Osprey General SOP and Best Practices
Something that has been requested by most prospective or current Osprey customers is a detailed SOP. A large scale commercial washing machine can be intimidating to some, however The Osprey is a very simple and easy to use machine. It's extremely difficult to use incorrectly and end up with beat up hash/less than expected yields.
That's not to say that there aren't techniques with The Osprey that can make your process much more efficient and capable! This article will lay out the best tips, tricks, and practices from your equipment layout, to inputs, parameters, and how they all tie together.
Equipment Selection and Layout
The first questions we like to start with when a customer comes to us asking about how many Osprey they need/what kind of layout they should be utilizing are:
- What are your processing requirements?
- How large is your extraction space?
- What equipment and resources do you already have? Walk in, floor drains, RO system, sprayers, etc?
Of course, there is some optional equipment that can be utilized with an Osprey, some more important than others, depending on techniques utilized.
Recirculation Pump- These are essential if you reuse water between washes. It's relatively unsafe to pick up and pour 50 gallons back into the Osprey's lid at 60" between every wash. We carry a food grade pump here on our website, great for putting water back into your Osprey vessel. It has a smooth stainless steel head with a PTFE impeller, perfectly safe to pump diluted isopropyl alcohol or alcojet through for cleaning. If draining wash water between every wash into a floor drain, a pump is not needed.
Step Ladder or Work Platform- Also pretty essential for cleaning The Osprey's tub. For strict markets or an optimally safe environment, we recommend something like this. If you are working with a tighter space or on a tighter budget, a step ladder like this works great as well.
Freeze Dryers- Also considered essential for the drying of water hash, and part of Lowtemp's catalog on our website found here. If running full bore, 20,000g washes, 40 hours a week, expect to utilize about 4-5 Large Pharma Harvest Right units to keep up with The Osprey.
Floor Drain- If you can, a self draining or floor drain is fantastic. Since The Osprey is wash down, you can just spray it down from top to bottom for cleaning, and when you inevitably spill a little water during use, you can just push it down the drain! It makes life considerably easier having a floor drain.
Walk In Cooler- While not essential by any means, we are finding more and more clients utilizing walk in coolers. The Osprey is extremely well insulated, and is hardly effected by the ambient temperature in a room. However, operators tend to use them for the cleanliness factor of keeping resins cool, making collection much easier. When resins are cool, they stay stable and don't tend to melt all over stainless or other surfaces, making things easier to clean. There is also something to be said about keeping your hash cool up until the point it is pressed and/or consumed for shelf life, terpene retention, etc. Keeping a reservoir of filtered water inside of walk in also keeps it cold. Lowtemp carries Walk In Coolers, please contact us for more details. We also carry Coolbot's if you're interested in making your own cool room, which utilizes a conventional AC unit to pull temps down below 60f!
Ice Machine- The Osprey utilizes much less ice than your typical machine or wash setup. It also depends on viscosity for it's no shear impeller operation. Each wash, you will use anywhere from 5-15 gallons of ice (a very useful conversion is 5 gallons of ice is about 20 lbs of ice) per batch. This is effected heavily by input water temperature. In an 8hr day, expect to utilize about 240 lbs of ice. Lowtemp carries Manitowoc and other Ice machines, please contact us for sizing and details.
Chillers- The Osprey can have an upgraded jacketed vessel, which can connect to a chiller. This can allow for an Iceless wash, but requires pre chilled water and a 3+ ton chiller to have enough thermal energy for the mass of 50 gallons of water. Frankly, we mostly sell the stock insulated Osprey since it's extremely well insulated and for simplicities sake. There is some added maintenance and obviously equipment cost associated with a Chiller of this size. While not absolutely necessary, it does have the ability to gain a small increase in production capability by removing the ice volume, and replacing it with cannabis. A chiller alone is not a replacement for ice, as it can take upwards of 30 minutes to cool water with a 5 ton chiller by itself, pre chilled water is required for an Iceless wash.
Wash Bags- We are absolutely not fans of expensive wash bags. Wash bags are simple micron bags that need to be micron specific, and tough enough to hold plenty of weight. The bags we carry on our website are only $280 for a set of 8, all mesh which allow for quick evacuation of water, and very tough. At the end of the day, no matter how well you clean your wash bags, it's inevitable that you'll want to throw them out after a few months of heavy usage, or they'll start to wear. Don't waste your time with 20 gallon bags or smaller, unless you don't plan to run more than 10,000g fresh frozen in the Osprey. 20,000g+ puts out A TON of hash, and will quickly clog a 20 gallon set.
Work Bags- Work bags absolutely work in The Osprey, but are not required. More on this subject later in this article. Work bags with metal zippers are 100% banned from using inside our machine. These metal zippers are often Zinc coated, which will scrape off into your solution, and will damage your impeller, scratch the walls of the vessel, etc.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Recirculating Wash Water
Advantages- Less waste, both environmentally and economically. There is a pretty significant cost associated with cooling hundreds to thousands of gallons of water down to 32f every day. However, if done correctly and efficiently, it can absolutely be done with chillers, heat exchanges, reservoirs, Ice Baths, and/or walk in coolers.
Disadvantages- It's much easier from an operations perspective to just drain the water between each wash into a floor drain, versus establishing a water management system to recirculate your water back into The Osprey (see Water Management section). When you recirculate, you'll require pumps, hoses, etc to get the water back into the main vessel. Some operators claim that fresh water between each wash gives a cleaner extraction, which we have personally seen no evidence of this being the case.
If you plan to recirculate your water, it's key that you establish an equipment plan to capture and repump up to 65 gallons of water, as doing so inefficiently can become a bottleneck in your production. One of Lowtemp's key values in business has been our focus on modularity and our open source approach, so we'll even teach you how to make your own recirculation setup.
The premium option would be the Lowtemp Nest, which holds up to 85 gallons of water in a large low profile stainless steel enclosure. It features a sloped floor with a sanitary tri clamp drain, which connects to a pump. The Nest has an area to hold 32 gallon bags for collection of resins (and is fully backwards compatible with coming Lowtemp's Automatic Sieving Stack). It locks into place underneath the Osprey, creating a very closed loop, efficient work space and work flow, utilizing space the Osprey has already taken up. It's hands down the premium and fastest way to reuse water. It self evacuates 99% of the water inside a system, whereas the "Poor Man's" Nest will hold onto at least 5-10 gallons and will require significantly more cleaning.
Parameters, Inputs, Variables, and their Correlations
Main parameters and inputs:
- Amount of water
The amount of water will effect the speed required for an extraction. With 30 gallons of water on a small run, 150rpm may do the trick. With 65 gallons of water and 21,000g fresh frozen, it may take 275 rpm for a proper extraction.
- Amount of ice
Ice only exists in a washing environment for it's thermal properties, and that's it. Ideally, you would have pre chilled water, and use very little ice or a chiller to keep your water cool. The more ice you use, the less space you have for your input biomass. Also, with the insulation properties of The Osprey, once your solution is cooled, your ice loss is very very minimal. We recommend no more than 15 gallons of ice in any batch, and about a 1:4 or 1:5, ice to water ratio (speaking in gallons).
- Amount of plant material
The minimum material is about 1,000g fresh frozen, and has a max of 21,000g fresh frozen/4,600g dry. Material isn't too huge of a contributing factor in the way a wash is processed. When processing large amounts, 15,000-21,000g, we recommend spraying down your material at the end of a wash. Consider taking your wash for a little longer of a cycle time if washing larger batches (15-45 minutes depending on your technique and style).
- Speed of mixture (RPM)
Speed is largely a personal preference, but we like to recommend anything between 150-300 for most washes. The Osprey has a patent pending No Shear impeller, which struggles to release contaminant even with aggressive speed. If you can see the impeller because it's mixing so aggressive, it's likely too much speed.
- Cycle times
Again, largely a personal preference. We recommend anywhere from 10-25 minutes per wash. If you are using Work Bags or are running a very full batch, it's likely a good idea to run longer washes, or a little more speed than smaller batches.
- Washes per Batch
Less Speed, Shorter Cycle Times, More Material = More cycles required
More Speed, Longer Cycle Times = Less cycles required
Are you washing for full melt? Try 200 RPM and a 10 minute cycle, run plenty of wash bags to isolate the full melt micron size.
Washing for full spec rosin? Then wash at 275 RPM for 15-20 minutes, and only run a 220, 160, 90, and 45 collection bag.
Going food grade? Crank that puppy to 400 RPM and run 20 minute cycles.
Your desired end product and input material is what designs your program. The Osprey comes pre loaded with three recipes, Hand Wash, Normal Wash, and Final Pull, each of them with their own parameter set. When you find your recipe for your material, simply Save and name your recipe inside of your controller!
Each operator will have their own preferences in how strictly they follow a recipe, however our data shows that there is really only a couple hard set rules that are crucial for a successful recipe:
- A 1:4 or 1:5, ice to water ratio. This ensures a proper viscosity for The Osprey to create it's vertical vortex.
- Minimum of 30 gallons of water, and about 1,500g of fresh frozen material or 300g of dry material.
Work Bags vs Naked Washing
Both options have their pros and cons, and we find that most clients with experience are super die hard one method or another, and want nothing to do with the other style, which is completely fine because The Osprey can utilize both techniques!
Work Bags- As mentioned before, it's absolutely critical to not use work bags with metal zippers!! We have manufactured 100% Nylon Food Grade Work Bags that are machine washer safe, and can be found on our website. Work bags make cleaning of a machine quite a bit easier. Simply pull the wash bags out of the machine, remove the excess ice, and onto the next wash. The only downside of this is the slight reduction in workload capacity per wash by about 20% down to about 16,000g Fresh Frozen in 4 work bags. Typically speeds of the wash are reduced slightly, and cycle times are slightly increased.
Naked Washing- Some love naked washing because of the uniformity and quickness of the extraction. When washing naked, your capacity is increased to the max of 21,000g fresh frozen. We get asked often, how do you clean the machine when washing naked? Simply use a plastic ice scoop and scoop everything out in less than 5 minutes! Any small leafy materials, simply open the drain and spray everything down the drain.
The Osprey comes standard with a false bottom at the time of writing this, which should only be utilized when washing naked. The purpose of the false bottom is to leave the majority of plant material above the floor, allowing resins to freely float along the basin floor and drain.
When washing naked, allow 3-5 minutes after each agitation cycle for the cannabis to float to the top of the water, and the resins to float to bottom of the vessel.
General Tips and Tricks for Increasing Efficiency
Pre Soaking- If you have a full day of washing scheduled, you can pre soak your material strategically to save yourself the need of waiting with a full Osprey to soak! 10-20 minutes before you start your next wash, simply take your work bags or fresh frozen material, and set it in ice and the minimum amount of water required to submerge the material. We usually recommend doing this inside of a 20 gallon can (or a few if required). When you go to wash, simply pour the buckets and it's contents into The Osprey, add water/ice if needed, and get to work.
Pre Freezing Trays- The Osprey kicks out a bunch of hash if you let it... Freeze Dryers can have a hard time keeping up with it, so if you build up an excess of freshly washed hash, simply Pre Freeze the trays in a clean freezer. This will allow you to cut your "freeze" cycle on the freeze dryer process down to less than 2 hours.
Best Cleaning Practices
There will be variations in cleaning practices dependent on the operations resources/cleaning standards, but we'll share our tips and tricks. Between washes, we do a simple spray down of the walls and floor. The impeller doesn't even need removed for this practice.
At the end of each wash day, we will put about 20 gallons of water inside the vessel with some Iso or Alcojet, and turn the machine on for anywhere between 5-15 minutes with at least 350 RPM. This will spray the solution all over the walls, lid, etc. Empty the vessel, and leave the lid cracked open overnight or until the next wash!
If Alcojet was used for stubborn resins, a quick wipe down of all surfaces with a bit of Iso is suggested for disinfecting purposes.
Remove the impeller and leave in a safe/dry location between wash days.
Approved cleaners- Alcojet and Isopropl Alcohol are both excellent cleaners with their own purpose. Alcojet is fantastic for removing of stubborn resins (just make sure to use the correct dosage) and Isopropyl is an excellent disinfectant. The only food contact surfaces are 304 Stainless Steel, Hard Anodized 6061 Aluminum, Buna, Silicone, and Virgin PTFE, all of which are very chemically resistant. Stay within 3-11 PH!!
For cleaning the exterior of the machine, Magic Stainless Steel Cleaner is recommended, and literally works like magic!! We do not advise using this inside the vessel.
That concludes this SOP at this time. We'll update this as we expand our knowledge of what clients are asking for! If you'd like to see anything in specific added to this, please email us at email@example.com with your suggestion! If you're interested in scaling your solventless production with the best in the business, contact us anytime!
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