Food & Beverage Technology Review: Cann Drying Systems: Modernizing Conventional Methods for Efficient Drying Operations

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Though for centuries it has been widely believed that ‘change is the only constant,’ the fact that humans  are hardwired to resist change is also a prevalent  notion. Business leaders are often reluctant to introduce significant changes in their organizations because  they either lack the experience of leading a change or are  overpowered by the fear of uncertainty. For instance, let’s take  the example of the cannabis space.  

For ages, the industry has avoided the adoption of  contemporary methodologies in the production of cannabis  and has recently embraced new-age technological solutions to  improve the efficiency of cultivation and processing operations.  Despite this, the lion’s share of its players is hesitant to jettison  their rudimentary ways of drying cannabis buds using fans in  non-sealed rooms, leading to inefficiencies in production and a negative impact on the quality of their product. The industry is also plagued by issues regarding personnel retention, especially in post harvest operations. 

Helping entrepreneurs kill two birds with one stone by embracing the prowess of technology is Cann Drying Systems. The company offers a groundbreaking and easy-to-use cannabis drying and curing solutions that empower businesses to automate personnel-heavy operations and enhance product quality. Cann was established four decades ago as a lumber drying equipment manufacturer. Later in the 2000s, the company entered the food industry and built dehumidification systems for food-grade chambers. The company, in 2017, expanded its horizon and began developing systems for the cannabis industry. “Cann is an expert in the drying niche within the cannabis arena and is efficiently addressing the remaining bottlenecks in the post-harvest process,” adds Sam Ouellette, Product Manager at Cann. As a subsidiary of a large company, Cann leverages the longstanding experience and skillsets of its parent brand as well as the industry know-how of the emerging cannabis space. Ergo, the company has developed a revolutionary heat pump-based dehumidification system that is fundamentally transforming how the cannabis industry operates. 

Unlike the other commonly used methods such as vapor  pressure differential and microwave drying methods, Cann employs an emulation of the standard low and slow warm air techniques that have been used for decades.  Elaborating on this, Sam adds, “We  take those true and tested methods  and bring a level of automation and  data tracking to them.” Cann has  developed closed-loop systems where  clients can process 100 to 8000 Kg of  cannabis in a batch and control the  three critical aspects of the drying  & curing processes—temperature,  humidity, and airflow.

Users have substantial control over the systems and can configure them to maintain  specific temperatures, humidity, fan speeds, and airflow levels. This is critical for brands aiming to make it big in the cannabis market. “Whether it is cold and dry outside, warm  and humid, it doesn’t matter to our  clients. They dry the exact same way  —consistently, batch after batch over  the course of the year. We provide the  tools in an enclosed and controlled  environment where clients can be  consistent with their product quality,”  underscores Ton Mathissen, CEO of Cann Drying Systems. Cann offers products adorned with UV microbial mitigation systems that prevent microbes from spreading during the  propagation phases. The air inside the equipment is cleaned and purified  as it gets recirculated through  the systems and condensation coils. The products also house curing functionalities, allowing  the operators to use the same chamber for drying and curing  processes, optimizing overall operations. Often during the drying  processes where HVAC systems or fans are used, operators lose a  lot of terpenes. Cann is also addressing this issue by designing its  condensation system in a way that helps users recapture some of  the terpenes. Though most of its clients leverage the closed-loop  chambers, several others also utilize the individual components of  the closed-loop system as standalone products. 

Cann has assisted several businesses in optimizing their  existing setups by efficiently installing its systems and providing  them training and technical support. The systems are geared  around high levels of modularity that enable users to easily integrate them into their existing procedures. While building  the equipment, Cann’s teams participate in comprehensive discussions with their clients and discuss their specific requisites. Its installation team then analyses  the clients’ sites, sets up the systems,  and hooks up electricity supplies  and internet connections. This is  followed by a testing phase and  training, where Cann’s teams train  the system operators regarding the  functionality and operability of the  systems. “We also offer customers  preventative maintenance contracts  where we meet them once every six  months to make sure that everything  is operating optimally,” extols Ton.  Adding on to Ton’s remark, Sam says that Cann truly collaborates with  its clients and offers customized  solutions that address their current  and future goals. To paint an  evocative picture, Sam shares a  customer success story about one of  the company’s clients. 

The client is focused on the extract quality of the cannabis and  was looking for a system to recapture  terpenes and maintain them. Cann is in turn working closely with  another 3rd party manufacturer of  extraction/filtration equipment to  design a filtration collection system  that enabled the client to achieve that  goal. This customer-centric approach  of Cann to optimize its products in accordance with clients’ needs is  the impetus of its success and has enabled it to build long-lasting and strong relations with them.  Looking ahead, geographical expansions appear to be on the cards  for Cann as it makes efforts to partner with more international  distributors and expands its network. 

Cann is improving its terpene capture solutions since it’s  a recurring issue in the cannabis arena. The company is also  developing functionalities that enable users to optimize the  environmental conditions within their chambers to tailor to  specific phenotypes and particular end uses for the products to  further improve their customers’ drying operations. “We bring  a whole level of sophistication to the industry that helps speed  up the time cost aspects of cannabis production. We are working hard to improve our products and provide more value to each of  our customers, not just the ones that we’ve sold today, but also the ones that we sold in the past, and help them with their drying processes,” concludes Ton.