You’ve probably seen stories on the local news about someone blowing up their apartment building trying to make butane hash oil and other concentrates. These explosions result in injuries, lots of property damage and sometimes even death.
Incidents of this kind are not confined to people in their homes, as a recent explosion at Higher Level Concentrates in Oregon highlights. Because of that case and others, the Oregon Health Authority is being rebuked by officials for not following through on inspections related to recent regulations put in place concerning the production of concentrates in the state. So far, over 100 processors have gotten away with not following through on their registrations and getting inspected, but all of that is about to change.
“In Oregon, as of January 1, if your operation is not in compliance with state public safety regulations working with volatile gases — butane, hexane, any of these gases that can create hydrocarbon gas — you are going to be out of business,” Dano Keys, CEO and Founder of FlexMod Solutions, told The Marijuana Times.
“Across the nation, hundreds of licensees that have gotten by with the equipment they had, are now not going to be able to. When they were just ‘getting by’ they were lucky no one got hurt. When an accident occurs with butane gas and you read about people blowing themselves up, they’re not following protocol and they don’t have a safe environment.”
Similar regulations governing extractions being implemented in states like California and Colorado have cannabis concentrate makers scrambling to find reasonable and cost-effective ways to be compliant with the state they are operating in.
Safety and Strict Compliance
The problem facing many companies is figuring out how to meet the requirements of these new regulations while at the same time not crippling their company’s bottom line. A safe and compliant space to make cannabis concentrates is not something you just go to Home Depot and pick up.
That is why Dano Keys created FlexMOD. More specifically, this is why FlexMOD created their modular extraction labs.
Most cannabis business owners have neither the expertise nor the time to create their own compliant extraction rooms. FlexMOD has done the research and work for them.
As Dano explained to us, compliance and safety costs money. “The components that are built into these labs, are very expensive and getting them engineered to work together in this system is difficult,” he said. “The components are manufactured for Class 1 Division 1 hazardous environments and are built not to create a spark. Our labs also have a specialized computer system that regulates it all. You put all these together and you know you got a pretty specialized room.”
Dano explained some of the modular extraction lab’s key features:
“Let me give you a little bit of the mechanics of this room, so you get a better idea. Everything in here is very specialized for preventing an explosion or a blast. The way the room is designed is to also create an environment that’s conducive for cannabis extraction. We made sure this works well for someone working with plant material and so it’s been specially designed for that, and there’s a slight breeze that’s constantly flowing through. It’s enough wind current to disperse gas.”
As Dano mentioned, the FlexMOD modular extraction labs are equipped with a gas detection alarm system that will initiate an indicator on the alarm when minimal levels of hazardous gas are detected. If the gas levels continue to rise, the system will activate an audible alarm, initiate an auxiliary exhaust system, and shut down power to the equipment inside the room. All of this takes place well before the dangerous gas levels defined by regulatory standards are reached.
Everything in FlexMOD’s modular extraction lab is designed to prevent the sparks that lead to dangerous explosions. Each unit is equipped with spark-proof exhaust fans. These, in conjunction with the temperature controlled air unit, use 100% outside fresh air to provide the required air flow rate over the equipment. The system also provides a slightly negative pressure within the lab to prevent hazardous gasses from leaking into surrounding areas.
Even the weatherproof electrical distribution panel is located on the exterior of the unit, outside of the hazardous area and out of the way. The entry door is of steel construction and equipped with an automatic closer, a panic exit device, and weather seals. Everything has been thought through and nothing has been left to chance.
The Best in the Business
FlexMOD knows you need to be compliant and flexible in the emerging cannabis industry. “All of this is built for public safety, and there’s a lot of engineering that’s gone into developing this,” Dano told us. “If you went to your local engineer or your local architect, they more than likely wouldn’t have the expertise on how to build one of these labs that will be required to comply with the strictest of regulatory rules.”
FlexMOD knew that cannabis extractors would need a compliant solution that they could implement quickly and efficiently without slowing production.
“We offer this modular extraction lab in a packaged solution. The environment itself is ready to go and we offer leasing programs so someone can buy this extraction lab, make payments on it and be up and running very quickly and very cost effectively. The labs are offered in a variety of sizes and configurations that can be customized. Our largest model is 12’ x 40’. We can also build these in place inside a warehouse.”
Another challenge Dano and his team have addressed is the education process producers struggle with when it comes to the local authorities. The FlexMOD team has many combined years of experience working with officials and they stress to their clients the importance of understanding compliance and regulatory rules in the their municipality or jurisdiction. “We have some intellectual property that makes our lab pretty special. We have a third-party engineering peer review, essentially a white paper, that says it meets the strict guidelines of a true Class 1 Division 1 environment recognized by all the states. The third-party engineering peer review is designed to educate officials on universal safety compliance.”
In other words, not only can you show local officials that you are compliant, you can show them exactly why you are compliant and all of the engineering that is behind it.
The Future is Here
While technology usually moves at a rapid pace, things have never moved faster when it comes to the technology surrounding the emerging cannabis industry. If you’re a business in that industry, it’s important that you have someone you can count on when it comes to regulation compliance and safety. And when it comes to the latest in extraction labs, that partner is FlexMOD.
To learn more about FlexMOD and their state-of-the-art extraction labs, visit their website at FlexMod.com.