Introducing a bud trimmer into your cannabis growing operation makes the process safer and more efficient. It allows you to use your labor force where you need it most and produces flower that is virtually indistinguishable from hand-trimmed product. If you are still thinking of the bud trimmers that first came on the scene decades ago, here is why you need to explore what's on the market now.
Why is safety the first on this list? Well, to cultivators around the United States, safety for themselves and their personnel has become paramount, particularly in this ongoing pandemic climate. Even once the pandemic ends, the evolution to a safer, cleaner work environment will linger on for years to come.
Implementing the use of a bud trimmer (as well as other harvest systems) in your harvest process will reduce the number of people in close-quartered trim circles at your facility. This will directly lead to fewer contact points between your staff and an overall safer environment.
Additionally, the less your flower is handled by hand and outside your controlled storage environment, the less risk of contamination, degradation, or other negatives happening to your product.
So, work becomes another fraction safer for both you, your employees, and your flowers—and that’s a tune we can all dance to.
Bud Trimmer Is No Longer a 4-letter Word
Over the past 30 years, the level at which a mechanical cannabis bud trimmer can perform has grown by leaps and bounds. The ’90s and 2000s were full of snake oil salesmen and industry players trying to use crossover machines (technology that comes from mainstream industry) or poorly designed, hastily thrown together equipment, to perform a very specific, delicate task on a sensitive, delicate product. Needless to say, that approach could never live up to cultivators' expectations.
The last 10 years have seen the emergence of not just automation, but of quality automation. And that’s an important distinction. Anyone can build a machine that works, but how many can build a machine that works right?
Companies like GreenBroz Inc. are manufacturing industry-born equipment, including multiple sizes of bud trimmers, designed to carefully handle the cannabis plant and mimic the action of scissors trimming the flower while keeping the operator in control of the process.
Cultivators are flocking to this new standard for automation because it is allowing them to decide on, and achieve, their desired flower finish, maintain the potency and cannabinoid profiles of their flower, and offer a more consistent product to their customers, all while offering the harvest cycle cost-savings that operations have been seeking for decades.
Automation is not better. Better automation is better.
Same Results – Fraction of the Cost
Imagine that in front of you are two trimmed buds ready to be packaged and sent to the shelves. The first bud was hand manicured 100% of the way, and you have the bill to prove it. The second ran through a bud trimmer until the operator saw it was 75% trimmed (could be 50%, could be 90%, the finish level is up to you) and then it was removed and finished by hand.
Both flowers look and test the same, but flower two cost you substantially less to produce as you eliminated the first 75% of hand labor. There are still costs associated with running, maintaining, and cleaning a bud trimmer, but it still leaves a substantial financial margin for cultivators to reinvest into their business.
A common misconception in the bud trimmer industry is that all machines are "in one end and out the other" or "You don’t get to control or customize the finish of your flower." That’s not true for all machines. As mentioned in the last section, there are companies in the cannabis space designing industry-born systems that keep the operator in control.
In this case, a trained machine operator can routinely reach a desired level of trim with a bud trimmer, then kick it out and utilize their small in-house hand-trim team to do the final work, bringing a top shelf product to the marketplace at a fraction of the cost.
Better Utilization of Your Labor
“They took our jobs!!”
There’s obviously a lot of concern among human bud trimmers that machines and automation will push their craft out of work, as automation has historically done in mainstream industry. However, when taking a more pragmatic look at the situation, there are many upsides to this reduction in the need for hand-trim labor.
First, labor can be reassigned to other areas of production or harvest that could benefit from more attention. Time after time I speak with cultivation staff who tell me they started with the company as a trimmer and have since moved on to a better, permanent position with the company once a mechanical bud trimmer was brought on.
Additionally, companies that utilize certain bud trimmers that allow control over the level of finish are retaining a smaller amount of full-time trimmer staff to perform final quality control over the product or to conduct the final trim by hand to still give the appeal of the hand-trimmed finish to their customers.
Many of those companies are able to invest the savings from reduced hand-trimmed labor directly back into their company. We even know cultivators who offer health insurance to their full-time trim QC team, which is amazing.
So, bringing the right bud trimmer to your operation can help you and your staff spend less time in trim jail and more time where your business needs it. And hey, health insurance isn’t bad either.
Efficiency is probably the biggest no-brainer on the list, but that’s what puts it into the top 5. Simply put, the average hand trimmer can do 1-3 pounds in a day according to 2020 data, while even the smaller capacity bud trimmers in the industry can easily rock 4+ pounds per hour, with commercial machines boasting much higher numbers.
No matter if you are a smaller cultivator, or a large-scale multi-state producer, there are bottlenecks in your process that cost you time, money, and labor. And, while all machinery is not equal, implementing the right bud trimmer for your operation will help you solve the bottleneck around trimming that has kept many cultivators up at night.
Imagine being on a deadline for your distributor and your trim team calls in sick, finds themselves double booked with another operation, or plain doesn’t show up at all. I would call that a significant bottleneck, and I’m sure you would too.
But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the team shows up. Maybe someone is distracted by personal issues, another tired from a long night out, and another is producing ‘trimmed" pounds that look like they haven’t been touched yet.
That’s a lot of variables, a lot of maybes, and a lot of uncertainty that you don’t need as a business owner. Machines don’t need lunch. They don’t get hangovers. Good machines produce consistent results, every time.
The concept of implementing the right cannabis bud trimmer for your business no longer has to be a scary thought that keeps you up at night. Industry-born trimming technology has caught up with what cultivators demand and it’s time to take a serious look at options for your business.
Our advice? Find out who top industry professionals are turning to for their operations, then try out multiple brands and see which is the right fit for your business.