Extraction Centrifuge Shafts

Extraction Centrifuge Shaft Failure and How we Solved it

by | Jul 27, 2022

Extraction Centrifuge Shafts
Industry articles feature contributions from cannabis tech industry experts, company representatives, PR agencies, and ghostwritten Op/Eds. While we provide basic editorial reviews, views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of Cannabis Tech.

Disclosure: At Cannabis Tech (cannabistech.com), we accept contributed content and guest posts from industry professionals. However, it is important to note that all contributed content must meet our rigorous Editorial Guidelines to ensure quality and relevance. We value the contributions from industry experts and strive to provide our readers with informative and insightful content. If you have any questions or concerns about our contributed content process, please feel free to contact us.

A pervasive problem in the cannabis industry is limited equipment durability. Specifically, in large-scale ethanol extraction, the centrifuge is the centerpiece and workhorse of the entire extraction process. Excessive wear and tear, due to the shear forces and workloads pushed onto these pieces of equipment, can lead to costly downtime and hard-to-find replacement of parts with long lead times. By pushing the limits of the EV-MASS ethanol centrifuge in the product development phase we identified several features that significantly reduce costly breakdowns and improve return on your investment.

EV-MASS cryo ethanol extraction system centrifuge

It is important to first understand the reasons why many ethanol centrifuges are prone to failure. A specialized motor spins the drive shaft, which in turn spins the basket to remove residual ethanol out of the biomass. However, during an extraction batch, ethanol centrifuges can generate a massive amount of G-forces to pull the ethanol out of the biomass. This can produce G-forces equivalent to over 10,000lbs.

This form of rotational force can cause significant vibrations throughout the equipment, leading to strain on the shaft and an unbalancing of the basket, causing even more strain which can lead to unpredictable maintenance if not mitigated during the extraction cycle. If the G-forces were not enough, the ideal process runs at -40C which can cause 304 steel under that load to become brittle. Therefore these cold temperatures will often weaken the steel of a 304 SS shaft, which can result in bending, causing increased vibrations and potentially critical failure.

Ethanol centrifuges need to run at peak efficiency to maximize the benefits for cannabis processors. However, the companies using this equipment should not be expected to push an ethanol centrifuge to a point of failure to understand its limits. For example, though many ethanol centrifuge companies claim their equipment can safely operate at -40 C, this is often the absolute limit and anything at or beyond this temperature can lead to catastrophic failure.

To address this, Evolved Extraction Solutions conducted extensive testing, well beyond the limits of most centrifuges. This testing identified specific weaknesses that lead to premature equipment failure, resulting in costly downtime. By pushing our system beyond the stated limits, we assure that the optimal performance can be reached safely, ensuring maximum durability and extraction efficiency.

The EV-MASS Centrifuge Difference

Cannabis ethanol extraction centrifuge shaft

Our EV-MASS ethanol centrifuge includes significant improvements to shaft strength and vibration mitigation. The shaft is made of Duplex 2205 Stainless Steel, coated with a thermal arc spray which is a corrosive-resistant SS Alloy. Duplex 2205 SS is a family of SS that provides excellent ductility, improved resistance to corrosion and optimal mechanical strength. Pairing this with a thermal arc spray increases surface hardness to 68 HRC, allowing us to use a proprietary lip seal design rather than a traditional mechanical seal that has been known to cause degradation issues and increased maintenance. Furthermore, the duplex 2205 SS reduces the risk of shaft bending at sustained temperatures of -40 C.

To reduce vibrations while in the spin cycle, we have developed a new Automated Vibration Management System (AVMS). The AVMS includes 3 key features:

Innovative Vibration Sensor

The system utilizes an intrinsically safe vibration sensor connected to the PLC to work as a feedback mechanism, allowing operators to maximize the RPM of the centrifuge to maintain the most efficient batch spin cycle.

Cannabis centrifuge vibration sensor

 

Dampening Feet

Dampening feet reduce remaining minimal vibrations created at high RPM

dampening feet - shaft strength - Ethanol Extraction Centrifuge

Individually Calibrated Baskets

Each basket is calibrated to each unique system to a balancing quality grade of G6.3 which is the same precision as an aircraft gas turbine, limiting vibrations and increasing long-term durability.

cannabis ethanol extraction centrifuge basket

 

The sum of this trifecta of features is what comprises the Automated Vibration Management System and replaces the previous “Step Programs” on traditional ethanol centrifuges. These “Step Programs” require guesswork from the operator to achieve optimal ramp-up speeds for each batch. In the past, operators risked damaging their cannabis centrifuge by ramping up too quickly. Alternatively, by not ramping up fast enough, they increased the risk of wasting time trying to achieve the ideal RPM. The EV-MASS eliminates guesswork and ensures optimal extraction efficiency for every batch as illustrated in the graph below.

Extraction Efficiency Graph

After the agitation cycle, the ethanol drains and the soaked biomass remains, and is at its heaviest. Therefore, at this point, the basket’s critical speed is at its lowest point. As the RPM increases and ethanol is removed from the biomass the weight of the biomass decreases which in turn increases the critical speed. The fact that the EV-MASS CS-30 can determine this automatically and in real-time ensures that the RPM is always operating in the optimal efficiency range depicted as the green line on the graph. The blue stepped line is a representation of a traditional centrifuge program maintaining an RPM too long, wasting time/money, and then raising too quickly causing premature wear and tear.

By increasing durability and reducing vibrations, which provides reduced processing times, we are confident the EV-MASS ethanol centrifuge is the longest-lasting and highest ROI centrifuge on the market. We maintain a critical inventory of all parts and key components, keeping your centrifuge running as it did on day one. This is how Evolved Extraction Solutions is able to provide our industry-leading 24-month warranty and Evolved Performance Promise which guarantees performance results on all of our closed-loop EV-MASS ethanol extraction systems.

Learn why the EV-MASS Ethanol Extraction System is raising the bar for extraction companies who are pushing the limits of what ethanol extraction equipment can do. Contact us today!