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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. 

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

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Vape-Jet

Terrapin Care Station: Customer Feature

A Look at Vape-Jet From Terrapin’s Perspective

In our blog, we’ve talked a lot about the Vape-Jet difference; that is, the difference our products make by liberating your production processes from rigid technology constraints and scaling with the success of your business. Whether it’s lower operating costs, freeing up your production workflow, or leveraging the intelligence of Vape-Jet software, our machines are revolutionizing vape cartridge production, and we’ve got the numbers to back it up.  

But this is only part of the story. To fill in some important context, we need to change our perspective a bit. Because we always maintain close contact with our customers, we reached out to get the inside scoop on our equipment in action. After all, the cannabis industry is at its best when we empower each other to continue improving, meet ever-changing customer needs, and celebrate our wins together.   

If we are discussing high-quality cannabis products and building consumer-focused solutions, we have to talk about Terrapin Care Station. Founded in 2009 in Boulder, Colorado, Terrapin has expanded its operations to include Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Michigan. As a cannabis cultivator, processor, and retail provider, you can bet that competitive pricing and strict quality control are paramount to Terrapin’s success—and they have had a lot of success.   

For 13 years, Terrapin has served as a pioneer and leader in the cannabis industry. Prioritizing community engagement—especially around equity and sustainability. Terrapin leads workshops, expungement fairs, and even provides scholarships for cannabis vocational training. In short, Terrapin demonstrates the power of our industry to enact positive social change by investing in the communities they serve and advancing political advocacy and justice initiatives for the people. 

Terrapin Care Station: Cannabis Grown with a Local Mindset. Click to learn more.

Since they field three Vape-Jet fully-automatic filling machines and one Jet Fueler semi-automatic vape cartridge-filling machine, we decided to check in with our friends at Terrapin to see how our products have affected their operation. If we were going to talk to anyone, though, we had to speak with the team member they call the Vape-Jet Guru.

“Four Minutes for Fifty 1g Carts? No Problem.” 

How it Started vs. How It’s Going 

Who is this Vape-Jet Guru? Say “hello” to Terrapin’s Filling Line Lead and in-house master of our fully-automatic vape cartridge-filling machine, Kimberly Long. Working out of Terrapin’s Pennsylvania location, Kimberly has used our machines since 2020 after switching from a competitor’s semi-automatic filler, and things couldn’t be going better. According to Kimberly, before the switch, two operators could only fill approximately 2,500 cartridges during an eight-hour shift. Now, with one operator on our Vape-Jet, she says, we can fill 5,000-6,000 cartridges in eight hours. If the new second shift can match first shift’s pace, “we should be filling about 10,000 [cartridges] a day.” To date, they’ve filled over 600,000

That’s a lot of carts! So many, in fact, that Terrapin once maxed out the data storage capacity of one of their machines—a Vape-Jet first! One operator, more cartridges, better quality control, pushing vape cartridge filling to the limit… that’s a beautiful thing.  

The Vape-Jet Difference 

With Vape-Jet, Terrapin doubled their daily output with half the labor and half the labor cost of their previous machine. “I don’t need two people dedicated to one thing when I can have one person dedicated to it,” Kimberly says. As our COO Devon Reid mentioned in our blog, “Is Vape Cartridge Filling Automation Worth It?”, freeing up labor and eliminating bottlenecks is what Vape-Jet equipment does best, allowing users to reallocate resources to where they are needed most.   

With their Vape-Jet machines reaching average fill speeds of three and a half minutes for 50 0.5g cartridges (and four minutes for 50 1g cartridges), Terrapin has not only reduced labor costs but, through increased efficiency and filling accuracy, filled a much higher quota than before.

Machine Features 

The Vape-Jet Guru highlighted several features of the Vape-Jet that allow it to thrive in Terrapin’s fast-paced environment while maintaining high quality control standards.

Superior Accuracy 

For quality control, Terrapin operators weigh every one hundred cartridges to ensure accurate fill weights and have found the Vape-Jet to be incredibly accurate. Just yesterday, Kimberly mentioned, they only lost ten cartridges out of five thousand total, only four of which were because of fill weight (the other six due to cartridge hardware defects). 

Three Independent Heat Zones   

While their previous machine only heated at one point—causing filling nightmares from letting distillate sit in an unheated fluid path—the Vape-Jet’s chamber, needle, and reservoir are all independently heated. The filling process is much smoother now, Kimberly assured us.

Product Support  

Terrapin operators can go about their day confidently, knowing that our industry-leading product support team has their back. Our Guru has completed self-repairs on the Vape-Jet with the support of our team and used the Vape-Jet HelpDesk to self-educate. “[Your team] has been a great help!” Kimberly says, “You guys are very responsive and get parts overnighted. I come in and fix [the Vape-Jet], and we get things going.”

Data Reporting

Our CEO Ryan Hoitt identified data compliance and collection as one of the key hidden costs of automation. “With industry compliance needs constantly changing,” he says, “it is essential to manufacture your products with compliant hardware.”

Additionally, Kimberly mentions that using the data reporting feature allows her to review the performance of other operators and fine-tune output for maximum capacity. “When the other operator goes to lunch, I’ll jump in and run it,” Kimberly says, “I checked [the Vape-Jet] and sped up the dispensing charge a little bit. I had looked previously, and it was at four minutes 20-something seconds, so I ran a few carts and got her down to four minutes twelve seconds per tray.”

Of course, ten seconds might not seem like much until you consider how many trays Terrapin fills a day—that’s a whole lot of labor!

Tips from Terrapin’s Vape-Jet Guru 

We had to ask whether someone with the nickname “Vape-Jet Guru” had any Vape-Jet tips to pass along. Here are a couple of things Kimberly mentioned:   

  • Customize your filling speed and heat based on distillate properties (e.g. viscosity) to fine-tune and maximize output. You can also work more efficiently by saving configurations and profiles.  
  • Keeping your machine vision lens clean makes a noticeable difference in cart analysis time and overall fill time, especially if you’re constantly running your Vape-Jet like Terrapin does!

Learn More About Vape-Jet  

We want to thank the Terrapin team —and especially the Vape-Jet Guru, Kimberly Long—for not only taking the time to give us an inside peek at their operation but for prioritizing high vape cartridge production standards and for making a positive impact in the cannabis industry and their local communities. We couldn’t be prouder to see our equipment in such capable hands and look forward to watching Terrapin continue to thrive.  

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