Editor's Note: Download the audio version below and click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
When he was a college student, Adam Temple was growing medical cannabis for Canada's fledgling medical market when the government announced plans to create the world's first federally legal cannabis industry.
He was in business school and recognized the opportunity of a lifetime. He applied for a license, but only a limited number were granted in the first few years. While he waited for the industry to transition into a much larger economic system, he realized that cannabis, at its core, is an agricultural product, and the future of cannabis was going to be as a consumer-packaged good.
Around 2012, Temple started researching extraction techniques, and he didn't find much information. Then, he discovered a small online community working together to create the first hydrocarbon extraction systems out of brewery parts. Together, they made small, incremental innovations that evolved into the extraction systems that are now commercially available.
As he was building his own extractors out of brewery parts to make extract for his medical patients, he found himself sourcing components from all over the world. Many times, the shipping expenses would cost more than the part. So, he started buying in bulk. Reliability was an issue with early extraction systems, and it made sense to keep more stock on hand.
He started stockpiling the parts in a small, 500-sq-ft warehouse. That's when word got out about Temple's secret stash, and friends began reaching out looking for parts. He saw another business opportunity, and Evolved Extraction Solutions was born as a parts depot.
Next, Temple brought on an engineering team and began developing some of the first commercially available, compliant extraction equipment for the Canadian market. Temple recalls the challenging transition which saw him move his staff from a small warehouse into a 10,000-sq-ft facility. His friends and co-workers thought he was nuts, but the new space provided the resources to bring on new capabilities. At the time, Canada was still a small medical market, and he knew that he had a few years to get manufacturing in order.
Today, Evolved Extraction is a service provider, machine builder and parts supplier.
The company develops extraction equipment with a service-based approach that designs systems to meet cannabis processors' specific needs. The company also operates a pair of butane and propane filling plants near Toronto and another near Vancouver. Finally, the company still maintains the replacement part business, stocking some 800 product SKUs in two warehouses across Canada, everything from gaskets to filter papers and filtration media. Evolved has some 17,000-sq-ft across various locations.
Perhaps the most exciting development coming out of Evolved is the Genome Crystallizer, a patented process for the rapid crystallization of THCA. The new machine helps bypass several steps typically required in distillate production. Distillate is the most popular oil ingredient product. The machine speeds up the process, saves space and increases throughput rates by eliminating common extraction bottlenecks.
Under development for four years, the first iteration of the Genome Crystallizer was a mason jar that gradually scaled into a commercial product.
The Crystallizer allows cannabis manufacturers to expand the number of available SKUs and perform just-in-time manufacturing.
The machine isolates the THCA and terpenes, which can then be stored until an order needs to be fulfilled. Then, the raw materials can quickly be recombined to produce the product. According to Temple, the machine also reduces demand planning errors.
The new product creates true just-in-time manufacturing in the cannabis industry. Processors can be on demand on the fulfillment side of the business but also take advantage of the upstream market volatility, particularly when offers come in from preferred vendors or fire sales. In addition, the technology allows operators to warehouse ingredients until they are needed.
Temple is still trying to keep the Genome Crystallizer under wraps to enable a slow rollout. He believes one of his biggest challenges will be keeping up with inquiries; many have come in since he started posting product updates on his LinkedIn page.
Still, Temple says that his most successful clients have multiple extraction methods on hand that can be used to meet various needs. He says it's also important to know when to implement them based on market demand and supply chain availability.
He also believes that an excessive amount of labor is being used in the industry. He has toured facilities and witnessed examples of facilities using three times more human resources than some processes should require. Too many companies are still moving materials by hand when the industry has the technical capabilities to streamline things.
An emerging part of Evolved's business includes the company's facility design services. The company has helped many operators reduce costs and improve efficiency, sometimes with simple fixes.
While Temple and his partners have grown Evolved well beyond its early days of online forums and small warehouses, the company has been set up for success. Temple stresses that he will continue to innovate to meet the needs of the growing cannabis industry.
Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at David @cannabisequipmentnews.com.