February 21, 2018

Innovations in Machine Trimming

Gary Fast, a longtime member of the sales team at Triminator, speaks about the growing pressure on farmers to implement cost-saving measures. From what Fast has seen, in competitive markets, it's getting more and more challenging for producers to turn a profit.



Commercial growers are witnessing the bottoming out of cannabis prices. Prices per pound, in certain areas, are hovering around the $1000 marker. Considering hand trimming typically eats up at a minimum $200 (or 20 percent) of the margin, there leaves little wiggle room for profit.

Image is courtesy of Triminator®

Exploring new methods of automation, including trimming machines, is the next logical step in the quest to improve profit margins. While Fast admits there are pockets of resistance among some traditional growers, who firmly believe hand trimming produces a better final bud, Triminator isn’t dead set on proving them wrong. As in any business, some growers will focus on premium, handcrafted product, while others will seek modes of mass production. Nevertheless, there is a growing space for automation as cannabis becomes an increasingly competitive and industrialized business.

Fast admits there is a learning curve, a Triminator transition period, as nervous growers explore the possibilities presented by automatic trimming machines. Understandably some growers are still hesitant to put their carefully grown product into a machine. But according to Fast, as companies continue their market expansion, a trimmer becomes a cost-saving solution. The quality of the final product doesn't take the hit that most users initially expect.

 

The Product Lineup

The Triminator product lineup caters to everyone in the market, from the at home growers with only a few pounds produced per year, all the way up to companies moving into full-blown industrialization. While their lineup focuses primarily on fully automated trimming machines, Triminator hasn’t forgotten about their roots. They still sell the Triminator Crew Scissors, because they recognize that machine trimming is a very personal decision.

Triminator’s line of machines starts off small with the Triminator Mini: a small, tabletop dry trimmer, capable of processing three to five pounds an hour. It offers solutions for the home grower, who perhaps for medical reasons can no longer trim their own harvest. It's even a great entry point for commercial growers, who prefer a more compact and economical option for their operation.

At the larger end of the spectrum sits the Triminator XL, capable of pumping out 60 lbs of fully trimmed cannabis an hour. Obviously geared towards large commercial operations, it offers superior solutions for streamlining production. Its benefit becomes especially apparent when analyzing how much labor is required to hand trim 60 lbs of cannabis.

Although wet trimming was where Triminator began, they now carry both wet and dry trim machines. Fast notes that each type of machine comes with certain advantages, depending on the area of focus. Wet machines are capable of handling large harvests,  separating the leaves early on and allowing the farmer to focus on the flower. Wet trimming also seems to generate higher trichome retention.

At the other end of the spectrum sits the dry trim philosophy, which seems to be the direction the industry is moving. Dry trimming is increasingly preferred because it allows more time for the curing process, and produces buds with higher terpene profiles. Because of the heighten terpene levels, dry, trimmed products are destined for concentrates and extracts.

 

Innovations in Machine Trimming

Many of the trimming machines currently on the market require continuous lubrication. Although more reputable companies strive to use natural hemp-based oils, this isn't always the case. As laboratory results play an increasing role in quality control, it's problematic to rely on any form of lubrication, as it dramatically increases the risk of contamination.

Triminator prides itself on their proprietary cutting material, which has eliminated the need for lubricants across all models of trimmers. Trimintor's focus on quality and additive free cannabis production extends into their relatively new line of rosin presses. Not only do they work to maintain the purity of the product during the trim phase, but they also now work to preserve that purity through chemical and additive free extraction models.