How to Trim Cannabis on a Commercial Scale: Expert Tips


    Implementing the right commercial trimming strategy is crucial to the success of your cannabis business. Trimming isn’t just a way to make your cannabis flower look more attractive to consumers. A well-trimmed bud also improves customer experience by increasing potency—by removing sugar leaves with a lower concentration of trichomes—and reducing smoke harshness caused by excess moisture.

    Trim too much, and you risk losing potency; trim too little, and you risk disappointing your consumers. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize consistency in your trimming process. However, achieving consistent results with manual methods isn’t easy.

    That’s why many cannabis growers are turning to automation, using mechanical buckers and trimming machines to scale production without compromising product quality. Here’s your guide to enhancing, optimizing, and automating your commercial trimming process.

    commercial cannabis processing

    Understanding Commercial-Scale Trimming

    Implementing the right commercial trimming strategy can improve the performance and efficiency of your business all year round. It’s particularly important during harvest season when companies are dealing with large volumes of product. 

    An effective commercial trimming process ensures you can process more of your product quickly before mold, mildew, and other factors can deteriorate product quality. It’s how you ensure you deliver a consistent product according to a consistent schedule. 

    Automated Trimming for an Optimal Workflow

    cannabis trimmer

    Many smaller cannabis cultivators begin their business using traditional trimming and production methods. Hand trimming remains a popular option for artisanal, low-scale growers, who believe human trimmers using trimming scissors give them comprehensive control over their product. 

    However, as your brand has grown, you’ve likely discovered the benefits of using a machine for trimming. Cannabis trimming machines allow cultivators to remove excess marijuana plant material while preserving hand-trimmed quality in their products without compromising efficiency and scalability. 

    When you’re looking to scale your business and increase efficiency and volume, a throughput trimmer is a great option. An automated trimming strategy, supported by conveyors (infeed, outfeed, and autofeed options) and mechanical buckers, saves your business significant time and can help to minimize the risk of deterioration to your cannabis plants. An automated approach delivers:

    • Simplicity: 74% of growers in one report said hand trimming was their most significant post-harvest challenge. Automated systems simplify the trimming process, saving you time and reducing the need to hire employees who require extensive training. 
    • Consistency: Specialized automated trimming machines can remove excess leaves and stems as accurately and carefully as hand trimmers. Some solutions, like the M108S, can even allow you to customize the trimming process to your specific needs, accommodating both dry and wet trimming. 
    • Speed: Automation saves cannabis growers significant time on a crucial post-harvest process. For a cannabis cultivator trying to scale their operations, automated tools deliver faster results, predictability, and a quicker time to market. 

    Speak with a trimming expert today.

    Wet or Dry Trim at Commercial Scale?

    Not all trimming solutions are suitable for both wet and dry trimming. Some modern trimming machines like the Mobius M108S trimmer give you the option to wet trim or dry trim. This means you can choose the method best suited to your drying process. 

    For instance, you might choose a wet trimming strategy when you have limited space for drying whole branches after harvesting your cannabis plants. Alternatively, you might choose dry trimming when you want to reduce the risk of mold and benefit from the handling simplicity offered by firmer dried buds. 

    What to Look for in a Commercial Trimming Machine

    Ultimately, investing in an automated trimming strategy is one of the best ways to prepare your business for commercial growth. Today’s leading mechanical tools allow cannabis cultivators to preserve excellent product quality while scaling their operations. 

    Of course, it’s important to ensure you’re choosing the right machinery for your commercial trimming process. Some of the key points worth looking at include:

    • Speed and efficiency: One of the most significant benefits of an automated trimming solution is the opportunity to boost speed and efficiency. For example, the Mobius M108S can process up to 120 lbs of wet or 60 lbs of dry cannabis plant material per hour, offering exceptional speed. 
    • Gentle handling: Aggressive machine trimming to remove sugar leaves can harm cannabis flower and crucial trichomes. Choosing a machine that preserves the integrity of your plants and their unique components is crucial for preserving the consistency of your product.
    • Adjustable settings: An excellent trimming machine should adapt to your needs. The right solution will allow you to adjust your process for different cultivars and moisture levels. It should also give you comprehensive control over settings like the tumbler and blade speeds. 
    • Ease of maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial for preserving your trimming machine’s performance and industry standards like GMP compliance. Products like the Mobius M108S feature food-grade stainless steel for easy cleaning and removable parts so you can minimize the risk of contamination.
    • Reputation: Examining the reviews of a trimming machine and insights from other consumers can give you a clearer insight into what to expect. 

    The Mobius M108S Bud Trimmer

    If you’re searching for the ultimate commercial-scale cannabis bud trimmer to optimize and scale your operations, the Mobius M108S could be the perfect solution. Designed to eliminate the problems caused by other legacy machines, this trimmer goes above and beyond industry standards. 

    M108S Cannabis Trimmer

    The AirThread Tension Tumbler of the M108S requires no adjustments, ensuring hand-trimmed quality every time with minimal effort. Using surgical-grade stainless steel bed knives, the M108S delivers faster trimming and shorter residency times while preserving crucial trichomes. 

    What’s more, the AirThread Tension Tumbler provides more than 50% increased access to the blades than industry competitors, reducing the product handling in the machine for better potency and market value. Cannabis growers can even leverage integrated vacuum and trim collection systems to reduce cleaning issues and capture high-value trim for use in secondary processing. Plus, every aspect of the trimmer is adjustable to suit your specific requirements.

    Learn more about the Mobius M108S trimmer here

    Tips for a Successful Automated Trimming Process

    Planning an effective cannabis trimming process is crucial to preserving the quality of your product and the reputation of your brand. Here are a few key tips to consider when you’re implementing an upgraded, automated trimming strategy for your commercial facility:

    1. Assess Your Needs Carefully

    Carefully assess your needs before investing in automated machine trimming solutions. To begin, it’s important to identify the goals for your product. Each cannabis product or SKU you want to create may require a different, nuanced approach to trimming. For instance, with loose buds, you might be more focused on preserving size and visual appeal, whereas products intended for extractions may tolerate a less precise cut. 

    Planning for your future requirements, as well as your current production strategy is equally essential. You’ll need to assess not only the tools and solutions you need for your current production volumes but also how you might need to expand your solutions as your business scales. As demand grows and your product lines expand, your trim room and trimming techniques must also evolve. 

    Investing in easily upgradable and extensible equipment can streamline this transition, allowing you to add more advanced technology and accessories, like conveyors, when necessary. If you need help planning for your new automation strategy, reach out to the Mobius team here

    1. Choose a Reliable Trimmer

    The next step is selecting a reliable automated trimmer that adheres to your specific requirements. Based on your need assessment, you may need to consider a range of factors, such as the presence of a vacuum in the trimmer, which can ensure a cleaner cut by removing excess leaves and stems immediately, reducing contamination, and preserving the potency of each trimmed bud. 

    A good trimmer should also feature solutions for collecting removed marijuana plant material and preserving prepared buds, allowing for the easy recovery of materials that can be used for extracts, edibles, and other products. Ease of operation and maintenance are also vital. 

    Cultivators should search for machines that feature user-friendly and intuitive controls, as well as easy access to components for comprehensive cleaning. This will reduce unnecessary downtime and the need for specialized training to preserve the technology. Additionally, it’s worth considering the trimmer’s adaptability to different strains, cannabis bud sizes, and trimming methods. The ability to adjust settings can make a significant difference in the quality of your final product. 

    1. Expand on your Technology

    Once you’ve invested in automated and intelligent trimming solutions, it’s time to look at ways to expand your operations, configuring your trim room to accommodate higher levels of automation. An automated trimmer may be just the first tool you use to scale your cannabis operation. You can take your process to the next level with a mechanical cannabis bucker to save you time manually removing flowers from the cannabis plant. 

    Cannabis Bucker

    In fact, it is best to use a bucking machine with an automated cannabis trimmer to keep production flowing. It’s key to have your bucking volume exceed your trimming capacity, so there is always bucked flower ready to feed into your trimmer. The idea is to avoid bottlenecks in processing that could cause downtime.

    You could also integrate tools like the M180S trimmer with automated infeed and outfeed conveyors, mills, and sorters. An integrated conveyor system can effectively enhance the movement of products from one stage of processing to the next, significantly reducing manual handling, and the risk of product contamination, damage, or loss. It can also assist in enhancing consistency in your production process. 

    Automating and enhancing your commercial trimming strategy isn’t just about installing the right equipment. You’ll also need to create a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure that guides employees on how to optimize the use of each piece of technology. This will serve as a blueprint for guiding staff through each stage of the processing journey. 

    1. Prepare your facility

    Ensuring your facility has optimal conditions for a trim room is essential for maintaining product quality and worker comfort. A well-designed facility should prioritize proper air and atmosphere control, ensuring humidity and temperature levels are maintained within the optimal range to preserve your plants and products. 

    Most experts recommend preserving a temperature of between 60-70°F for trimming rooms, as well as a humidity level of between 44-55%, to ensure a stable environment for both products and personnel. The right atmosphere control will help to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria and preserve the potency and integrity of your product. 

    Proper lighting is also critical, as it ensures that your employees have access to the proper visibility without introducing excessive heat. Additionally, a careful approach to ventilation and air circulation is vital. Ventilation will ensure your working environment remains comfortable, and plants have access to plenty of fresh air. High-quality HVAC systems and air filters can help improve the environment within cannabis processing spaces and aid in atmosphere management. 

    As an extra step, it’s important to develop regular cleaning schedules that will maintain the conditions of your facility. Outline daily, weekly, and monthly tasks clearly to prevent contamination and buildup of plant material, which could lead to issues with product quality and worker health.

    1. Train Your Staff

    Finally, while automated trimming requires less manual labor, the right employees are still crucial. You’ll need to think carefully about the positions you should fill and each staff member’s roles and responsibilities. 

    Once you’ve defined the employees you need, make sure they’re trained effectively. Your approach to training should be comprehensive, covering not just the right methodologies for operating trimming equipment and technology, but also safety protocols, quality control measures, and product handling best practices. 

    When onboarding new employees, an initial training period of at least one to two weeks is usually essential to ensure staff feel confident and proficient in their roles. During this time, combine theoretical learning with hands-on sessions to cover all aspects of the trimming process and workplace safety. When new technologies are introduced into an organization, adequate training can help drive adoption and reduce unnecessary downtime. 

    cannabis trimming

    What’s more, remember to include ongoing education and skill development opportunities in the future. Implement regular training updates, workshops, and feedback sessions to keep staff up to date on industry best practices and technological advancements. 

    Aside from training employees, it’s important to equip them with the right resources and utilize your staff effectively. Ensure each team member has access to the right protective equipment, such as safety glasses and gloves, as well as resources like scissors and cleaning equipment.

    Make sure employees are organized in a manner that minimizes unnecessary movement but allows for easy communication and collaboration. For instance, positioning staff in a circular configuration around trimming and processing equipment can help to reduce bottlenecks.

    Optimizing Your Commercial Trimming Strategy

    An efficient approach to commercial trimming is crucial to scaling your cannabis business. Trimming will always be an essential post-harvest process, but it doesn’t have to be complex, time-consuming, or expensive. With the right automated systems and tools, you can quickly scale your cannabis operation without compromising product quality or profits. 

    Investing in a reliable and high-quality bud trimmer like the M108S, implementing automated trimming strategies, and leveraging the benefits of the latest technology will give you a much-needed edge over the competition.

    Reach out to Mobius today to learn how our innovative technology can help you scale your cannabis business, improve efficiency, and enhance the trimming process. 

    Talk to an expert today about your trimming process.

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