Plexpack has worked with the cannabis industry through our Californian sales network for years. With the recent legalization of cannabis products in Canada, our cannabis portfolio has substantially increased and diversified. Today, we are proud to say we have many cannabis customers producing edibles, flower, and concentrate.
As a new and growing industry, we wanted to understand our customer’s needs and challenges better when packaging cannabis.
Carmel Cannabis is a cannabis producer located in Ontario, Canada. Started by two long-time friends, the brand’s mission is to bring the best quality flower to market, distinguishing themselves by the quality of their product rather than the size of production. Powered by a team of individuals with a broad array of expertise, they aim to find the best elements to create the best product, from seed to smoke.
One of the most significant challenges for cannabis producers is the regulations surrounding packaging. With labelling requirements and restrictions on package type and materials, distinguishing one’s brand is challenging. Therefore, defining one’s brand on the characteristics of the product is vital.
The packaging and production of cannabis are labour-intensive by nature as quality checks are necessary to ensure bud freshness and quality. While automation can reduce labour, these solutions are costly. Many producers opt not to use automated solutions for more control over the process as automated solutions make quality checks more difficult and less thorough. If automation is to be used in production, a balance is needed between manual processes and automation.
A common complaint amongst consumers is the dryness of the flower. The less fresh the cannabis flower is on the shelf, the dryer it becomes. Many consumers complain of a harsher and more unpleasant experience when using overly dry cannabis- so locking in freshness is crucial to the quality of the experience for consumers.
For Carmel Cannabis, they knew they needed a solution to maintain their product quality throughout its shelf-life, locking in freshness and establishing their brand’s characteristics. Knowing that nitrogen-flushing is commonly used in other industries for freshness, they decided they needed a packaging system that would flush their product with nitrogen while creating a strong seal on their child-resistant zipper pouches.
Plexpack offers a variety of solutions that fit Carmel’s needs. Initially, they were interested in our VacPack series. Our Vacpack brand of industrial vacuum sealers offers end-users the ability to multi-stage vacuum and gas flush bags, which reduces residual O2 to near zero. This is done by first vacuuming out the O2 then flushing with nitrogen (or CO2)- an inert gas. Besides the vacuum and gas flush cycles’ benefits, our VacPacks also have numerous seal cycles and machine configuration options. These include product shelves, nozzles, filters and programmable seal recipes for different bag materials and thicknesses.
While the VacPack offered Carmel several production advantages, the Plexpack team consulted with Carmel and decided to move in a different direction. Eventually, Carmel decided that our Emplex vacuum and gas flush-capable continuous band sealer was the right solution for them. This solution provides the same vacuum and gas flush capabilities as our VacPack series, including MAP and seals recipes; however, Carmel would have a semi-automated process using a continuous band sealer.
As a continuous band sealer with a conveyor, this system can reach higher production speeds and reduce labour. Carmel found that this system provided the right balance of automation for their production. The continuous motion aspect of the machine reduces labour intensity and gives more packages per minute sealed. As the pouches are still manually filled and loaded onto the machine, quality checks of the flower can still be performed to satisfaction- striking the right balance.
Our team’s goal is always to find the right solution for each of our customers. The consultative nature of our business has always been a defining factor in determining who we are. In the case of Carmel cannabis, taking on their business’s unique challenges – understanding their unique requirements and standards – we tailored a solution to support their business model for years to come. With a high return on investment and the ability to expand with their business, Plexpack exceeded their expectations.
If you have a similar unique business requirement, something that requires a more tailored approach, or if you need the expertise to find your right solution, the Plexpack team is here to help.