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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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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

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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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Uncategorized

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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Categories
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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Uncategorized

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.

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. 

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. 

Categories
Automation Uncategorized

Is Vape Cartridge Filling Automation Worth It? Part One

Investment Analysis

Let’s face it: automation can be intimidating. Representing a movement away from established procedures to something new, the shift to automated machines can be empowering and frightening at the same time. The reality is, whether you are ramping up production or building a brand-new facility, automation technology accelerates the growth of your vape cartridge filling production by standardizing processes, reducing variability, and scaling to meet market demand.  

Although investing in a new piece of equipment can seem daunting, it is important to ask the same questions you would about any other investment: What is my potential return on this investment? How does this equipment increase my workflow efficiency? Does this technology prepare my company for the future?  

At Vape-Jet, we’ve built our products in response to these questions.  

By working through investment considerations with two senior members of our team, we’d like to share how Vape-Jet machines can not only strengthen your business today, but inspire an ambitious and promising future for your company. 

Sales and Marketing Considerations with Josh Maramba

When it comes to quality assurance, what is the cost of short-term thinking? Director of Sales, Josh Maramba, says that some companies, especially early on, overlook the importance of consistency and scaling.  

“During the early stages of their business, some customers are confident that their operators could fill cartridges fast enough by hand and question whether an automated system would make sense.” 

“Even if they matched the filling speed of an automated system,” Josh says, “they would still need to contend with a significantly higher error rate.”  

Ultimately, there is much at stake when implementing a manual filling process. Underfilling leads to bad customer experiences and overfilling means wasted product. By upgrading to an automated system and standardizing processes early, businesses can foster better customer experiences and reduce product loss.  

Purchasing a lower-end automatic filling system is another common short-term oversight Josh stresses. “Sadly, many of our customers come to us only after purchasing a lower quality system and having a terrible experience with inconsistent filling and extremely poor technical support.” 

Josh has heard countless stories from customers detailing how the inconsistency of their old filling systems required them to refill cartridges by hand. “Even though purchasing a lower quality system may save some short-term money,” Josh says, “it often leads to costly problems.”  

With the Vape-Jet, we’ve reduced fill variability to ±0.25%, far outpacing our closest competitor’s ±2.5%, not to mention the inconsistency of hand-filling. Investing in a high-quality automatic system enables you to accommodate for both the short-term and the long-term. Vape-Jet semi- and fully-automatic filling systems have the lowest operating cost of any system, allowing for more flexible and leaner manufacturing operations; you’ll be spared from costly headaches, and able to scale your business while maintaining a dedicated customer base. 

Repeatability Cost comparison of Vape-Jet (0.25%) vs competitors (2.5%)
Repeatability Cost Comparison of Vape-Jet (0.25%) and Closest Competitor (2.5%)
Operating Cost comparison per cartridge of hand fill, jig-load and Vape-Jet
Operating Cost Comparison Per Cartridge of Hand Fill, Jig-Load and Vape-Jet

Financial Considerations with Brian Kuo

With over 15 years of experience in finance, CFO Brian Kuo understands that financial decisions regarding automation can be overwhelming. “Any large capital expenditure can be intimidating, and when a company is investing in filling automation, the financial decision-makers need to spend adequate time analyzing their options.”  

Stressing the significance of this investment analysis period, Brian suggests asking several questions: 

  • What is the return on investment of using human labor vs. automation?  
  • Is full automation necessary, or are we still in a phase where semi-automatic solutions are sufficient? Are there pathways to scale up with semi- and fully-automatic solutions?  
  • What are the risks of a stop in production? Does an automated vape cartridge filling machine attenuate that risk?  
  • How valuable is obtaining data on our operation? Can we reasonably collect data using human labor?  
  • Are there health risks with using only human labor that can be quantified (such as injury/insurance)? What are the safety risks and potential costs with an automated machine?  
  • How valuable is having outside resources and customer service to assist with our automation? How much would it cost us if we tried to contract with engineers to do it on our own?  

As Brian notes, there are numerous considerations when it comes to automation. Yet, with each question comes the opportunity to streamline processes, improve reliability, and increase the scale of your production.  

For an in-depth look at the unit economics and differences between manual and automatic vape cartridge filling, check out our blog post “Why are There so Many People“.

Vape Cartridge Filling Automation: An Investment Worth Making

So, to automate or not to automate? The decision comes down to where you see your business in the future. Delaying investment in vape cartridge filling automation may seem like a prudent financial decision in the short term, but the long-term costs of waiting can negatively impact several aspects of your business. 

But this is only half the story. In part two of our investment analysis series COO Devon Reid and CEO Ryan Hoitt explain how workflow bottlenecks, data collection, and machine rigidity are critical considerations for your investment analysis. 

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. 

Categories
Events Uncategorized

MJBizCon 2021: Vape-Jet Has Entered the Game

Two years ago our exec team showed up to MJBizCon 2019 in our signature hoodies with brochures in their pockets and high hopes. They networked while walking the expo floor and met with potential partners and customers offsite to establish working relationships and promote the only machine we had in production at that time; the Vape-Jet 2.0 fully-automatic filling machine.


Fast forward two years through a vaping crisis and a global pandemic to MJBizCon 2021. This year our team arrived on the expo floor with a dedicated booth, a new semi-automatic filling machine (Jet Fueler 2.0), an upgraded fully-automatic filling machine (Vape-Jet 3.0), a brand new automatic capping machine (Squish-o-Matic 1000), and our same signature hoodies. (Plus a few gold doge coins in our pockets.)

Vape-Jet Exec Team 2019 and 2021: Brian Kuo – CFO, Ryan Hoitt – CEO, Devon Reid – COO
Standard Currency at Vape-Jet

This year our crew was able to connect with hundreds of attendees looking for affordable automation solutions in the face of a nationwide labor shortage, economic inflation, and supply chain disruptions. Those we spoke to were looking for solutions to their production challenges that provided low labor costs, increased workflow efficiency, and allowed them to adapt to different cartridge types as the availability of their usual hardware has become less reliable in recent months. At Vape-Jet we pride ourselves on our ability to innovate, adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers. All traits that have become increasingly important during a period where “unprecedented times” have become the norm.

Devon Reid Talking Through the Benefits of the Machine Vision Feature of the Vape-Jet Fully-Automatic Filling Machine
Vape-Jet Booth and a Visit from Nate with N.B.Oler

As we’ve grown as a company, we’ve expanded our network of partners.

Amongst these are brands like Arcane Aromatics, a new-to-market supplier offering botanical terpene blends, hemp botanical extracts, and hemp + botanical terpene blends available at prices you won’t find elsewhere. If you visited our booth at the convention, you likely would have picked up on the scent of Arcane’s samples before you even saw our team as these aromatic creations were impossible to miss. Visit ArcaneAromatics.com to learn more about their pre-launch catalog and get early access to their product line. (Pro Tip: Arcane offers partner pricing for current and new Vape-Jet customers for orders of 60mL through 1L.)

Grant of Arcane Aromatics Discussing Their Pre-Launch Catalog
A Peek at Arcane Aromatics’ Botanical Terpene Blends

Also on display at MJBizCon were products from Advanced Vapor Devices (AVD) who produce a variety of the highest quality vape hardware. All AVD products work seamlessly with the Vape-Jet and Jet Fueler filling machines, as well as the Squish-o-Matic 1000 capping machine. For oil brands and processors AVD offers a test hardware kit that includes cartridges, disposables and batteries at no cost. Learn more at AVD710.com.

Vape-Jet 3.0 Demoing Dry Runs with AVD Cartridges
The AVD Social Media Team Stopped by for a Quick Interview with CEO Ryan Hoitt

Another excellent hardware manufacturing partner present on the expo floor was the team at BeGreen Supply. They offer custom engineered and branded cannabis hardware and packaging solutions that can be filled with our automatic filling machines. BeGreen shares the Vape-Jet perspective that your brand “deserves the ability to react to shifts in market and customer demand” and offer custom branded hardware in 30 days or less allowing production to stay agile and flexible. Learn more at BeGreenSupply.com

The Jet Fueler 2.0 and a Variety of Compatible Cartridges Including BeGreen Supply

In addition to our partners in manufacturing and suppliers our team met with several current customers who had great feedback on their experience with our products. Recently our customer Alex of Dime Industries (CA) told us “The Jet Fueler speaks for itself. There’s not another machine on the market that will last a million fills with no maintenance.”

The Jet Fueler 2.0 Demo Unit on Display
A Variety of Compatible Cartridges by AVD, Ilo and More

If you stopped by our booth during the show you may have met another one of our customers, James of Natural Roots Extracts (OR) who remains one of our most loyal customers having used every variation of our machines from Vape-Jet 1.0 and Jet Fueler 1.0 up to our latest iterations. He was also one of the original test users of our new automatic capping machine and is credited with coming up with the official name, Squish-o-Matic 1000. James recently said “The Vape-Jet 3.0 has really blown my mind. The improvement to our workflow has been literally life-changing.” We’re glad he was able to attend the show and share his experience and expertise with anyone interested in our filling and capping solutions.

James of Natural Roots Extracts Discussing Cartridge Styles
James’ Vape-Jet 3.0 Unit Performing Dry Runs During the Show

All in all MJBizCon 2021 was a major success for the Vape-Jet team and a clear reflection of how far we have grown since hitting the expo floor in 2019. Thank you to everyone on the team who made this show possible. We’ll see you all again in 2022!

The Vape-Jet Booth
Brian Kuo – CFO, Ryan Hoitt – CEO, Sawyer Sheppard – Sales Rep
Two Legends Meet: Tommy Chong and Brian Kuo
Squish-o-Matic 1000 on Display
Until next year!