Questions to Answer Before Buying an Automated Cannabis Trimmer
With the advances in post-harvest technology that have taken place over the last few years, many operations are considering letting a machine handle part of their trimming process. If you're looking to pick up a brand-new automated trimmer this year, the following questions can help you start your search.
Why Are You Looking to Automate?
Are you looking to speed up production, lower your dependency on seasonal labor, or are you looking to have more consistency with the look of your end product?
Knowing the answer to the why automate question can help you narrow the field in trimmers that will work for your operation.
What Kind of Volume Are You Looking to Process Now and in the Future?
The automated trimmer field is wide. There are a variety of feed-rate options for you to consider when looking at machines. If you want to increase the amount of weight you process over the next few years, you should consider purchasing a machine your operation can grow into.
Do You Trim Wet, Dry, or Both?
Some bud trimmers are more suited to trimming wet buds, and others are more suited to dry. A few machines can handle both. My advice isn't to reinvent the wheel here. If you usually trim dry, then don't buy a wet trim machine.
If you are on the fence, consider that most craft growers prefer to trim dry because more trichomes and terpenes end up on your finished product. Wet trimming, especially if you are using a machine, can be completed faster, but you'll sacrifice the quality of your product.
How Important Is It That Your Bud Trimmer Is Easy to Clean?
To preserve the quality of your end product, you should be performing a light cleaning after each batch and commit to a heavy cleaning at the end of the day. Clean time varies from machine to machine, so it's vital to understand how much downtime you're comfortable spending washing your trimmer. If you're buying more than one trimmer, you'll need to factor in clean time for multiple units.
If fast cleaning is important to you, look into machines with features like an IP65 washdown motor, detachable electronics, and stainless steel construction. These features make it possible to quickly power wash your entire trimmer.
Easily interchangeable parts can further cut down cleaning time. GreenBroz machines allow you to swap out blades at the end of a batch, so you can start a new batch while you clean the blade you just used.
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How Will You Maintain Your Machine?
Like any machine, trimmers need to be worked on from time to time. When you consider which trimmer to add to your operation, you should speak with the manufacturer about maintenance costs and check the viability of spare parts.
Stocking up on spare parts ahead of time will save your operation downtime if a part unexpectedly wears out.
Do Trichomes Matter to You?
If you sell your cannabis for consumption, then the answer should be "hell, yeah, trichomes matter."
Trichomes contain THC, CBD, terpenes, and at least 110 other cannabinoids we're still learning about. They're also delicate and easily damaged. If trichome preservation is on the top of your list, then you need to be looking for a bud trimmer that preserves the quality of your flower. You don't want to go through all the work of cultivating a quality product just to have your buds turn into golf balls and your profits end up in the trim pile.
Before you commit to a machine, watch videos and look at before and after photos of product that's been run through a machine you're interested in. A good rule of thumb is that trimmers that preserve trichomes also preserve the natural curves on buds, no matter their size or density.
What Are the Electrical Requirements of a Cannabis and Hemp Bud Trimmer?
You'll want to double-check your facility's electrical to make sure it can handle the draw of your new machine. Small capacity trimmers will typically use a standard 120v outlet, but many large units use 240v power.
What is Your Budget?
A new trimmer can run anywhere from a few hundred bucks into the neighborhood of $50,000.You'll want to balance the features you'd like in your machine, feed rate, maintenance time and cost, ease of use, materials, etc., with the price you are willing to pay.
The nice thing about bud trimmers is that they make an impact on your bottom line from day one. If you factor in increased throughput and what you save from not bringing in a large hourly trimming crew, most machines quickly pay for themselves.
How Much Space Do You Have in Your Grow Facility?
Everyone farmer knows that space is money. Storage, processing, growing, optimizing every inch of your available space is key to maximizing your profits. Before you buy your trimmer, you need to figure out where you are going to put it. Take into account how the machine operates, where untrimmed product enters the machine, and where trimmed product comes out.
If you plan on pressure washing your unit, how far do you need to wheel it before you are outside or next to a drain? You can take some of the guesswork out of how your new trimmer will operate in your facility by grabbing some painter's tape and blocking out sections of your operation that you would like to devote to the trimming process. Try a few configurations and stage some practice runs. Figure out what will happen to the product after it gets trimmed and where you will take your machine to be cleaned.
Who Is Going to Run This Machine?
Automating your process does not mean entirely removing humans from the equation. Someone needs to be responsible for running and maintaining your new trimmer.
Choosing the bud trimmer that fits your organization is a big decision. When you buy a trimmer, you are committing to a new process in your facility and making a sizable financial investment.
If you have questions about trimmers or other automated post-harvesting systems, the team at GreenBroz is happy to assist you.
You can visit us on the web at greenbroz.com or click here to schedule a time to speak with a member of the GreenBroz team.
GreenBroz, Inc. provides industry-leading automated harvesting systems to the legal cannabis industry. Committed to high-caliber engineering, reliability, exceptional quality, and customer service, GreenBroz is dedicated to helping companies thrive.
Written by Wes Winton | Content Marketing Manager
Wes made the transition to the cannabis industry from the world of digital advertising and big tech. He's worked on integrated campaigns for clients like the University of Oklahoma, Mozilla, and Columbia College Hollywood. A strong believer in the power of branding and a lover of science experiments, Wes leads GreenBroz’ marketing division.