Safety & Compliance

Industrial Maintenance, Part 1:

Written by Tamir Bresler

How and how often to clean extraction equipment

Imagine this. You’re really into working out, whether it be cardio, weight-lifting, even stretching and yoga. When your schedule allows, you pull two, sometimes three sessions a day, changing things up and working different muscles, but sticking to a routine that keeps your body working like a well-oiled machine. It makes you feel healthy, and you’ve noticed that, since starting to work out, your workplace productivity and emotional well being has never been better.

But, with all that working out, sometimes you skip a shower here and there, just because you end up wanting to do one extra machine lift, run one extra mile, or swim one extra lap. You figure it’s not a big deal, you generally take care of yourself, and you’re going to be working out at night again anyhow. Skipping one shower, no harm no foul (smell).

But now it’s gotten bad. You cut too many corners, and now your odors are affecting those arounds you. People start moving seats at meetings or casually bringing up, “wow, must have been a good workout this morning!” Even if they don’t say anything, they scrunch up their nose. Your productivity at work goes down, even as your personal relationships are strained. All because you skipped too many damn showers.

Well, maintaining industrial equipment is kind of like caring for your personal hygiene. When working in an industrial facility, we push our machines to the limit each day to achieve maximum, quality output. But like anything being pushed to the limit, there are things that need to happen to make sure things don’t “get smelly”, or (knock on wood) break down.

Meticulously cleaning working surfaces should be a regular on the to-do list, especially for products as resinous and sticky as cannabis extracts. Hydrophobic residues should be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol or acetone as needed, and work surfaces with a detergent solution as well.This should be done on a daily basis. You would not believe how fast terpenes can smolder, cake, and start chemically degrading. If left uncleaned, their bad smell can infect other products.

Humans have living cells to replenish the lubricating fluids in our synovial joints and repair broken musculature. Extraction equipment requires regular exogenous oil changes, because that sweet amorphous golden liquid you pour in at first takes no time at all to become thick black tar.As with a car engine, dark, thick oil can represent contaminants like dust or plant material getting into the motor.Follow manufacturer recommendations on how often to change the oil on each pump.

O-rings, belts, and moving pieces should all be checked regularly and replaced as needed, because a broken O-ring is a recipe for a really crappy day in a closed-loop laboratory. Finally, just a good old fashion scrub down is sometime all it takes to keep things running smooth, and to keep your lab from stinking.

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Tamir Bresler

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