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5 Key Questions When Searching for New Cannabis Processing and Extraction Vessels

As the Cannabis Processing industry continues to evolve, increasing regulations are following. With continuous new products and additive combinations entering the market, the sale and distribution of the products will have more regulations. The processing and production of CBD and cannabidiol components are already seeing increasing standards. 

When searching for a new Cannabis Processing or Extraction vessel equipment supplier, ask these five questions: 

  1. Does the vessel supplier have experience with the types of processing equipment you require to produce your product? The vessel manufacturer should have experience with CBD and Cannabis processing vessels, extraction tanks, mixing tanks and separating vessels. For complex applications or scale solutions, you may need to consult a process engineering firm to solve your CBD process challenges.
  2. If you aren’t sure about the type of equipment you need, do you have access to collaborate with the vessel manufacturer’s application and engineering team to discuss your challenges? There continues to be numerous start-ups for new types of CBD products, and that equipment can come at a high cost. There may be value in a collaborative meeting with application specialists to vet your project and costs and learn more about equipment offerings. 
  3. What types of processes and components does the vessel manufacturer offer for the hygienic design? The FDA and other regulatory agencies will set the standard for sanitation and hygienic design in the CBD / Cannabis processing industry. Your vessel manufacturer must have offerings and experience with COP (clean out-of-place) sanitation and CIP (clean-in-place) sanitation components. They must also meet RA (roughness average) requirements and offer mechanical and chemical finishing services to meet the hygienic requirements set by regulatory agencies. 
  4. Does the vessel manufacture hold ASME certification? Most local and state laws require vessels designed at 15 PSI and higher to be ASME certified. Moreover, ASME requirements are also in material specifications, construction, and welding qualifications. Determine all industry compliance accreditations, including FDA, 3-A, CRN, PED and BPE. 
  5. Does the vessel manufacturer provide the testing and documentation services you need for your Cannabis or CBD processing vessel? There are significant testing, certifications, and documents requirements for all US and global accreditation programs. An experienced quality assurance department will provide trained and certified personnel; and assure the proper procedures and documentation to support your vessel. 

Apache Stainless is a manufacturer of sanitary, highly engineered, ASME pressure vessels for a multitude of industries, including cannabis processing, pharmaceutical, health and biopharma. We have served the Cannabis and CBD processing industry several years with processing tanks, hydrocarbon extraction tanks, mixing tanks and separating vessels. We also design and manufacture vessels with Canadian Registration Numbers (CRN) for all Canadian provinces. We have all Stainless ASME certified manufacturing facility with custom capabilities including heat exchange surfaces, agitation, CIP (clean-in-place) componentry and controls. Apache has an in-house quality and compliance team to provide all testing and documentation requirements.

Visit Small Vessels for more information.


How to Evaluate a Custom Pressure Vessel Manufacturing Partner

Accreditations 

Custom and pressure vessel manufacturers must have accreditation for ASME certification. Compliance with the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel code is required. Pressure vessel manufacturers must also manufacture to ASME material specifications, certificates, and welding qualifications.

Other accreditations are also crucial in the pharmaceutical, life science, and health industries. Confirm all industry compliance standards, including:
•    ASME UM
•    ASME U
•    FDA
•    3-A
•    CRN
•    PED
•    BPE

Quality Assurance & Compliance

Verify that the manufacturer has a dedicated quality assurance team.  There are significant testing, certifications, and documentation requirements for all global accreditation programs. In-house inspection services are a benefit to ASME projects. Review services that should include:
•    Pneumatic testing
•    Hydrostatic testing
•    Liquid Penetrant (Dye Penetrant) testing
•    Saline testing and certificate
•    Riboflavin/CIP (clean-in-place) coverage test
•    Material Test Reports
•    Base metal thickness certificate
•    Material trace
•    Welder trace
•    Ferroxyl test and certificate
•    Positive material identification (PMI) and certificate
•    Ferrite levels and certificate
•    Radiography and analysis
•    UT weld testing and certificate
•    Turn Over Packet (TOP) as required


Experience

The pressure vessel manufacturer must have expertise in the type of vessel and industry experience for the use of the vessel. Critical staff, fabricators, and welders must be ASME certified. All welders must be approved for the weld procedures required to make custom pressure vessels.

Experience and reputation are also significant when developing relationships with inspectors, agencies, and governing officials to keep the compliance process moving forward smoothly.  

Service & Support

Above all, assess the service and support provided by the manufacturer. The vessel manufacturer should be able to articulate technical discussions and be open and honest with timelines, cost, and compliance-related issues. Consider other research and questions, such as:

•    Is the proposal easy to understand and compare solutions?
•    Do you have direct access to the engineer for questions?
•    Does the company provide timely and accurate documentation?
•    Does the company offer after-market parts and field service?

Download Small Vessel brochure
Download Large Tank brochure


How to Troubleshoot a Pressure Tank

There are several reasons why a vessel may need service, however, two main causes why a vessel may need service are either accident or performance related.

In the case of an accident, such as a tool falling into the tank and causing damage; surface scratches and dents can typically be repaired on-site, provided they do not go beyond minimum requirements, with mechanical polishing or hand/wand electropolishing. 

Reduced agitator performance or failure is often due to worn parts, improper assembly or a bent or broken shaft.  Agitator repairs may be addressed with the agitator manufacturer or the vessel manufacturer, depending on the situation, down-time, and severity of the failure.

When troubleshooting a drop in pressure in a tank or vessel, a typical cause is often related to seals. One sign of seal failure is product coming out of the seal.  To help reduce the frequency of an unexpected seal leak occurring, it is recommended to use a good seal maintenance program to solve a lot of pressure / performance issues, such as:
•    Seal replacement has been neglected
•    Flat spots on seals are a sign for replacement
•    Improper or incorrect seals for the outlet
•    Nicks, scratches or mishandling of seals

A best practice is to avoid product waste and critical down-time is to inventory seals for all outlets and manage seals in a preventative maintenance program.

It is important to note that any weld repairs to the ASME pressures zones on tanks, require an R-Stamp.  The R-Stamp is a certification required by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessels for repair of an ASME tank or vessel.

Depending on the size of the vessel and type of repair, Apache’s service techs may be able to make repairs on site or in some cases, tanks are shipped back to the factory. Apache can provide services including:
•    Field service and troubleshooting to all types of stainless and high alloy tanks
•    ASME / National Board R-Stamp repair and modifications
•    Surface finish repairs
•    Non-code repairs and modifications including piping and heat transfer jackets
•    Seal and agitation repairs and modifications
•    Accessory repairs
•    Head and tank shell repairs
•    Leak detection
•    Audit and service contract available

Visit Small Vessels

Visit Large Tanks


General Use VS Custom Vessel: When It's Time to Consider a Custom ASME Pressure Vessel

Emerging life sciences, and health and wellness product manufacturers must carefully plan budget and start-up costs to launch their products. Many of these entrepreneurs begin production with a general use vessel.

A stainless general use vessel has a lower entry price. Depending on the process and the demand for the product, general-use vessels may serve a small manufacturer very well for many years. Dispensing and storage vessels, vacuum and low-pressure vessels are common examples of general use applications.

However, when demand outpaces production, the manufacturer may require a vessel that is customized for the processing needs. Here is a case story of a manufacturer that switched from a general use to a custom ASME pressure vessel:

BEFORE: A fast-growing botanical extraction processor was unable to produce the quantity of product needed to fulfill demand. Their process involved an imported general use vessel that was placed in a rudimentary ice bath for temperature control. This process resulted in waste of non-consistent product and constant staffing and manual intervention to monitor and adjust.

AFTER: Apache's small vessel team provided an ASME processing vessel that completely replaced their batch process. The new vessel was designed with a thermal heat jacket that heated and cooled the product to the exact temperature required for the extraction process. The ASME vessel was jacketed with tri-clamp ferrules and included a site glass and high-pressure sanitary fittings. The vessel has a pickle passivated finish that provides ease of sanitation between batches.

While the price point for a custom manufactured vessel was higher than a general use tank, the ability to quadruple production off-set the cost of the vessel and resulted in a quick return on investment. Apache's custom vessel runs continuously day and night; it eliminated product waste and removed employee monitoring and intervention.

Visit standard vessels or visit custom ASME vessels, for more information!


What is the Significance of Domestic and Foreign Stainless Steel for Original Commercial Equipment?

The steel material used in manufacturing commercial original equipment must fit the performance, pricing, delivery time, and quality requirements for the end-user. Industrial equipment suppliers, like Apache, must leverage relationships with mills and partnering suppliers to manage the constantly changing market. Part of the purchasing program for the stainless material program at Apache, focuses on partnering with quality domestic and foreign suppliers. 

Stainless sheet and plate are produced in the United States, which is the majority of Apache’s base material for tanks, vessels and food processing equipment. Also, most Hastelloy and other high-alloy performance metal materials are made in the US. Pipes and fittings on the other hand are primarily from foreign suppliers since domestically there is not enough availability for demand. 

Depending on the political climate, import tariffs affect the cost and availability of steel material from China and other countries. Some industries require products from foreign markets that may be a specific sheet, size, and material type, but those industries will pay a premium for it and may be subjected to extended delivery times. 

One of the benefits to being a significant user of stainless steel is the relationships with stainless producers and distributors. Apache’s steel venders allocate an allotment of material to Apache, which affords relatively short transactions for supply. When we have a line on repetitive need, we initiate inventory strategies to keep our supply as fluid as possible. Many other components and materials are affected by timing and supply; Apache understands lead times and availability and also leverages relationships to manage delivery to provide the best timing possible. 

Our suppliers understand our needs and hold a higher level of steel quality. The relationship and partnership with our steel vendors has strengthened our expectations, with some partnerships lasting up to 45 years when Apache was founded. 

Apache uses more than 2000 tons of stainless and high alloy per year. We are in the business of heavy gauge commercial manufacturing of custom equipment for high-compliance industries. Our ability to manage domestic and foreign material as well as price, timing and quality of all material and components is resolved for serving over 100 industries represented by our industrial and commercial processing customers.


A Comprehensive Read on Heat Transfer Surfaces

To help inform our tank and vessel customers about jacketed vessels and heat exchange surfaces, Apache shares this e-book that in-house specialists produced, "Abstract and Attributes of ASME Vessel Heat Transfer Surfaces".

Jacketed vessels are used in many industries and can remove the elevated heat of reaction (heat reactor vessel) or reduce the viscosity of high viscous fluids. There are basically three types of external jacketed heat transfer surfaces: conventional jacket, half pipe jacket and dimple jacket, which are welded to the outside of the vessel. Internal coils can also be used as a stand alone option or in combination with other types of external jackets.

Complimentary Download


Custom Vessels for Extreme Compliance Industries

The Small / Portable Vessel group produces specialized ASME vessels that customers need for their extremely regulated processes.  Apache manufactures custom mix tanks, storage tanks, jacketed vessels, heat exchange surfaces, extraction equipment.

Apache offers engineering and 3D modeling to the customer's design conditions and ASME requirements for each vessel project. We have a dedicated quality and compliance team that focuses on verification, testing, and compliance documentation.

Visit APACHE at INTERPHEX 2019, April 2-4 at the Javits Center in New York City!

Download the custom story of Apache's Small Vessel Group.


New E-Book: Factory Tests and ASME Certifications Explained

An important part of quality assurance is the process of manufacturing a vessel and the completion of required certifications to meet ASME compliance.  Equally important is the understanding of these processes and procedures, by all parties from project engineering manager to purchasing teams.

Apache's quality experts have put together a informative resource on factory tests and certifications for ASME tanks and vessels. It is important to have an understanding with customers about what is involved with testing and documentation requirements.

Highlights include:

A review of factory tests
Manufacturing process that require reporting
An overview of certifications
The TOP (Turn Over Packet) Documentation Package

DOWNLOAD EBOOK


Two Local Companies Work Together to Solve Need for Increased Production and Storage

Brakebush Brothers, a leading processor of chicken products, worked with Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation to design, fabricate and deliver a new 20,000 gallon fresh oil tank for their Westfield, Wisconsin plant.

 

David Meyer, Utilities Manager at Brakebush, needed a new storage tank to keep up with production demands and chose Apache Stainless for it’s reputation as a quality manufacturer of stainless tanks and expertise in heat transfer surfaces and sanitary tank finishing.   The 13’ 6” diameter tank is 33’ feet tall and replaces an 8,000 gallon tank that will be relocated to another Brakebush plant.

 

David Foulkes, Sales Manager for Apache, worked with Brakebush and Apache’s tank team to provide the new tank with specifications to include a containment shell, steam dimple jacket, insulation and protective shroud with controls to monitor and adjust the heat temperature of the oil, especially during the winter months in Wisconsin, as well as the required flow into the plant for production operations.

 

The Brakebush Westfield, Wisconsin plant has a production facility of over 500,000 sq. ft. with state of the art cooking operations. Westfield is also the corporate office for Brakebush.

 

Apache Stainless located in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin serves commercial manufacturers all across North America. Apache tanks are found in food and beverage processing facilities an in fuel refineries, ethanol plants, chemical industries, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and in health and beauty product manufacturing plants.


What is the difference between pickle passivation and electropolishing?

pickle passivation and electropolishing difference

The main difference between pickle passivation and electropolishing is the appearance and RA (roughness average) of the stainless material. In the photo, an electropolished sample is shown above a pickle passivated sample. The pickle passivated sample has a white appearance, while the electropolished sample has a mirror-like, shiny finish.

Pickle Passivation is the immersion of metal in a pickling bath such as nitric-hydroflouric acid. The process removes metal such as impurities and heat marks from welds.

Electropolishing is an electro-chemical process that removes surface material from stainless steel. The process typically starts with an immersion of the component into a controlled bath of electrolyte that is charged with a DC power supply. Apache’s RA tests show improvements up to 50% smoother, depending on the material.

Do you have more questions like this one?

Check out the Contract Manufacturing FAQs page.


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