Editors Note: This is a guest post.
With producers across both the legal cannabis and hemp CBD markets looking for new ways to increase the brands and products they have under their umbrella – pre-rolls have become a go to option! Largely, it’s because pre-rolls are the most traditional form of smoking and one of the most sociable forms of cannabis consumption. As pre-roll sales have continued to grow, the introduction of new pre-roll machines have automated parts of the production or made other parts stress-free.
Previously, labor-intensive tasks, such as putting a label on a joint tube, or putting the flower into each pre-roll cone was a super manual, time-consuming, and costly manufacturing step for such an insignificant part of the pre-roll production process. Now, it is time for many of the steps in pre-roll production to be completely automated or even outsourced. These 5 pre-roll manufacturing machines have increased profitability across the board, while also decreasing the barriers of entry for anyone looking to create a pre-roll line. This has undoubtedly made a race to acquire the best pre-roll machines, which most importantly, either significantly improve the smoking experience, or save the company a massive amount of time and money.
- Grind-Sizer (Industrial Cannabis Grinder) – One thing we’ve learned from constantly talking to farmers and producers – it all starts with the grind. Production manager after production manager has told us, the manner in which you grind the hemp or cannabis is a pivotal step in the pre-roll process. Many companies out there are still using blenders or food processors to grind their cannabis or hemp flower. Blenders are cheap and easy, but they pulverize your flower into total dust. Getting the right consistency in the grind is vital, as pulverizing the flower will only produce a canoeing pre-roll joint once it’s smoked. Moreover, pulverized flower sometimes causes a pre-roll to be packed too tightly and thus there is no air-flow for a proper hit.
The Grind-Sizer solves this problem that has troubled the market, by using its 3 specially designed mesh screens to have the flower constantly come out fluffy. Since the machine uses high torque, instead of quickly spinning blades, it prevents the flower from getting heated and turning to powder, also maintaining all the terpenes. You can consistently put 1 pound of flower into its hopper per minute, making it perfect for bulk production. With its stainless steel and industrial material, it also makes it great for long term use. All the parts can also be taking apart, making it easy to clean and transportable. You can also get multiple blades or screens, if you didn’t want no down time. New attachments, like the larger chute and bucket, also make it upgradeable. Surprisingly, it is also affordable, making this a must for anyone trying to start or upgrade their pre-roll process.
2. Sluice Box – As a producer looking to convert raw flower into pre-rolls, the main thing you’re looking for in a machine is ease of use and the volume that it can produce per shift. When it comes to cone filling machines, the Sluice Box exceeds in both these categories. With a simple, 1 button operation, and the capacity to do 400 cones per tray, the Sluice Box shows it can pump out bulk pre-rolls both consistently and reliably. Using its powerful motor, the coordinated vibration effortlessly moves all the flower immediately down to the bottom of each cone.
With a capacity of 400 pre-rolls per tray, not only is the amount of pre-rolled cones it can hold much higher than other knockboxes, but each packing tray can also be customized to fit any sized cone like mini cones (Dog Walkers) or even pre-rolled tubes, increasing the number of SKUs you can mass produce with one machine. You can drop each cone easily in the tailored holes. It also comes with dividers that can be placed on the trays and allows you to pack multiple strains in one run. You can also get multiple packing trays to amplify production, as one person can do their run, and immediately another person with 400 pre-roll cones in a tray can start theirs.
3. Cone Packer 300 – Just like in any industry, there is competition. The Cone Packer 300 is that with the Sluice Box, however it has distinctive features that do make it standout. Its variable speed control motor allows you to control the vibration and in turn, control how loose or tight you want your pre-rolls to be. Additionally, instead of holding down the power button, as with the Sluice Box, once you flip on the Cone Packer 300 – you control the rate of packing with the variable speed controller, until you power it totally off.
The Cone Packer 300 comes with 2 packing trays, which instantly helps increase your production by providing your team with an extra tray, so while one team member is packing empty pre-rolled cones, another member can take the filled pre-rolls and start weighing/sealing those. Like the Sluice Box, you can quickly drop each pre-rolled cone in each hole. Coming in at a lower price range, it is a perfect alternative if your pre-roll process is under a tighter budget. The Cone Packer 300 is also made out of stainless steel and food-grade aerospace plastics, making it extremely durable and ready for any conditions.
4. CannaLabeler Pro – Pre-roll tubes have proven themselves as being the easiest and most affordable way to package pre-rolls in a child resistant container. With this, has come along the need to label those pre-roll tubes, in order to stand out on shelves and to keep the branding consistent. While labeling by hand can seem like the best option, many have proven how this not only hurts the hand of the person doing it, but makes the placement of the label look unprofessional and inconsistent. In effort to solve this, the CannaLabeler Pro comes in and works with both pre-roll tubes and flower jars. You put in a roll of customized labels and pull down the lever to have the label applied onto the joint tube or glass flower jar automatically. The canna labeler can label 15-18 pieces per minute. Not only is it easy to apply the labels, but gets the labels applied consistently and straight on the tube.
You can also start with the beginner version of this machine, with the CannaLabeler Starter, which is more manual (non-electric), but can also get any in house labeling done. You can also trade in the Starter machine for 80% of value to upgrade to the Pro version. As consumers start to put more importance into the packaging, they receive their flower in, labeling for pre-roll tubes has become equally important.
5. Perfect Pack 180 – Together with the pre-roll market, there has been a revival of cigarette tubes made specifically for CBD/Hemp. The tubes for CBD / Hemp mirror in look to tobacco cigarettes however they try to use thinner paper, high-flow filters and eco-friendly materials. The reason is that unlike tobacco, CBD and Hemp has a strong, enjoyable flavor that consumers want to taste – thinner paper and high-flow filters speak to that consumer preference, allowing more of the flavor of the flower to shine through.
However, the way that tobacco was packed into cigarette tubes at smaller scaled proved to be a challenge for hemp and CBD. Previous versions of RYO filling devices for tobacco cigarette tubes were not working because they used a spoon-injection mechanism that doesn’t work with sticky material like premium hemp (>6% CBD) and most THC cannabis. What would happen is either the spoon quickly jams due to resin build up or you don’t get a compact enough pack creating an undesirable soft spot right next to the filter.
The Perfect Pack 180 has solved this by using a screw injection mechanism, which prevents it from being jammed when sticky material is used. You simply place the tube on the filling rod, adjust how compact you want the fill, and push the power button until the cigarette tube is filled. The Perfect Pack 180 ensures that the cigarette tube is packed evenly throughout from the base of the filter to the tip of the cigarette. You can easily use sticky hemp or cannabis.
After being timed, it was shown that the machine can average 180 cigarettes per hour, which is perfect for starters. You can also have the cigarette boxes or any pre-roll packaging sitting next to the packer to create a pre-roll production line – packing each tube into the final packaging as it is filled. Each machine is a small capital expenditure at the low price at $50 each. To reach greater scale you can create of farm of them to reach the volume you need before spending $100,000+ to go fully automated.
Overwrapping Machine – Since paper packaging has seen a resurgence, due to new CR designs and Hemp/CBD cigarette pre-rolls being a staple, there has been a search to keep them fresh just like how cigarettes are. Have you ever noticed the outside of a cigarette box is wrapped in plastic? This plastic is often called cellophane but is in actuality BOPP, which stand for bi-axially oriented polypropylene. This plastic wrapping is a moisture, germ, and dust barrier for the cigarettes which help to keep them clean and fresh!
There are machines which automate the overwrapping process, but the price range has largely ostracized the pre-roll market as most pre-roll manufacturers don’t have the volume to justify automated overwrapping equipment. The overwrapping machine for cannabis manufacturers changes this, as its’ tabletop size makes it possible for you to quickly seal the package in BOPP. You can also add the gold tear tape attachment to the machine this will add a golden tape across the cellophane so that the consumer can easily open their pre-roll. The overwrapping machines affordable price tag, ease of use, and the number of sealed products it can do per day, make it essential for pre-roll multi-packs.
Heat Shrink Wrapping Machine – While joint labels are popular, the shrink sleeve wraps are challenging their position. Each shrink sleeve wrap can be fully customized and at the same time, can also serve as a tamper-resistant seal. It makes the pre-roll tube look much more modern and with creative designs, can also make it look luxury. In order for the sleeve wrap to shrink, a specific amount of heat is needed to make it wrap. Smaller heating guns will work for small volumes. You can get a heat shrink tunnel to simply insert the item with the wrap on it through a conveyor belt, and it comes out the other side sealed. The machine can be set to specific temperatures, minimizing waste and creating consistent shrinkage. With this, you can prevent any pre-rolls from drying out, and increase the reputation you have with your consumers.
As we enter the midpoint of 2020, we are excited to see the new innovations and pre-roll machines that will come out and see whether or not they can compete with some on the list.
Most importantly for everyone producing pre-rolls, we have seen that the above machines have improved how pre-rolls smoke, how pre-rolls are packaged and have enabled smaller companies to effectively compete. The above pre-roll machines have also allowed new products like shrink sleeve wraps or CBD cigarettes to have feasibility in the market. Aesthetically, new pre-roll lines in the last 6 months look much sleeker on the shelves which undoubtedly has increased pre-roll sales. With the introduction of more machines in the horizon, there is no telling how far the market will push the limits of pre-rolls.