4 Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining Cannabis Extraction Equipment

Regular cleaning and maintenance of cannabis extraction equipment is key to ensuring optimal performance and production. Here are four things to consider when developing a cleaning and maintenance protocol

1. identify the key components that make up the extractor.
These may include the extraction vessel and separator vessel, solvent supply tank, piping and connections, thermostat/cooler and compressor pump.

Become familiar with each component and understand how they work together to perform the extraction. This knowledge will help you identify the unique parts of each component that become dirty or worn during use and require periodic cleaning or replacement. Knowing the system will also help with troubleshooting if any problems arise.

2. Determine the cleaning/maintenance required for each component and how often to perform it.
To keep your extraction system running properly and avoid downtime, determine what cleaning and maintenance needs to be performed and when. Much of this information, including recommendations for timing, can be found in your extractor's user manual. However, differences in operating parameters can affect wear and tear, so it is best to monitor the equipment closely and develop a schedule based on your specific needs.

Regular cleaning of the extraction system is essential for optimal performance. Don't cut corners-perform all cleaning procedures to meet or exceed the manufacturer's recommendations. Common cleaning procedures include running extractions without cannabis present, flushing the separator vessel and connecting the lines with ethanol, and checking for residual cannabis extract in the downstream lines/filter. Proper cleaning will minimize the incidence of many common problems including clogged lines/valves, poor separations and low yields. If you are running multiple strains with the same extractor (e.g., a high CBD strain and a high THC strain), it is best to clean thoroughly between extraction runs to minimize cross-contamination.

Regular maintenance is also important. For example, maintain a CO 2 gas compressor pump. Oil levels and running oil pressure should be checked and recorded weekly. Changes in noise levels or vibration during the run should also be noted, as this may indicate a potential problem. Every month the pump should be checked for loose connections and/or leaks, and the belt tension should be checked. The oil filter should be changed every six months and the diaphragm should be replaced every 18 months. These activities will ensure reliable operation of the compressor pump and minimize downtime.

3. Set a schedule and keep a maintenance log.
Once you have determined what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, create a maintenance calendar for each extraction system you are running so you know when routine maintenance should be performed. Make sure each extractor has its own log and record all maintenance activities for reference.

4. Have spare parts/supplies available.
Anticipated maintenance needs - For any parts (valves, belts, o-rings) or wear parts (filters, oil, coolant) that may wear or break over time. It is advantageous to keep the supply of these materials indoors. This allows for quick repairs and minimizes extractor downtime. Keep a stock log of spare parts and replenish as needed.

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