Now you know how these very similar distillation processes work and how they can benefit your production.
Image courtesy of Buchi.
Where other methods employ solvents to help the extract material move or flow through the process, these systems take advantage of the melting points of cannabinoids instead.
Benefits of Short Path Distillation
Heavier material like the chlorophyll, sugars, salts, and wax fractions are unable to evaporate off the surface of the evaporation vessel wall and so they travel, via the wiper blades, into a separate container which is also at the bottom. A separate and chilled evaporator captures the terpenes in their own flask.
These compact systems are set up with a feed vessel sending extract material into a heated evaporation vessel. Inside this evaporation vessel is a rotating wiper blade that evenly distributes the extract material onto the vessel walls. The extract material only spends a short amount of time on the wall to limit heat exposure and any degradation to the material.
To further improve product refinement, each process can have the extract material run through them multiple times. Similar to the wiped film process, this setup is also relatively compact and lends well to multiple devices working simultaneously in a smaller space.
Let’s take a look at how the short path wiped film distillation process works.
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❓ Why does removing volatiles before the first distillation pass matter so much?
The goal of the first distillation pass is to remove as many of the terpenes as possible. If these are removed well in pass 1, it will allow for higher performance during pass 2, with less flashing and greater vacuum, throughput, purity, yield, and clarity. However, if the feed to pass 1 also contains leftover solvent—typically ethanol—it weakens the overall operating vacuum, (no matter what type of, or how large the vacuum pumps are), leading to less terpene removal. This has a spillover effect because pass 2 is burdened with more terpenes in the feed, diminishing the above-mentioned performance and results of this pass. It’s best to have much less than 0.5% solvent in the pass 1 feed.
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Wiped-Film Still technology takes advantage of the scientific fact that each chemical substance has a characteristic vapor pressure. It is this relative difference in vapor pressures which dictates how compounds can be separated into their constituent components. Short Path Distillation utilizes fine temperature and pressure controls to volatilize and re-condense cannabinoid constituents based on their boiling point s and molecular weight s . This allows you to purify and concentrate desired cannabinoid fractions from raw cannabis or hemp extract.
Distillation is a post-processing method performed after the main solvent extraction of cannabis or hemp. Several distillation methods are used in the industry but they all aim to achieve the same goal of consistent pure product. One pass typically distills off any remaining volatile solvents, water and gases, and another pass distills off and collects the main product – normally THC distillate or CBD distillate. Additional passes can be performed for terpene removal or other specifics.
Maratek’s Wiped Film Distillation Systems: Thin Film Distillation System Single Stage, Thin Film Distillation System 2 Stage, run on a continuous operation basis with extremely short residence times and little exposure to heat, providing the highest quality of THC & CBD oils. Our units are all stainless steel fully-automated solutions with UL/CSA electrical components. With units scattered throughout North America, these are one of the most popular cannabis distillation units in the industry.