Off-gassing hood facilities are among the newer product lines and services HAL Extraction is now consistently offering to customers looking for safer plant oil extraction processes in the cannabis industry.
The Colorado-based company, founded only in April 2016, is consistently developing its product lines and product modifications which, as well as the off-gassing offering, also include approved glass panels for the original Extractor Booth products, improved fan systems, booth height extension abilities, and specifications, and dual-sensor control abilities.
What drives the company in all its product upgrades is the same motivation founder and CEO, Linn Havelick, had when first launching the original product lines – vastly improved and compliant solutions to significantly reduce the risks of catastrophic fires and explosions caused by the use of flammable materials such as butane and propane in extracting oils from the cannabis plant.
“I started HAL Extraction to keep people from blowing themselves up,” he succinctly says.
The off-gassing units, which can fit with all Extraction Booth models and retail at approximately $20,000, come into play when spent plant material still wet with solvent from the Extraction Booth process continues to be able to slowly release such solvents.
“The Extraction Booth systems work very well to capture and remove those airborne flammable solvents,” Havelick stressed. “However, the spent plant material was piling up invaluable workspace within the booth while waiting to dry – or degas.”
So, as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) with years of experience in process chemistry, laboratory, and hazardous materials work, as well as formerly being the Director of Environmental Health and Safety at the Colorado School of Mines, Havelick and the company went to work to find a better off-, or degassing system, and the Degassing Cabinet was born with the additional benefits of improving available space for the original extraction process work and keeping the airflow at a more comfortable level for the operator.
“The Degassing Cabinet was developed to provide space for the spent feed while the solvent evaporated and to control hazards during that part of the process,” Havelick explained. “This allows customers to make full use of the space within their Extraction Booths.”
Safety First at HAL Extraction
The Degassing Cabinet operates from the same principles all of HAL’s products do, namely a high-quality blend of engineering and compliance.
Because, like the original Extraction Booth, the Degassing Cabinet is installed as a building component and contains electrical equipment, HAL works with product safety leaders Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ensure its equipment meets every applicable standard and is as safe as it can be. In addition, Havelick sits on the UL board and has worked closely with the body from day one. HAL’s Extraction Booth was the first such booth to be awarded a UL listing in 2018 and remains the only one in the industry to date.
Similar protocols are followed with the Degassing Cabinet, giving HAL another major step-up on any competition it may face.
“No competitors have yet been able to meet these stringent safety standards while we are releasing second and third generations of our technology,” Havelick said.
Saving Costs in the Longer and not so Longer-Term
The HAL products will also save customer costs. The Degassing Cabinet will both reduce any residual risk of any possible explosive incident from the drying spent material, therefore vastly reducing or eliminating any costs associated with such an event, and it improves process efficiencies, again helping with the cost burden.
Such cost reductions mirror those offered by the Extraction Booth itself.
Internal data from the company suggests customers using their own wasted air condition processes without the proper design and technology offered by HAL can spend between an extra $25,000 and $50,000 a year. When the retail cost of the Extraction Booth is approximately $40,000, the savings don’t take long to materialize.
The company’s patented AMAV (Active Monitoring + Adaptive Ventilation) technology combined with a patent-pending design called DVAC (Distributed Vapor Airflow Capture), in addition to another patent-pending Focused Flow process, can result in a total of 83% savings of wasted air.
While the largest cost to processors is the raw plant material – largely outside of a HAL customer’s control – the HVAC spend can often be the largest controllable cost.
For example, such company data suggests HVAC costs in the New England region can total between $100 and $120 for a typical shift to meet safety codes but are significantly reduced to just $18-$20 using the AMAV and DVAC technology offered by HAL.
Such cost savings across the HAL product lines are an attractive incentive for potential customers to take the plunge and make the necessary investment from the outset. Such an approach can also save a lot of the headaches caused when would-be customers decide to go it alone, as well as the potential costs of not getting it right.
“Savvy customers know it is the right investment,” said Josh Gladfelter, chief engineer at HAL. “Others think it is easier to do it themselves and then they find they spend more money on engineers and consultants trying to find out how to build a similar product; we have the safety data and technology and know what to do with it, they might only have some data and then try to figure out what to do with it.”
Ease of Use, Leading the Way
A smaller modification to the original Extraction Booth model is the use of glass panels to partly replace existing wall panels.
The tempered glass panels, manufactured to meet National Fire Protection Authority (NFPA) standards, allow for visibility both from inside and outside the booth and can bring in natural light, certainly allowing for a more comfortable working environment for operators.
The use of such panels fits in with the company’s principle of ease of use for the customer exemplified by such functionality as human interaction with sensor products, what former HAL outside sales executive, Xavier Jaillet, described in a recent Cannacurio podcast as being able to “kind of talk to the sensors if you will.” “Hopefully we’ll be able to continue the trend of ease of use when it comes to our products,” he added.
Additional newer products that HAL is now offering include height extension abilities for the original Extraction Booth. Such functionality is simple to add and allows for even greater flexibility, explained Gladfelter.
“This upgrade extends the booth height to accommodate large extraction equipment and tall loading clearances,” he said. “A secondary frame supports the upper panel assembly and can easily be added to existing booths.
Also, dual gas sensors are now available, allowing for one sensor alone to monitor multiple solvents at the same time. Previously, customers might have had to use different sensors to monitor different gases because different calibration points were needed for each gas.
“The Dual Gas Sensing will elevate the ventilation rates to purge the room if either gas has reached a hazardous level,” said Gladfelter.
Finally, the Extraction Booth can be ordered with a configuration that has a secondary set of fans as a back-up, or for higher ventilation rates.
The continuing drive towards perfecting an already industry-leading product range will always be a major pillar of HAL’s company ethos.
“We are the best, intend to stay in front, and to continue setting the standards for the industry,” said Havelick.