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Nick Taraborelli: If We Do Good Work, the Universe Will Treat Us Well

How his company found success by building good quality machines while listening to and supporting industry stakeholders.

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About seven years ago, Nick Taraborelli, vice president of Paxiom Automation, decided to walk around a cannabis industry trade show on a whim. At the time, his company had been in business for more than 30 years, building equipment for a slew of different industries. He had worked in food and pharmaceuticals, but hadn’t done any business in cannabis. As he visited with vendors at the trade show, Taraborelli was blown away. He says he found “lightning in a bottle.”

When Taraborelli returned from the road, he pitched the idea of designing machines for the cannabis industry, which was swiftly embraced by the engineering staff. Paxiom had worked in 16 different industries and while each had its own nuances, cannabis posed some unique challenges. Still, some of the company’s previous work would translate to cannabis, which called for machines with better margin control, accuracy, dosing and ease of use. And, with 40 engineers on staff, and a 20,000-square-foot facility solely dedicated to R&D, Paxiom was equipped to handle the challenge.

Paxiom's cannabis division, Canapa Solutions, launched the JuanaRoll, an automated pre-roll machine Taraborelli calls “the most ingenious piece of automation the company has ever produced.” The JuanaRoll is capable of producing up to 4,000 pre-rolls per hour. The company also made the JuanaOne, a more boutique machine suited to small, regional operators or any company with a lot of product changeover, strains and short runs. 

In the beginning, the cannabis workforce stood out to Taraborelli because never before had he seen workers so passionate and motivated. It’s a commitment he just didn’t see in other industries. Despite industry turnover, Taraborelli says this passion remains the same, but now cannabis has become a more mature industry with a different level of sophistication and greater fiscal responsibility. 

In this episode, Taraborelli talks about: 

  • How the level of sophistication has changed in the cannabis industry (2:12)
  • How Paxiom tooled up for cannabis (3:22)
  • The importance of working with legacy companies (9:57)
  • The industry stakeholders pushing for a higher level of automation (13:04)
  • The challenges of packing cannabis, including cone quality, environment stability, labor and processing (17:42) 
  • Debunking false claims from competitors and why Paxiom pursued NTEP certification (21:42)
  • Problems with demand following the cannabis Covid boom (28:43)
  • Packaging trends and how they have evolved, like the conversion from glass to plastic to metals (31:54) 
  • The demand ceiling for cannabis (35:33)
  • The increasing use of robotics in cannabis production (43:26)
  • How the cannabis industry is building a community that brings people together (48:31)

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