DrainDroyd Helps Cannabis Extraction Shift Away from Hazardous Glass

by | Jan 28, 2020

Detroiter Karhlyle Fletcher is the host of High Lit, a cannabis research and classic literature podcast featuring leading voices and independent music. In addition to years in written and video cannabis journalism, he is also a traditional author.

The world of cannabis production is exciting in part due to constant innovation. While tried and true equipment might be comfortable to use, there is room for discovery in many parts of the cannabis and hemp industries.

What is DrainDroyd?

Glass is an integral part of the cannabis industry, but it’s not always the best tool for the job. Other than glass pieces being a carrier for an alarming amount of germs, glass is also prone to breaking. Broken glass is annoying for users but potentially hazardous and expensive for producers. United Science founder Jon Thompson offers an alternative to traditional glass equipment used for dewaxing. The company operates out of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Thompson’s DrainDroyd is a stainless piece of equipment that is not only faster than glass equipment but safer. 

Dewaxing is a crucial part of oil production for those who make cannabis oils. This process is necessary because waxes accumulate during the extraction process, and are unwanted materials in saleable oils. Producers often perform dewaxing through dissolving oils in ethanol and chilling the product to subzero temperatures. 

When oils reach such a temperature point, the wax present precipitates, leaving cannabinoids in a solution that can be filtered to remove the waxes from the mixture. However, due to this process being slow, the waxes producers aimed to remove often redissolve into the ethanol mixture, which causes the solution to require further processing. This issue is present in all solvent-based extraction methods, including butane, ethanol, and CO2 methods. 

DrainDroyd’s Innovative Solution 

Dewaxing commonly made use of Buchner funnels, which are narrow and made of glass. Extracted oils flow through these funnels during the filtering process, and using them can take up to hours. Worse, these funnels can break during the process, which can cause up to thousands of dollars worth of oil to get stuck in the filtering machines. 

Inspired by this issue, Thompson invented a broader funnel made from stainless steel, the DrainDroyd. The DrainDroyd can process 4-5 liters of oil in 30 minutes or less, which is a fabulous improvement over conventional equipment. 

To make use of the DrainDroyd, manufacturers should first dissolve crude oil in an ethanol solution. The resulting dissolved oil and ethanol solution needs 4 hours in a freezer set between -20 and -80 degrees Celcius. Before putting the mixture into the DrainDroyd, users must add a paper filter to the device, and turn on the vacuum pump. The ethanol solution is then ready to be removed from the freezer and filtered through the DrainDroyd.

Three liters of a solution can be filtered within 2 minutes by this device. Afterward, the product sits on the filter paper, ready to be removed. If it’s still too dark, the DrainDroyd can remove color. Manufacturers continue to process the material to do so. Finally, users rotovap the filtrate to evaporate the ethanol. 

Manufacturers can expect to pay between $14,000 and $20,000 for the DrainDroyd, depending on add-on features. Since launching in 2017, the DrainDroyd has sold more than 1,000 units, and about half of those went to cannabis companies. The rest have gone to the food, beverage, and chemical industries. 


Advantages of DrainDroyd

In every industry, time is money. Time spent fixing the results of mistakes is wasted money. Broken glass is a hazard in countless industries, but it doesn’t need to be a part of your practice. By relying on the steel of DrainDroyd, producers save countless hours, stress, and money.

In addition to time saved through the prevention of breaks, DrainDroyd also works much more efficiently than traditional glassware. Save hours on processes that would otherwise halt the workflow of a production facility. It lowers stress in the workplace, increases workflow, and saves money on maintenance. 

The DrainDroyd unit features adjustable height casters. Due to this, the device is portable, adding to the convenience it offers. The machine is also simple to integrate into existing processes, so there is little hassle involved with installing it into most facilities. DrainDroyd offers various filter media for different levels of finish, and a variety of sorbent media ideal for decolorization. 

Cleaning the steel of the DrainDroyd is easy, and the incorporation of a containment vessel allows improved isolation from the environment. Naturally, the DrainDroyd’s product containment is GMP compliant, preventing contamination, and ensuring safety. Supporting this midwestern company is a smart decision for those looking to save time and avoid hazards.