his guide will focus primarily on C1D1 Extraction Labs, commonly refereed to as “Explosion Proof” labs. The term “Explosion proof” does not imply that the enclosure will survive an explosion without damage, it means that the sensory and safety systems, airflow , and internal environment have been designed to minimize the potential fire or explosion during normal operations. Modern extraction methods employ volatile chemicals, which have been determined to produce the highest product quality and maximum yield from the source plant material. While there are other extraction methods that do not require the use of volatile chemicals (steam distillation, cold pressing, CO2, etc.), they are widely considered to be less desirable for use in mass production.
C1D1 means “Class I, Division II” a classification of specially constructed, enclosed hazardous environments in which volatile flammable liquids or gasses can be handled, processed or used safely.
Podtronix engineers, manufactures, and installs UL Certified C1D1 and C1D2 Extraction Labs and enclosures. UL Certification means that our engineering methods, manufacturing processes, and installation standards have been evaluated by Underwriters Laboratories, the oldest and most trusted safety testing and certification organization in the world, and have certified our C1D1 Labs (and our C1D2 Labs) for this application. While many of our competitors use UL listed products in their extraction labs, our entire C1D1 Extraction Lab has been certified for safety by UL. This is an important distinction, and should factor heavily when choosing your C1D1 extraction lab manufacturer. Podtronix gives you a better value, with a manufacturing and build quality second to none.
To properly prepare for the installation and operation of a C1D1 lab requires a fair amount of planning. You should have full knowledge of, and a commitment to strict compliance with mandated worker safety protocols, and the organizations and agencies that have jurisdiction and enforcement authority over your facility’s location. Your target extraction operation may have compliance requirements on worker standards, safety, and the environment (specifically waste disposal and air quality) that need to be accommodated. At a minimum, this will include your local city hall, the AQMD, the fire department, and possibly local law enforcement. Your understanding of these regulations before starting your project can have a dramatic impact on your success.
Determine the specific extraction method(s) you intend to employ in your specific operation. Always consult with industry experts and trade information found online. Please note that safety should be THE top priority in any extraction lab setting, as modern extraction methods usually employ volatile chemicals in the extraction process. Plant Oil extraction methods vary, depending not only on the source plant, but your expected yield quantity and yield quality. These specific yield targets are the key in determining the appropriate scale, method, equipment type(s), and personnel necessary for success.
Research, Research, Research
The equipment you use for extraction is a very specialized, and should only be considered after you have a realistic understanding of its operation and use. This includes operation and maintenance costs (including down time). The extraction equipment itself is important, but remember that there is likely additional equipment used before (preprocessing and preloading equipment, for example) and after the extraction process (waste material storage, drying, and yield product storage, for example). Depending on regulations, or your own production considerations, consider source product testing equipment and post process (end yield) product testing equipment. In some cases, the aroma your facility may vent into the atmosphere may require equipment for elimination or mitigation, which can also require its own testing equipment.
Everything in business is driven by OPM (Other People’s Money). Unless you have a lot of money, you’re going to require outside funding. Everything discussed up to this point (and discussed below) will factor into your estimated facility, build-out, startup, training, inventory, and operational costs. When combined with realistic estimations of the standard considerations of employee costs, ancillary business expenses, sales projections, and miscellaneous costs and commitments, you have the basics of a business plan suitable for submission to any number of investment or lending organizations specifically focused on making funding available to new businesses that can show the potential for profitable returns. These funds may come in the form of loans, grants, or investors (3rd party, partnerships, etc.). Again, research here can make the difference. Find the financial vehicle that fits your business the best.
Choose a Suitable Location
As discussed above, your facility can be subject to a wide array of regulatory authorities that may determine the viability (or even the legality) of your facility of your extraction operation that may determine the desirability of your facility’s location. Make sure that you know ALL of the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and the requirements that demand compliance. Make absolutely sure that you can operate at that location from both a LEGAL and regulatory standpoint. Which brings us to…
Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses
Your research should include ALL the necessary AHJs and their legal, compliance, licensing, and permitting requirements BEFORE you spend a cent! Not knowing this information can prevent you from operating when you are ready.
Design and Set Up the Lab
Plan the layout of your C1D1 lab (or C1D2 Lab) to include workstations for extraction, processing, and analysis. Ensure that the lab is equipped with necessary safety equipment (fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, first aid kits). Install fume hoods for proper ventilation and safety during solvent-based extraction.
Purchase Equipment and Supplies
When purchasing the necessary extraction equipment based on your extraction chosen method, factor in the materials needed to maintain operational standards (filters, chemistry, etc.) and all of the required safety equipment (safety gear like goggles, gloves, and respirators, if required. Worker safety is the most important aspect of an extraction operation!
Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Create and maintain detailed SOPs for all lab processes, including testing results (pre & post extraction), extraction details, adherence to safety protocols, maintenance schedule, and waste disposal, and records pertaining to safety and SOP training. Record keeping of safety inspections and training, equipment maintenance, product testing, code compliance, chemical storage, and waste disposal are critical to any AHJ, and may be required to be available for review or audit.
These records should not only for compliance purposes. Your records should be reviewed and evaluated often to improve the SOPs and worker safety to ensure your extraction operation’s continued success in the future.
This is by no means a COMPLETE guide to setting up an extraction lab, but a great list of the basics. Do your research, put in the right amount of pre-work, and you will succeed! We hope that this information helps you to understand some of the unique and critical considerations that may not have been obvious, or were not easy to find. Podtronix can assist you in getting started.