Dan Norberg from Cascade Botanical Sciences

By Marc Lee

This Oregon-based company specializes in a variety of products that are used in the medical, aerospace and cannabis oil production industries. More specifically, they make vacuum ovens, forced air ovens and vacuum pumps.

Vacuum ovens are a must in the medical, aerospace and electronic industries, as well as a big part of cannabis products manufacturing. The manufacturing process for plastics such as catheters, artificial joints and heart valves, requires that they be put through a controlled low temperature/low pressure vacuum to purge  leftover contaminants. The vacuum oven removes contaminants that otherwise would leach into patient’s bodies.

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Another example of the conventional use of the vacuum oven is the manufacture of circuit boards and other electronics. These products are made of a heat-sensitive material that will melt in a standard convection oven. Using a vacuum oven—with its low pressure and low temperature—maintains perfect conditions and just the right temperature for curing epoxies and ensuring that water is removed before the boards go to the next phase of the manufacturing process.

The aerospace industry also uses these ovens to simulate the vacuum of space. Before launching items into space, engineers need to know how different chemical compositions react when subjected to the high-vacuum environment of space. The chemical substances in a space-like vacuum begin to off-gas. These gases can cause corrosion on the spacecraft and condensation in equipment or even a fire. To prevent this, everything must first be processed through a vacuum oven.

In the cannabis oil manufacturing industry,solvents and water must be removed without overheating the product. By reducing the pressure in a vacuum oven, the solvents and water can transition to a gas and can be pulled out of the chamber without damaging the product—leaving pure, stabilized oil.

Forced air ovens differ from conventional ovens because the heat is distributed evenly by a fan and a blower. All this is hooked up to a sensor that can detect the temperature difference in your oven and adjust the fan speed accordingly, so a nice even heat is maintained throughout the oven.

Another new technology emerging in the cannabis oil industry is the desiccant box. This product is being used for storing oil. The box can be backfilled with nitrogen (an inert gas), which prevents the oil and terpenes from oxidizing. This allows for longer, more stable storage of oils.

Terpene traps are also becoming mainstream in this industry, allowing processors to reclaim unused terpenes during the reclamation process. This also saves on pump life by limiting the amount that gets passed through in the process. Terpenes are valuable and expensive, ranging to upward of $120 a gram in some markets. This product is an efficient leap for the oil business.

Another great technology that has emerged recently is lab armor beads. They are made of aluminum alloy that can be used in the place of ice. Being able to be heated or frozen, they maintain their temperature twice as long as regular ice. The beads prevent water from being reintroduced to the product, as well as preventing bacterial contamination that may occur with ice. No more need to constantly monitor the water and ice levels. These beads can go down to -80℃ and up to more than 200℃. They last forever when maintained and are 100% recyclable.

Cascade Botanical Sciences has also been working with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, a company that is known for gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Their product attaches to the exhaust on an oven and allows for real-time monitoring of the butane or propane level. It alerts you when the gas level is acceptable, so there is no wasted oven time or guesswork. Shimadzu sends technicians out with every order to help with setup and thoroughly teach about the functionality of their products.

Dan and his team have a passion for pushing the boundaries of the industry. Their great products and more are online at CascadeSciences.com.