Too often, cultivators and manufacturers in the cannabis industry face large overhead and shrinking profit margins, regardless of whether they are just starting out or have been operating for several years. The industry is packed with never-ending costs; license fees, tax obligations, and labor. Unfortunately, in the states where cannabis is recreational markets have become saturated, thus driving down retail values and profit margins. Whether recreational or medicinal, business owners have begun to seek out ways to control and reduce their overhead, specifically for labor.
The Need to Automate
Growing and manufacturing cannabis is meticulous; there are no shortcuts. The laborious nature of cultivating marijuana has caused many, in recent years, to automate the process. Automating processes such as nutrient feeding and irrigation are gaining popularity amongst cultivators. With irrigation and feeding schedules automated, cultivators are not only drastically cutting down on the costs of labor, but also increasing efficiencies elsewhere. Without the need to spend hours hand-watering plants, growers can focus on better manipulating lighting and HVAC systems to create ideal environmental conditions for their plants. With automation also comes data, which helps growers learn more about the plants, as well as their inefficiencies during cultivation.
Another sector of the cannabis industry that is achieving great success through automation is packaging. Packaging is typically incredibly laborious and poses a significant risk for human error and waste. Under-packaging will bring companies complaints and loss of consumers and repeated over-packaging causes product loss and profit margin decrease. Labeling and sealing products are also time-consuming, and if not done correctly, can mean rejection of products from dispensaries. Companies often hire teams of people to keep up with the demand for products and ensure that products are packaged correctly.
More recently, however, automation has reduced the need for additional labor while simultaneously increasing efficiency and production. As seen throughout the cannabis industry, companies involved in other sectors, such as agriculture, have geared themselves to be able to meet the demands of the cannabis industry, and packaging is no different. Packaging giants have taken their machinery and remodeled and reconfigured it to meet the needs of the cannabis industry.
One packaging giant that has made strides in the cannabis industry is the Paxion Group. With over 25 years in business, Paxion has done business in over 28 countries with giants such as Hershey’s, Del Monte and Cargill. Recently, however, Paxion saw a gap in the market in cannabis and created an automation system, known as the Primo Combi, to meet, and exceed, the packaging needs of cannabis companies.
The Primo Combi is an automatic cannabis weighing and filling machine, that also offers end-of-the-line solutions such as capping, sealing and nitrogen flushing (to maintain freshness). With the ability to measure to 1/100th of a gram, Primo Combi essentially eliminates the risks of over or under packaging. The adjustable conveyor allows for multiple size packaging of containers, jars, bags or cartons. The high-performance rate of the Primo Combi, which does require two operators, not only delivers increased production rates but maintains the accuracy of them as well.
Primo Combi also integrates with business software, making it possible for companies to gather various data points to improve effectiveness. The 15-inch color touchscreen that it comes with preloaded with the Windows XP platform, as well as several other programs such as Skype and Crystal Reports. Performance reporting, such as labor efficiency and production data and analytics are tracked and reportable with the Primo Combi. Beyond flower, the Primo Combi is also able to offer solutions for wrapping and sealing edibles, as well as bulk packaging.
Staying Competitive through Automation
Primo Combi is not the only automated solution on the market for packaging, other companies such as BudBot are gaining traction in the industry. By creating smart technologies that can save labor and product give-away, these automation solutions are becoming an answer to cannabis companies seeking to reduce overhead. These solutions offer business owners multiple benefits, including reduced labor, inefficiencies and financial waste and increased production and data tracking. Companies can stay competitive and even gain a competitive advantage by automating, reducing overhead in labor and inefficiencies allows companies to invest those funds into the growth of their company.