When it comes to the future of cannabis packaging, anything is possible. With the allowance of commercial-scale production facilities and ever-changing state laws, opportunity exists to leverage automated packaging machines to increase operating efficiency—and more importantly, save time and the cost of labor.
Choosing a cannabis packaging machine can be a daunting process, especially since marijuana flower possesses several unique challenges. For example, it varies in both density and size. THC also promotes stickiness between buds and machinery components. All of these issues make reapplication of existing packaging systems problematic.
In addition, customers demand ‘no underweight’ packages. This is a rare complexity because many machines are built for the food industry which tolerate slight underweights and mainly focuses on achieving average target weight—not adequate for packaging cannabis without significantly impacting profits. Retailers also demand small batch orders which limit a processor’s ability to run large batches efficiently.
Clarify Your Business Needs
Investigate Suppliers & Capabilities
See it in Action
- Packaging Capability – Does the machine package or weigh, sort and fill 1, 2 or 3.5-gram packages? at what quoted speeds? Small gram package sizes of 1, 2, & 3.5-gram are challenging with automated packaging machines. When suppliers answer yes they can packaging small sizes, then ask the following to clarify how well:
- What weight range can be specified? i.e. 2.0-2.05?
- What percentage of production will achieve that range? i.e. 95%
- What percentage under the package target weight occurs? i.e. 2% underweights?
- What percentage over the maximum ( i.e. 2.05) can you expect?
- Accuracy – How does it accurately minimize expensive cannabis giveaway? Accurately minimizing expensive cannabis giveaway will maximize cost savings. It is also one of those terms that can confuse and convolute the selection process. Basically, all that should be of concern is the capability to achieve specified target weight range. Achieving target weight with an upper limit or maximum of 0.05 grams above delivered in the package is a good place to start. Cost of inaccuracy adds up quickly; every 1% of giveaway at $3 a gram is $1,362 of value per 100 pounds packaged.
- Speed – How fast does it package 1, 2 & 3.5-gram packages? This is an important question, but just as important is the weight range achieved 95% of the time at those quoted speeds. Claims that machines can package “any size” at high speed should be scrutinized and met with extreme skepticism. Knowing both the speed and accuracy capability provides a basis of comparison to differentiate the options.
- Labor – How many people does it require to package at quoted rate? (bag/hr/person)? Knowing this provides a basis of comparison between machines. Remember, if it takes three people to produce 500 bags per hour, that is an equivalent of 166 bags per hour/per person. If another machine produces 166 bags per hour with one person, it has the same productivity.
- ROI – What is the potential return on investment? A monthly or annual minimum savings calculation is recommended to determine if the purchase is financially advantageous. Total savings has two components; reduced give-away & labor. Together these improve overall profitability.
- Service – Is a service plan offered and at what cost?
- Request ahead of time to see package production in the weight range you need. (i.e. 2.00 – 2.05 gram). Asking prior to the demonstration provides suppliers time to prepare and ensures you will see a demonstration relevant to your business needs.
- Weigh samples yourself – Verifying capability yourself is important. Be prepared by bringing a scale and personally inspect what you expect by opening bags and weighing the contents. This is the whole point of the demonstration! Believe it or not, I have heard of customers never weighing a single sample during the demonstration to confirm it works.
To learn more about high speed accurate small gram packaging or to request a live demonstration, contact BudBot at http://budbotrobot.com/contact-us/.