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.