up to 30% by pulling more product into the syringe and distributing it sequentially before needing to recharge the pump.  

Redesigned User Interface

Automated Vape Cartridge-Filling Systems can appear intimidating, but not so with this new software. In fact, we’ve overhauled the entire user interface, moving extraneous elements to the advanced panel so you can focus on the essentials.  

Vape-Jet 3.0 Advanced Settings

Upgraded Interactive SOPs (standard operating procedures)

With this software upgrade, we’ve updated all Vape-Jet SOPs with supporting visuals to guide users through decision-making processes and emphasize consistent usage while shortening employee training times.

Vape-Jet 3.0 Interactive SOPs

Smarter Settings and Support 

From predicting maintenance needs to error support, Vape-Jet software has your back. 

Improved Error Handling

When encountering errors, MARVIN automatically initializes and resets the Vape-Jet 3.0 pump system, reducing clogging from fluids left to cool. Furthermore, the new software links directly to product support documentation, allowing users to easily submit a HelpDesk support ticket. 

Dry Run Mode

Don’t worry about switching between separate profiles for testing and production. With the brand-new Dry Run Mode, users can now simulate fills without dispensing any oil, reducing errors and product loss.  

Global Settings

With MARVIN, we’ve simplified machine setup and calibration by moving useful settings from individual configurations to machine-wide profiles, cutting down on training time and human error. 

Improved Management

Our unrivaled product support just got better. With new Vape-Jet software, your machine is fully integrated with our support and maintenance systems, allowing us to provide more effective product support, predictive maintenance, and reduce machine downtime. 

Get Ready for MARVIN in February 2022 

At Vape-Jet, we build our machines to grow with you. Whether you already have a Vape-Jet or are looking for a machine, MARVIN will be available to all Vape-Jet 3.0 users starting in February 2022 with no hardware upgrades or machine modifications needed. 

For active 3.0 users, our support team will reach out to schedule the software upgrade at your convenience. 

Interested in early access to the MARVIN platform beta? Contact our support team to enroll.

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 Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates. 

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Vape-Jet 2021 Company Review

New Year, New Goals 

As we ring in the new year with our friends and families, we wanted to look back at our achievements last year and look forward to some hopes for Vape-Jet in 2022. After all, what’s a new year without new resolutions?  

We recognize that 2021 had its share of… difficult moments. But in those difficult moments (often, despite them), we managed to grow together. Last year, our company experienced some unprecedented successes. We want to share some of these achievements, not to gloat or become passive in our mission, but to emphasize the decisions that got us here and the people who make us who we are. Who knows, maybe we’ll even reveal something coming for 2022.  

Letter from Vape-Jet CEO Ryan Hoitt 

I am proud to report that 2021 was another excellent year for the Vape-Jet team. Despite a global pandemic, fire storms, ice storms, a heat dome, and ships blocking the Suez, we have continued to innovate and improve by releasing new products, streamlining our operations, increasing our market share, and demonstrating what world-class product support looks like.    

To start 2021 off strong, we released the Jet-Fueler 2.0 Semi-Automatic Vape Cartridge-Filling Machine. Representing a complete overhaul of electronics, software, and structural components from the previous model, the Jet-Fueler 2.0 forced us to reevaluate and expand our manufacturing methods and materials.

Learn More about Jet Fueler

These manufacturing improvements complemented incremental upgrades to the Vape-Jet 3.0 Fully-Automatic Vape Cartridge-Filling Machine made throughout the year. 

By mid-year, the team was forging ahead, working with customers who wanted an end-to-end cartridge filling and capping solution that boasted the same quality and industry-leading customer support as our other solutions. Even though global logistics nearly came to a halt in the middle of production, we brought our new Squish-o-Matic 1000 vape cartridge-capping machine to market. 

Learn More about Squish-o-Matic 1000

Of course, Vape-Jet is not just a hardware company. Our dedication to clean code, behavior-driven development, agile methodologies, and microservice architecture shows that we are nothing without the incredible software which drives our powerful vape cartridge-filling machines. One example of our ongoing efforts to improve our software over the last year included reducing the time between customer feature requests and software implementation to mere days. Following this improvement, we applied wizard-based, interactive SOPs (standard operating procedures) to our automated filling systems and overhauled the GUI (graphical user interface) on both the Jet-Fueler and Vape-Jet. You can find these step-by-step SOPs in all our recent updates. 

As we look forward to 2022, we might reflect on the lessons 2021 taught us. Just as ‘no person is an island entire of itself,’ the past year showed us that manufacturing infrastructure and the global supply chain are fragile. While our company was affected like everyone else, the pain would have been worse had we not insisted on strong U.S.-based manufacturing partnerships and found ways to improve (and maintain) safe production standards. I believe our success in 2021 is a testament to our team’s vision, execution, and ability to thrive during uncertain times. 

We are looking forward to a bright and prosperous 2022 with all our friends within the industry and without.

Cheers to you and yours, 

Ryan Hoitt, CEO 

2021 Financial Growth with Vape-Jet CFO Brian Kuo 

When we founded Vape-Jet, we knew we wanted to grow organically and buck the trend of institutional backing. Having identified a lack of innovation in a space that had grown stale with retrofits and dated equipment, our mission has been to grow alongside our customers, assembling a diverse team, making heavy investments in R&D, and emphasizing local manufacturing, assembly, and support. 

Entering 2022, I am pleased to report that we are succeeding in our mission. The quality of our products has instilled new life into vape cartridge production, and our team has grown bigger and stronger.  

Therefore, as we raise our glasses to a new year, I want to take a moment and reflect on some of our accomplishments: 

  • In 2021, our YOY (year-over-year) revenue grew by more than 200%*  
  • We were profitable and cash flow positive in both 2020 and 2021, with an approximate 350% growth in profitability YOY in 2021* 
  • We have simultaneously increased our total assets by more than 240% while decreasing liabilities by ~19%* 
  • We gave our team a profit share bonus, matching retirement plan, and full health benefits  
  • We added a new dedicated product support technician and developed in-depth HelpDesk documentation (with video documentation to follow in 2022) 
In 2021 Vape Jet year-over-year revenue grew by more than 200%
In 2021 Vape-Jet had an approximate 350% growth in profitability

What has this success taught us? For one, we will continue innovating and adding value for our clients in the year ahead by reinvesting our profits into R&D. We will also continue investing in our people, growing our team, and expanding our operation organically. In short, we will use our exceptional results from 2021 as motivation to better serve our customers. 

So, although I hope for more global stability in 2022, I can’t wait to see how much value we can create in this promising new year! 

Brian Kuo, CFO 

*Financial data for illustration purposes only, not to be relied on for investments and not for assurance purposes. 

Operations Growth in 2021 

As Brian noted, we’ve welcomed many new faces to the Vape-Jet crew this past year. In fact, we’ve increased our number of full-time employees by 250%. By adding manufacturing and support technicians—not to mention a new engineer—we’ve effectively doubled our sales capacity while also doubling our software development team. With all this “doubling” going on, we decided to increase our manufacturing capabilities too, expanding into two new facilities and adding over 3,400 square feet of production floor space. To make better use of these new spaces and faces, we also increased our inventory buffers by triple in key areas. With this operational capacity and inventory surplus, we are well-positioned in 2022 and beyond. 

Vape-Jet increased our number of full-time employees by 250% in 2021.

2022 Vape-Jet Growth Goals 

In the spirit of the new year, here are our “Big 3” resolutions: 

  • Maintain 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. 
  • Stick to our innovative roots with continued software and hardware improvements. 
  • Scale with our customers by adding operational capacity and maintaining inventory buffers

But what about product releases or upgrades? At Vape-Jet, we don’t like to talk about new stuff until it’s ready, but it’s an exciting new year (and we like to keep the energy up), so stay tuned for a major announcement in the weeks ahead. Can’t wait that long? Well, get ready for a software upgrade that will greatly increase the speed of all existing machines in the Vape-Jet fleet.

More details to come, but for now, enjoy this sneak peek: 

To the future, 

The Vape-Jet Crew

Get Ready

You won’t want to be out of the loop for this one, so sign up for our monthly Re:Fill newsletter and get early access to company updates, product releases, and other exciting announcements. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for real-time updates. 

Categories
Automation Uncategorized

Is Vape Cartridge Filling Automation Worth It? Part Two

Investment Analysis

Investing in Automation: A Technical Perspective 

Businesses understand the importance of sustainable growth, but allocating investment capital can be a difficult process. At Vape-Jet, we believe in approaching these decisions from every angle with the best possible information.  

In our previous article, “Investment Analysis: Is Vape Cartridge Filling Automation Worth It? (Part One)” Director of Sales Josh Maramba and CFO Brian Kuo outlined several key marketing and financial questions to consider during automation investment analysis. Although these questions are vital to new process considerations, they are only one part of your assessment.  

With the help of COO Devon Reid and CEO Ryan Hoitt, this article expands on the technical considerations of your investment, showing how Vape-Jet’s technology reduces bottlenecks and labor costs while allowing you to reallocate resources and establish long-term security.  

Chemistry and Workflow Considerations with Devon Reid

Although the mere mention of chemistry might give some business owners a migraine, resident chemist, engineer, and COO Devon Reid is here to simplify the implications of chemistry and workflow for growing businesses.  

According to Devon, when manufacturing cannabis products, bottlenecks begin at the point of extraction and compound through the process to obtain finished goods.

Unrefined vs Refined Workflow Comparison
Unrefined vs Refined Workflow Comparison

“[The] quality of finished goods flows from upstream processes,” Devon says. While unrefined products are less capital intensive, refined products “yield a more consistent end-product.”  

“If formulation, filling, and packaging bottlenecks are roughly analogous for both workflows,” Devon says, “the major exception lies in the filling of unrefined products.” Filling with a refined product is more consistent because “extraction impurities are removed, and formulation with pure terpenes is precise.” On the other hand, “unrefined products are susceptible to bubbling upon filling, due to impurities and uncontrolled percentages of terpenes.”  

As a result, refined distillate fills faster than unrefined product, while “unrefined workflows generally require more time to produce a product that can be filled.” For example, unrefined products like rosin are labor-intensive to extract, time-intensive to prepare for filling, and slower to fill.   

Unrefined Workflow Labor and Equipment Cost Comparison
Unrefined Workflow Labor and Equipment Cost Comparison
Refined Workflow Labor and Equipment Cost Comparison
Refined Workflow Labor and Equipment Cost Comparison

The solution demands a machine that can react to these highly variable products and workflows. Lucky for us, Devon has spent 10 years developing high-tech automated equipment to eliminate such bottlenecks. He affirms that “automation at any step of either workflow will alleviate bottlenecks and result in a more consistent product.”

Even though unrefined and refined workflows vary from place to place, Vape-Jet’s vape cartridge filling automation technology increases efficiency while decreasing variability, representing a reduction in bottlenecks across the board. With Vape-Jet equipment that you can “set-and-forget,” you can even reallocate labor to other tasks, boosting productivity without increasing labor costs.  

Technical Considerations with Ryan Hoitt

When it comes to investments in new technology, CEO and developer Ryan Hoitt identifies three critical factors to consider: the hidden costs of automation, data collection and compliance, and the rigidity of new machines. 

Reducing the Hidden Costs of Automation

The first hidden cost of automation lies in the training process. The cost of training personnel on complex mechanical automation machines can be high. However, Vape-Jet overcomes this hidden cost “by building the operating procedure into the user interface,” Ryan explains, “users always have the most up-to-date reference information available immediately, lessening the need for extensive training.”  

Secondly, machine adjustments and worker changes lead to slowdowns in the production process. With most machines, Ryan notes, moving between SKUs can be costly and require operator institutional—or legacy—knowledge. If that employee leaves, the company is at risk of losing that knowledge. “With Vape-Jet’s saved profiles, changing between active configurations only takes a few clicks and requires no physical machine interventions.”  

Finally, a prevalent but often ignored cost of automation is equipment maintenance. What happens when something goes wrong with your machine? Can you rely on vendor support? Will getting replacement parts add downtime and negatively affect your production output? “At Vape-Jet, we offer dedicated industry-leading product support with same-day response times and overnight shipping as standard in our support contracts.”

Data Compliance and Collection

With industry compliance needs constantly changing, it is essential to manufacture your products with compliant hardware. Powered by data reporting software, safe fluid paths, and clean-in-place procedures, Vape-Jet exceeds industry standards giving you peace of mind in the face of compliance changes.  

Because manual data collection is “costly and unreliable,” Ryan highlights the importance of computerized data systems. The software in our Vape-Jet collects data from “automated points of inspection, then feeds that data to external systems, with labor cost reductions and increased accuracy.” With this cutting-edge software, you can integrate our automation equipment with your ERP system.  

Machine Rigidity 

Ryan encourages companies to distinguish between flexible and rigid automation. “Heavy investment into single-purpose machines which require extensive adjustments or retrofits to work with evolving product lines can trap you into a cycle of non-innovation.” Instead, flexible machines with remotely updatable software “will always win against rigid designs especially as SKUs and consumer needs evolve.”  

In short, Ryan summarizes, “in a world of rapid technological change, highly specialized automation just doesn’t make sense.” Rather than curtailing innovation and making your business less agile with rigid automation technology, isn’t it better to invest in a machine that can update itself?   

Invest in the Future of Vape Cartridge Filling Automation

With any automation technology comes new opportunities for reducing operating and labor costs, but Vape-Jet machines aren’t just any automation technology. We believe that filling a vape cartridge ought to be as dependable and intuitive as possible.   

With state-of-the-art hardware, unparalleled customer service, and innovative software, our equipment stands alone. Our flexible fully-automatic and semi-automatic machines are designed to complement any workflow and bolster your business for the future.  

Fill smarter than your competitors by investing in high-quality automated equipment from the start. Reach out to our team for a consultation to see if our automation solutions are the right fit for your new production facility or process.