Sorting it Out: Tips for Buying a Commercial Bud Sorter

You need a commercial cannabis sorter if you want to scale your cultivation operation.

Let’s face it; you need to automate cannabis cultivation processes wherever possible. Adoption of harvest and post harvest automation in cannabis and hemp facilities usually starts with trimming and bucking. But that’s not where it should end!

Should you consider extending automating into your packing process with a bud sorter for your cannabis or hemp harvest?

If you want to save money on labor costs and produce a consistent product for your customers, yes, you do.

While it’s true that some cannabis or hemp growing operations are simply too small to justify an investment in an automated bud sorter (or so they think), larger companies can benefit in several ways:

  • A commercial bud sorter requires less labor and delivers a more consistent product. It separates buds by size for easier categorization and packaging.
  • A commercial bud sorter saves you money by ensuring smalls, shake, and “popcorn” buds for pre-rolls and extraction don’t go to waste.
  • A commercial sorter accelerates harvesting times, so hemp or cannabis buds aren’t impacted by less than favorable environmental conditions, like high or low humidity.
  • A quality commercial cannabis bud sorter handles buds delicately to avoid the trichome and terpene damage that can sometimes occur when hand sorting.

Before You Buy: What to Look for in a Bud Sorter

Automated bud sorters are relatively new to the market. A handful of companies sell cannabis sorters, but most are glorified industrial cheese graters that require manual operation. These machines lack the efficiency of a state-of-the-art bud sorter and can ultimately harm the bud. It would help if you looked for a fully-automated cannabis sorter when you’re ready to make a purchase.

Mark Van Harrison Jones of Arbor Vitae Consulting suggests looking for a stainless steel bud sorter you can justify by your ROI. He warns buyers to stay away from machines with plastic or rubber parts that can break down over time and get mixed in with your buds.

Ken “K” Murrow is the Founder of Trichome Technologies. He’s also a cannabis industry consultant. He offers these tips for purchasing a cannabis sorter:

  • make sure the machine is easily serviceable
  • that the parts are readily available
  • that the bud sorter is simple to operate

A bud sorter made from food-grade stainless steel should eliminate any contamination possibilities. They’re also easy-to-clean without special tools. A quality bud sorter is quiet when operating and doesn’t damage the bud through vibration. It should also offer several sorting settings based on your desired bud size. Finally, look for a parts and labor warranty that is backed by a reputable company.   

It’s all about the SORTING TABLE

The sorting table is the surface area of the bud sorter that actually functions to separate the different size buds. On most automated sorters, this is characterized by spaces on the table that go from narrow to wide. As the buds move down the table, they fall through gaps that correspond to their size. So the smallest buds fall through the narrowest gaps at the top of the table, while the largest buds fall through the widest gaps at the bottom of the table. When the bud falls through a gap, it is then funneled into a container with other buds of the same size.

The size or the length of the sorting table is important. The longer the sorting table, the more accurate and precise the sort will be. If you’re wondering which sorter has the longest sorting table in the industry, it is our very own Mobius Sorter.

Trichomes and Terpenes

Why is it essential to treat trichomes and terpenes with kid gloves?   Cannabis-Trichomes-1

Trichomes contain THC and CBD (not to mention at least 110 other cannabinoids we’re still learning about). Damaging trichomes is like scratching the paint off a new car.

Contained within the mostly transparent trichomes that are barely discernible to the naked eye are the terpenes. Terpenes are the aromas associated with different strains of cannabis, from tropical to fruity to earthy. They’re also delicate and easily damaged. That’s why it’s important to choose a sorter that doesn’t need to push or drag the buds across a perforated surface. Instead, opt for one that uses gravity or minor vibration to move the buds across the sorting table.

If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably time for you to talk with us about a cannabis sorter.

An automated bud sorting machine is the ticket to increased efficiency and cost reduction in our increasingly competitive market. The sooner you can sort your buds for processing, the better. A quality automated bud sorter is gentle and ensures a consistent medical and recreational cannabis product. That’s good news for the customer and good news for your bottom line.


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