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Dan Horowitz had been in the packaging business for eight years when he wanted a change. He was looking for something new when a recruiter asked, "Have you ever thought about cannabis?"
He met with Schutte Hammermill, a company with a more than 90-year legacy making milling and shredding equipment, and decided to come aboard as the sales manager for the company's new cannabis division, KannaMill.
Horowitz started at the company in 2019, although the KannaMill brand was established in 2017 and already had about 80 installations worldwide.
The cannabis market caught Schutte Hammermill by surprise. The company noticed that its equipment was being sold into "unidentified" markets for years, but it wasn't until a client found it on a cannabis industry Reddit forum that things clicked.
In 2016, the company partnered with processors and extractors to identify areas to fine-tune its equipment to suit the industry. They partnered with a pre-roll company on the West Coast and an extraction company on the East Coast, and worked through development and trials.
Schutte Hammermill started processing wood and biomass nearly a century ago. It evolved to other industries, such as distilleries, e-waste, and even spice grinding: applications that call for uniform particle size. Still, the equipment's internal components needed to be customized for cannabis and hemp.
KannaMill's equipment takes raw product, like stalks, bucked flower and trim or raw biomass, and generates a uniform particle size. The company has 12 different equipment styles with 12 different sizes in each family, and they can be customized to fit any application. The equipment can process as little as 100 pounds per hour up to 20 tons per hour. The critical component is the hammer, redesigned from its typically flat surface to a beveled edge. It turned out to be the most efficient way to break up material without damaging and smashing the product.
For installation, the equipment is bolted or secured to a concrete slab, and clients need to make sure that they have sufficient power to run the equipment – which is sometimes overlooked. Usually, they are operated by a single person (depending on the application size) and can be customized to varying levels of automation. All equipment is manufactured at KannaMill's facility in Buffalo, New York.
The equipment is also used to process raw material for the hemp industry, including products used in the emerging hempcrete and insulation industries.
Today, the biggest challenge for Horowitz and KannaMill is educating the industry. Companies often don't know why milling and shredding is so important until they need it. Horowitz has grown accustomed to hearing from clients who need equipment at the 11th hour. He says companies often neglect shredding and milling equipment because they don't know it exists. Still, it is vital for any company working in pre-rolls, extraction and even fresh/frozen processing, because each requires uniform particle size.
According to Horowitz, the key to KannaMill's success is not just the company's legacy of making quality products, but the ability to be nimble in an industry that seems to evolve every day.
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