17 Oct

PreRoll-Er Reality Check: What is your production rate, really?

In today’s fast-paced cannabis manufacturing landscape, efficiency and productivity reign supreme – and with pre-rolls being in such high demand, the role of automation cannot be overstated. 

Whether you’re a seasoned producer looking to scale up or a newcomer seeking to enter the market, the decision to invest in pre-roll automation equipment is a critical one. 

Yet, one aspect that often takes center stage in this decision-making process is understanding just how many units a machine can churn out. 

Unfortunately, in the sea of chaos that is cannabis, there is a lot of misinformation. Many equipment manufacturers will try to flaunt false numbers to encourage you to purchase their machines. Their business is to get as many sales as possible.

Our business, however, is to help you grow yours the right way. That’s why at PreRoll-Er, we prioritize accurate education about the manufacturing process to ensure that your automation systems grow with you to meet your needs. 

That way, you can make your own, informed decisions about your production process.

In the first installment of our Reality Check series, our team is uncovering the realities of evaluating production rates before investing in pre-roll automation equipment.


Production Rate

Pre-roll machines describe their production rate in units per hour, and it is a primary metric to evaluate when deciding to invest in machinery. However, many equipment manufacturers inflate their numbers to increase their sales. 

For instance, they may include rejected pre-rolls in the production per hour number. So, when they say 1,000 pre-rolls per hour, it may look more like 800 after removing any defective units. 

Moreover, many manufacturers will not include the time it takes to complete each unit. So, when they say 1,000 pre-rolls per hour, it may not necessarily be 1,000 finished, ready-to-sell pre-rolls. 

According to anecdotal evidence from our customers, most standard machines can produce a realistic output of about 800-900 good pre-rolls per hour. However, our PreRoll-Er machines exceed this industry average. 

Our PreRoll-Er 200 can produce 1,300 units per hour, not including any rejected units. Plus, with our patent-pending technology, our machine automatically performs a final weigh with a reject station that guarantees your product weight to the accuracy of 0.01g flower.

In other words, our equipment is designed specifically with manufacturers like you in mind so you can maximize your production with as little defect as possible. 

To evaluate the production rate of any automation equipment, do your due diligence. Ask around your network and talk to companies with the same machine to get a true idea of whether the production rate suits your brand’s needs. 

Key takeaway: Be sure to ask and assess the true production rate of ready-to-sell units. 


Reject Rate / Product Lost

Alongside the production rate is the reject rate. At a broad level, this describes the number of units per run that can be described as defective. 

Equipment providers can typically provide some rate or percentage of rejection for each of their machines. However, it’s important to understand exactly what type of defect is included in the reject rate. 

For instance, a pre-roll can be considered rejected if it is ripped or visibly damaged. However, what if there are air pockets or it’s poorly compacted? What if the paper is wrinkled or not closed correctly? 

Identify what a “perfect” pre-roll looks like for your brand and make sure the equipment you invest in can keep up with that standard. 

It’s also important to ask about how much flower is lost in the process. Cone-filling machines that use excessive vibration can cause up to 10% of product waste. Based on our conversations with brands in the industry, that could be upwards of 400 lbs that you likely spent a lot of time and money investing in via harvesting, drying racks, other post-harvest equipment, etc.

At PreRoll-Er, we maintain rigorous quality control through our machinery to make sure that what you put out on the market is nothing short of perfect for both beginner consumers and seasoned ones alike. Plus, we ensure that you can have a more sustainable – and less wasteful – production run. 

Key takeaway: Account for rejected units and average product lost when evaluating the production rate given to you by manufacturers.


Pre-Roll Cone Filling Machine

A pre-roll cone-filling machine that uses vibration is a specialized piece of equipment designed to streamline the process of filling pre-rolled cones or tubes with ground cannabis flower or other herbal material. It typically consists of a compact, durable box-like device with various components. 

What many people may not realize immediately is that cone-filling machines alone can’t produce the end product; they just fill the pre-roll and prepare it for finishing. In other words, someone still needs to close the joint and package – AKA not true automation. 

Why invest in equipment that still requires additional labor to take to completion? 

PreRoll-Er addresses the gap by creating machines that help you produce the full product from start to finish. We also have add-ons to help you connect an existing cone-filling machine, as well as our BoxFinish-Er that will help you finish the automation process without having to hire a large staff to manually close off your pre-rolls in post-production.

Key takeaway: Identify whether or not you’ll need additional steps or machinery to take your units to completion. 


Cleaning Time

As a cannabis brand, you are most likely producing more than one strain of pre-rolls, which means you have to take time to clean your equipment between each strain. 

Regularly cleaning and sanitizing the pre-roll manufacturing machine between different strains is essential to prevent cross-contamination and maintain product consistency. Residual material from one strain can alter the flavor, aroma, and potency of another, jeopardizing quality and even regulatory compliance. 

However, cleaning creates downtime between shifts that can alter your production capacity per day. Some companies need as much as 3-4 hours to clean! Therefore, we recommend looking into how long it would take to clean and sanitize between strains before investing in equipment. 

Factoring that downtime into your day is crucial as it will help you calculate the real output number per shift or hour. 

PreRoll-Er machines can clean and sanitize the equipment – meeting Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards – in as little as 20 minutes. 

Key takeaway: Be sure to ask about the cleaning cycle before, during, and after a production run.


A final word to the wise

The decision to invest in equipment is not one to be taken lightly. The careful evaluation of pre-roll automation equipment is paramount to making a sound investment that can propel your business to new heights. 

By thoroughly assessing factors like production capacity, efficiency, reliability, and versatility, you can avoid costly pitfalls and ensure that your investment aligns seamlessly with your scaling objectives. 

Here are some questions you now know to ask before investing in equipment: 

-What is the true rate of the final, ready-to-sell product?

-How much product waste is typically produced?

-What is involved in the cleaning cycle? 

-How long does it take to clean in between?

At PreRoll-Er, our main focus is to develop a partnership with you. All of our customers receive complete customized service with installation, training, and maintenance so you can eliminate potential headaches down the road, confidently automate your processes, meet rising demand, and maintain product consistency without disruption. 

To learn more about us or see a live demo of our equipment, get in touch with our team today.


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