Automation and All-In-One Systems

Published on: 
Cannabis Science and Technology, January/February 2024, Volume 7, Issue 1
Pages: 18-19

Columns | <b>Extraction Science</b>

The cannabis industry continues to demand high purity cannabis extracts at a low cost. Here, we investigate the opportunities and challenges as manufacturers implement automation and scaling up production.

The cannabis industry continues to demand high purity cannabis extracts at a low cost. The demand has forced innovation within extraction and refinement. Many manufacturers are seeking automation, consolidating systems and process steps, and scaled up equipment. This article seeks to understand the opportunities and challenges as manufacturers implement automation and scaling up production.

Cannabis extraction technology has undergone significant advancements in recent years, driven by the need for cost effective, efficient, and standardized production processes. The cannabis industry continues to demand high purity cannabis extracts at a low cost. The demand has forced innovation within extraction and refinement. Many manufacturers are implementing automation, scaling up equipment, and consolidating systems and process steps. This article explores the latest developments in cannabis extraction technology, with a focus on automation and scaled-up methods. This includes the key technological innovations, their benefits, and potential challenges in the quest for improved efficiency and product quality.


Automation in cannabis extraction is a critical aspect of modernizing the industry, offering several advantages in terms of efficiency, precision, and quality control. Automated solvent extraction systems have become prevalent in the cannabis industry, enabling precise control over extraction parameters. These systems utilize advanced robotics and computerized controls to optimize the extraction and enhance the efficiency and reproducibility. Below are several ways in which automation can be effectively utilized in cannabis extraction:

  • Precision in solvent handling: Automated systems can precisely control the introduction and recovery of solvents in the extraction process. This ensures accurate and consistent ratios of solvent and solute.
  • Temperature and pressure control: Automation allows for real-time monitoring and control of temperature and pressure. Automated temperature monitoring is beneficial for automated ethanol extraction where the temperature of the solvent dramatically impacts the extraction. Automated temperature and pressure monitoring is particularly important for techniques like supercritical fluid extraction, where precise conditions are crucial for optimal cannabinoid and terpene extraction and separation. Temperature and pressure monitoring can often happen remotely, giving operators the flexibility to work on other processes during passive extraction time.
  • Data logging and analysis: Automation allows for the continuous monitoring and recording of key parameters during extraction. This data can be analyzed to optimize processes, troubleshoot issues, and ensure consistency across batches.
  • Quality control: Automation can be used during extraction and refinement processes to monitor and verify the quality of the extracted compounds. This includes analyzing the concentration of the target compounds and identifying any contaminants. This documents real-time extraction and refinement progress and efficiency.
  • Adaptive control systems: Advanced automation can incorporate adaptive control algorithms that adjust extraction parameters in real-time based on variations in raw material characteristics. This adaptability contributes to consistent product quality and efficient extraction, even when working with different batches of cannabis. Adaptability also facilitates the creation and implementation of extraction methods specific for desired chemical profiles. This is especially relevant for optimizing the extraction of specific cannabinoids or terpenes, allowing for tailored products to meet market demands.
  • Robotic handling of raw materials: Robots can be used for the precise weighing, handling, and introduction of cannabis biomass into the extraction equipment. This reduces the likelihood of errors and ensures uniformity in the starting material.

Scaling Up

One straightforward approach to scale up extraction is to increase the size of individual extraction equipment. This allows for processing larger volumes of raw materials in a single batch, improving overall throughput. However, there are several ways to scale up extraction and output without solely relying on larger equipment. Below are some ways to increase throughput without increasing the size of any one piece of equipment.

  • Parallel processing: Multiple extraction units can be operated simultaneously in parallel. This parallel processing approach increases overall extraction capacity without the need for significantly larger individual units. This also allows for manufacturing to continue in the event of an extraction system maintenance issue. If one large unit is utilized for extraction and experiences a maintenance issue, the manufacturing stops until the issue is resolved. If many smaller units are utilized and one unit has a maintenance issue, the other units can continue operating.
  • Continuous flow systems: Transitioning from batch processing to continuous flow systems can significantly enhance scalability. Continuous extraction systems operate continuously, minimizing downtime between batches and allowing for a more seamless scalable production process. Continuous flow can be especially effective for ethanol extraction, solvent recovery, and distillation.


Automation and scaling up processes bring numerous benefits to cannabis extraction and refinement, however, there are also associated challenges. The benefits and drawbacks of automation should be carefully considered when manufacturers are considering whether or not to implement automation in all or part of their processes or to scale up production methods.

The initial investment, technical expertise required for implementation and setup, and the need for consistent maintenance, calibration, and monitoring, are all vital for harnessing the benefits of automation and methods of scaling up.

Closing Thoughts

The advancements in cannabis extraction technology, driven by automation and scaled-up methods, mark a significant leap forward in the industry. These innovations offer improved efficiency, scalability, and consistency in the production of cannabis-derived products. While challenges exist, the continued integration of cutting-edge technology is essential for meeting the demands of a rapidly growing market and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the cannabis industry. As technology continues to evolve, further refinements and innovations are expected, shaping the future landscape of cannabis extraction.

About the Columnist

Lo Friesen is the founder, CEO, and Chief Extractor of Heylo. With a background in chemistry and clinical research, Lo was inspired to explore cannabis as a medicine and to enter the emerging industry. She joined Eden Labs, a leading CO2 extraction equipment manufacturer to support and expand a Research and Development department. There she managed the development of their latest and greatest CO2 extraction system. In 2017, after working with Eden Labs and another cannabis processor, Lo launched Heylo with a mission to help people get more out of life with cannabis.

How To Cite this Article

Friesen, L., Automation and All-In-One Systems, Cannabis Science and Technology20247(1), 18-19.