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Daniel Blackburn was working at a biotech firm on fermentation-derived compounds, mostly organic acids when his San Francisco-based employer started dabbling in cannabinoids. He enjoyed the work but was looking to get out of the area. So Blackburn packed up and moved about two hours northeast of the Bay Area to Cameron Park, where he found Entexs, a company building sophisticated processing equipment in a small town.
At Entexs, Blackburn, a senior chemist, evaluates processing equipment. Part of his job is to ensure the company's extraction equipment is operable by relative novices. The cannabis industry has a lot of players, but most don't have a chemistry background, and extraction equipment can be pretty complicated.
According to Blackburn, until Entexs arrived on the scene, no single cannabis extraction system was easy to use by a novice operator. The company tries to stand out by making a plug-and-play system that takes one operator to load a bag and push a button. He says such simplicity is the way the market is trending.
Entexs recently debuted a new cold-water cannabis extraction system. Coming from a biotech industry that was relatively slow-moving, in which new products and processes took a decade to develop, Blackburn was impressed by how Entexs was able to bring an extraction system to market in months. The company worked closely with a customer on the R&D and design of the new solventless system. The client wanted to scale up its cold water extraction process and provided invaluable feedback throughout the new product's roughly six-month design process. The new CWE-Series can process up to 400 pounds of material per batch.
Entexs already has several ethanol-based extraction systems in its portfolio; however, solventless extraction is gaining momentum. Blackburn says the cannabis industry will always have a market for an extraction process that doesn't use any solvents or trace residuals.
Next, the company is working on process analytical technology that will help cannabis operators make real-time adjustments during the extraction process. Every input material is different, and Blackburn wants operators to have more control over the process and the ability to make changes based on system feedback.
The breakneck pace of the cannabis industry took some adjusting for Blackburn, but he has embraced it and the new challenges that lay in front of him.
In this episode of the Cannabis Equipment News podcast, Blackburn also discusses why he will embrace federal legalization and if solventless extraction is just a fad.
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