Driving Production Efficiencies in Vape Cartridge Filling

How to Reduce Leaking, Oxidization, and Operating Costs, While Creating a Safe Work Environment in a Post-COVID World

Market Growth in Press Down CR Vape Cartridges

According to a 2018 research report by Grand View Research, a market research group, the global vape cartridge market size was valued at USD $571.1 million. Perceived as a healthier alternative to smoking, vaping and the vape cartridge industry continue to grow stronger/hold market share once solely dominated by big tobacco. As the Cannabis industry matures and involves more regulator activity from both state and federal levels, producers and consumers will need to continue focusing on and addressing safety concerns and following proper regulated production practices. As for Vape Cartridge production, Press-down capping methods will become the norm as they provide more child-resistant features than twist-capping, prevent after-sale filling, and wider variety of press cartridges available in the market. Additionally, press down cartridges allow multiple benefits back to the company filling them as there are more streamlined and automated production solution options.

Happy operators inspecting a batch of cartridges after being filled with the ATG RoboCAP Cartridge Filler

The global vape cartridge market size is expected to grow 14% between 2019–2025, particularly among the millennial demographic. Clearly, the time is now to expand into press-down capping vape cartridge production, and it’s imperative that businesses are prepared to grow and refine their production capabilities to compete in a dynamic, customizable, highly-competitive marketplace

Common Production Challenges

In order to compete within the highly-competitive marketplace, there are challenges to overcome. Fully-manual cartridge filling is an extremely labour-intensive and time-sensitive process. Operators often have to fill and cap their cartridges within 45–120 seconds to avoid oxidization and leaking issues. These issues render the cartridge defective and can account for thousands in lost profits annually. Oxidization occurs after prolonged exposure to the air, which can result in discolouration and a diminished product quality. Meanwhile, leaking occurs when a cartridge is filled but left uncapped. Not meeting these fill and cap times has serious quality implications, so it is essential that producers take a step toward optimizing their production.

New Production Challenges During and Post-COVID

As highlighted above, typical vape production processes can already pose difficulties, and the current COVID pandemic has only exacerbated those demands by forcing businesses to incorporate social distancing measures into their workplaces. Social distancing complicates the production process, especially for producers with a fully manual process. Fully manual productions can require up to 9 operators to function optimally, resulting in a crowded workspace. Aside from oxidization and leaks, this is the most significant production challenge to overcome.

Ensuring workplace safety should be every business’ priority at this time, but how do businesses overcome reduced operator efficiency? Operators must be safe, while continuing to meet production demands. There are solutions available to businesses, but some are more costly and inefficient than others.

At first glance, fully-automated machines might seem like a viable solution. They help improve the production process by reducing labour strain. They create conditions to improve workplace safety during the pandemic by reducing crowding. They also optimize production of a single product. But these machines can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and, more importantly, lack the diverse production capabilities necessary to compete in the current marketplace.

Variety of other products Cannabis companies may produce and could utilize with the same ATG RoboCAP Filling Machine

The Cannabis market will be dominated by businesses that can adapt to consumers’ increasingly diverse needs. A fully automated machine might boost production initially, but it will restrict your production capabilities in the long-term. If neither fully-manual cartridge production nor fully-automated machines are viable options to optimize your production process, what options do businesses have to solve the challenges posed by oxidization, leakage, and workplace safety?

Solution 1: The MonoBlox and MonoPress Process

The MonoBlox and MonoPress were designed to optimize production for fast-oxidizing/leaking products. They allow for quick capping of up to 9 cartridges at a time. Operators can cap within 45 seconds by removing the MonoBlox while the machine is still filling instead of waiting for the entire tray of 100–144 cartridges to be filled. The 9 cartridge per block design enables operators to fill and cap 9 cartridges within a minute while ensuring that oxidization and leaking are no longer issues.

Video Demonstration of ATG’s MonoBlox and MonoPress Process

Solution 2: Pre-Loaded Trays Direct From Supplier

ATG is proud to announce that we have developed a viable, cost effective solution for the majority of vape producers by collaborating with the largest vape cartridge suppliers in the market.

For existing and new clients, there is now the opportunity for Pre-Loaded cartridges options offered by some of the largest suppliers in the industry, like Jupiter Research, AVD, and Green Tank. Take your production to the next level by filling and capping 50 cartridges in 2 minutes with ATG’s RoboCAP RL-302VF and Convectium’s 710 Captain or ATG’s MonoPress.

This collaboration between ATG, Convectium, and Vape Cartridge Suppliers has reinvented the filling and capping process to lower operating expenses for clients while simultaneously increasing production efficiencies with a new 3 step process automation method. To illustrate the process, we’ll use a 100 cartridge preloaded tray that Jupiter Research offers exclusively for CCELL®cartridges

Step 1 — Preloaded trays can be placed directly from the box right onto ATG’s RoboCAP RL-302VF. This will save time and improve labour efficiency because operators no longer need to load and unload trays by hand.

Step 2 — Fill your cartridges efficiently and accurately with the RoboCAP RL-302VF which is capable of filling 50 cartridges in under 2 minutes.

Step 3 — Unload the pre-racked tray from the RoboCAP, place the tray onto the 710 Captain cartridge press, then close all 50 cartridges simultaneously.

This partnerships between ATG and selected suppliers are some of the first major collaborations in the vape cartridge production market. Pre-loaded trays will optimize a massive labour-intensive step of the production process, saving up to 80% in operating expenses! With no tray loading required — even the mouthpieces come pre-loaded — you’ll be well on your way to meeting and exceeding production demands! See below for full video of Pre-Loaded Tray Process.

Collaboration and Cost-Savings

The graphic below outlines an estimate of how much your business will save on costs by continuing to operate a fully-manual cartridge production system, improving the production process with ATG’s RoboCAP RL-302VF, and optimizing the production process with ATG’s RoboCAP RL-302 VF and Convectium’s 710 Captain Press:

Comparison of production options to achieve 2,000 cartridges/hr

As you can see, Pre-Loaded Tray filling and capping with ATG’s RoboCAP RL-302VF and MonoPress or 710 Captain will allow a single operator to produce as many vape cartridges in 1 hour as 9 operators would in a fully manual production process. If you cannot immediately invest in both ATG’s RoboCAP and 710 Captain, the RoboCAP with non-preloaded trays still allows 4 operators to match the hourly output of 9 fully-manual operators. The savings and efficiency speak for themselves, but we believe it’s worth noting the opportunity to address and improve workplace safety by incorporating these machines into the production process.

As the Covid pandemic continues, businesses are increasingly searching for effective ways to adapt and improve their operations while ensuring they meet workplace safety standards. Production areas can be crowded, and in a fully-manual production process, it’s difficult for 9 people to adhere proper social distancing guidelines.

Now is the perfect time for producers to simultaneously tackle production issues and workplace safety issues. The RoboCAP RL-302VF & 710 Captain will simultaneously optimize production by addressing oxidization and leaking issues while also reducing crowding due to the lower number of required operators.

Conclusion

As the vape cartridge market continues to grow, press-capped vape cartridges will continue to make up a larger portion of the market because they are safer and can be fulfilled by versatile and flexible production methods. Oxidization and leaking are major vape cartridge production issues, but ATG’s RoboCAP RL-302VF, and MonoPress or Convectium’s 710 Captain Press solve those issues while reducing labour strain and improving operator efficiency. As the vape cartridge market continues to grow, and as consumers increasingly need more diverse flavours and options, it is essential that businesses ensure their production requirements continue to meet consumer demand. Now is the perfect time to optimize your vape cartridge production, while addressing workplace safety concerns, and setting your business up for success in a post COVID world.

ATG Pharma is Canadian Manufacturer of bench top packaging machines designed for the fast growing and dynamic Cannabis and allied health industries.