How To Measure Cannabis Trimming Machine Performance: What Matters and What Doesn’t
With automated cannabis trimming machines, it can be tough to cut through the marketing hype to get an accurate picture of performance. That’s why we’ve done it for you. Below you’ll find our list of the measurements that matter and the measurements that don’t.
- Feed Rate
When you’re talking about the SPEED of an automated trimmer, the only truly accurate and comparable measurement is the FEED RATE. We’ve written about this extensively, which you can see in our blog How We Measure. What it comes down to, though, is that in today’s cannabis world there are far too many variables and unknowns if you are trying to measure the output. Is it wet or dry? If wet, are you talking about the weight when it’s dried? What about the trim, are you weighing that? Are you weighing it when its wet or dry? If you’re using your products for extracts, are you weighing the extracts? You can’t compare batches or product types when trying to measure the SPEED of your automated trimmer based on the output. That’s why it only makes sense to measure the FEED RATE, or the input.
- Time to Clean
It’s overlooked as a measure of performance, but should always be included. Time to clean is down-time, but you’re still burning labour hours. Let’s say you have a trimmer that has a feed rate of 25 lbs per hour, but it then takes 3 hours to clean it. Compare that to a trimmer with a feed rate of 10 lbs per hour, but it only takes 20 minutes to clean. If you’re just looking at feed rate (speed) as the only performance measurement, then you might miss that the second trimmer could potentially be a better choice for your facility.
- Trim Quality
The leaves that are trimmed off your flowers still retain value for use in extracts, but only if the quality is preserved. If the leaves are sent through an impeller after being trimmed, they’ll be reduced to mush, and not viable for extracts. Quality trim = money. So when evaluating a trimmer, be sure to note the quality of the trim, as well as if you need any extra equipment or components to retain high-quality trim. (Tip: The Mobius Trimmer M108 is the ONLY trimmer on the market that has a trim separator built into the unit.)
- Labor Requirements
Straight-forward, but always ask how many people are needed to operate your automated trimmer at a commercial level. A trimmer that has an extremely high feed rate but needs an army of people to work QC won’t be as effective as a trimmer that has a slightly slower feed rate but needs minimal QC touch.
- Cuts Per Minute
This is a useless measurement invented by marketers. When somebody uses the term “cuts per minute” they aren’t referring to the actual number of times a blade contacts a flower. It’s simply indicating how many times two cutting edges make contact with each other. Then multiple that by how many openings are in a sheet metal tumbler (you’ll typically hear this measurement when referencing a perforated, sheet-metal tumbler), and multiply again by 60 to get cuts per minute. Having your blades spin faster would increase your “cuts per minute measurement” while not having any impact on performance (in some cases, reducing performance), which is why this makes no sense as a performance measurement. It’s simply a big, impressive number that sounds important in marketing campaigns.
- Cutting “Reel” Size
Despite claims to the contrary, tests prove that the size of the cutting real makes no difference to the performance of an automated trimming machine. What DOES make a difference is the total length of the cutting surface. The Mobius Trimmer M108 has 3 blade cartridges, each are 36” long, so has a total of 108” of cutting surface.
- Tumbler size
Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. If the cutting surface that touches the product remains the same, increasing the tumbler size won’t make a difference. Have you seen those massive concrete-mixer size tumblers out there in operation? There’s just a small bit of product at the bottom. It’s mostly open space.
Now you know what matters and what doesn’t when measuring cannabis trimming machine performance. You can cut through the marketing hype and make educated comparisons, and pick the best equipment for your facility.