8 questions to answer before automating the packaging of legal cannabis edibles
Considering automating the packaging of your legal cannabis edible products?
You're in good company! We've seen exponentially-increasing interest for packaging automation in this market, both in the US and Canada.
Are you ready to reach out to a cannabis packaging machine company for more information and a proposal? Awesome!
But first, be prepared to answer a few important questions. Our experts outline the top 8 to prepare for below:
1. What is your current packaging process like?
One of the first things a packaging machine manufacturer will need to know is what your current packaging process looks like. They will ask you things like:
- What are the steps of your current packaging process?
- How fast are you packaging your product right now (bags per minute)?
- Do you have any automated packaging equipment at your facility right now, or are you manually weighing, filling, and sealing everything?
- What are your bag types and sizes?
2. What would you like your future packaging process to look like?
To recommend and quote the best cannabis packaging equipment for your needs, the packing machine manufacturer needs to know what your goals are. Be prepared to answer questions like:
- How fast do you want to package your cannabis edible product (bags per minute)?
- Are you open to changing your bag type/size if necessary or is that a non-option?
- How many people comprise your packaging workforce and are they skilled or unskilled labor?
- Do you have any budgetary restrictions for cannabis packaging equipment purchases?
3. Are your cannabis edibles chilled or at room temperature?
Generally, the colder the edibles are, the easier they move through the packaging system. This is especially important for candies and gummies that can be sticky at room temperature. Additionally, if your product is a gummy-type, we need to know if they are sugar-coated or oiled.
If your product is not chilled or has properties that make it sticky, don't fret. A packing machine manufacturer can still recommend a solution for you.
4. What is the bulk density of the product?
Bulk density is a numerical representation of the 'flowability' of your product and how much it will compact under pressure. Dry, non-sticky products like cookies usually flow freely and don't have much give when placed under pressure. On the other hand, chewy candies like gummies may not flow as freely and will compact a fair deal under pressure.
Why is this important? Your product's properties directly inform package sizes and attributes, the type of multi-head scale required to weigh them, and the packaging speeds that can be achieved. These are all important factors that a packing machine manufacturer must know to recommend the best cannabis packaging machine for your needs.
5. What are your weight tolerances?
Cannabis products, like pharmaceuticals, have strict weight and dosing tolerances. Cannabis packing machine companies need to know this to recommend a multi-head scale that will weigh your product to within legal requirements. Allowable weight variances differ depending on your location and can change as new laws are passed. To be certain, always contact your local governing body to confirm.
6. Is there any variance in size between the cannabis edible pieces?
Generally, homogenous products with little to no size variance are easier (and quicker) to weigh and package. If the system must reject a piece to keep your bag weights within tolerances, variable pieces can be an issue.
If you do have varying piece sizes, no worries, just let your packing machine manufacturer know so they can recommend suitable equipment.
7. How much space do you have available for packaging equipment?
Luckily, automated cannabis packaging machines can be designed with a relatively small footprint. Rotary pouch fill and seal machines, which are very popular for cannabis edibles, work especially well in tight spaces. They are configured to package items in a circular fashion, which takes up way less space than a machine that packages in a straight horizontal line.
Be aware, however, that integrating the packing machine with a multi-head scale to weigh your product will require additional space, usually in the vertical plane.
8. Do you have existing packaging equipment that you would like to keep using?
Many times growing companies will invest in pieces of packaging automation before committing to a full system. For instance, many cannabis companies will often already have a scale they have been using to weigh their products before manually filling them into bags and sealing them.
If you would like to keep using the equipment you currently have by integrating it into a fully automated packaging system, that is something your packing machine manufacturer needs to know. Sometimes it can be done, and other times it is best to source new equipment. Once your cannabis packaging machine company knows the details about your current equipment they can provide recommendations.
Need some guidance? We're here for you.
Feeling a little overwhelmed when you think about everything you need to know to purchase the best cannabis packaging machine for your business? Breathe easy, and download our free First-Time Buer's Guide, written by our experts to guide you through the process.