Hemp micro-decorticator unveiled by Latvian entrepreneur
Posted By: HempToday® May 24, 2019
The HurdMaster Micro Decorticator, a small-scale fiber processing unit designed by Latvian entrepreneur Kristaps Eglitas, was unveiled today at HempToday’s Hemp Machines & Technology Summit.
The machine is designed for small-scale flower and seed growers who want to monetize leftover stems from their harvests, Eglitis said. It is intended for farms of 2-5 hectares (about 6-10 acres).
Hemp stakeholders from 12 countries attended the Summit at HempToday Center in Poland.
“We’re getting excellent hurds for hempcrete,” Eglitis told attendees at the Summit before demonstrating the sleek, boxy, stainlesss-steel unit, which is small enough to fit in a car. “We processed some fiber for hempcrete to insulate my own house which we’re now working on, and the hurds’ performance in the mix was excellent,” Eglitis said.
Orders begin in July
Orders for the purchase of the HurdMaster will begin in late July, Eglitis said, with delivery two months from the order date. He expects to ship the first machines in September.
The HurdMaster was inspired in part by Eglitis’ research of a decorticator project started by Australian-Latvian Voldemars Cirulis, who built a much bigger machine while living in Australia in the early 2000s.
Eglitis designed the HurdMaster with help from a student at Latvian Technical University after intense research on decortiation technology.
He eventually bought the machine from Cirulis and studied its components and how it functions – research he said was critical in the design process.
Eglitis, who designs and builds metal interior features such as staircases, has worked in metal construction for more than 20 years.
He is collaborating with Peruza, a leading manufacturer of machinery for fish processing, developing engineering enhancements that will reduce the HurdMaster’s weight while boosting efficiency. While Eglitis is satisfied with hurd quality turned out by the machine, planned adjustments to improve the quality of technical fiber output are still being worked out, he said. Plans are in the works to build a bigger model decorticator as well, Eglitis said.
Just last month, Eglitis secured an EU grant he’ll use to build an engineering building, he said.
While Eglitis has now lost contact with Cirulis, 96, who is blind and infirm, he knows the old inventor would be proud. “Voldemars would be happy to see that his work has inspired me to move forward,” Eglitis said.
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The machine is designed for flower and seed growers who want to monetize leftover fiber from their harvests.
Mobile Hemp Decorticator: Hemp Processing Made Easy?
Due to the cost of transporting hemp material to decortication facilities, it is difficult for farmers to monetize industrial hemp biomass for production purposes. Mobile decorticators eliminate transportation costs and thus substantially increase the plants’ profitability.
Additionally, there is a significant shortage of hemp processing facilities across the U.S. Mobile decorticators enable farmers and processors to access and segregate different hemp products according to their quality and use. Some leading mobile hemp decorticators operating in the US include Power Zone , FormationAg , 6ix Hemp Inc , Pure Hemp , among others.
A Dive into the Industrial Hemp Decortication Process
• A decorticator is heavy machinery designed to strip outer layers of harvest from seeds, small shrubs , plants, and trees.
• Once hemp matures, the harvest is done by cutting the stalks , either manually or using machinery.
• The outermost part of the plant is what is used to form industrial-grade hemp products. An industrial decorticator must be used to strip the outer, soft and fibrous part away from the inner tough and heavy core.
• Fiber stalks are fed to a decorticator to separate fiber from hurd. The processed fiber is then sold and transported to manufacturing plants that convert it cloth and other products.
• Decorticators use grinders , rollers, blades, and other tools for separation of the outer hull, or cortex, from plant materials .
A Major Transportation Issue
• Industrial hemp has multiple uses in the textile industry. The global market for industrial-grade hemp is set to reach a value of $26.6 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 34% . As of 2019, Asia and the Pacific is the largest producer.
• The vary reason hemp is desirable for industrial purposes also makes it difficult and expensive to process. It is both sturdy and heavy which increases transportation costs and is another reason the fiber processing industry has been unprofitable for American farmers .
• These costs make it undesirable for farmers to transport the plants to decortication facilities, even when facilities are only 100 miles away.
How is mobile hemp decorticator changing the fiber processing landscape?
• Mobile hemp decorticators are enabling farmers to get their crops processed closer to the source.
• Until recently, mobile decorticators were hand-fed , rendering them inefficient.
• New, mobile decorticators that cost up to $2.5 million can dramatically increase capacity, processing 10 tons per hour . These truck bound decorticators provide additional economic benefits to the farmers as well.
• Decortication service providers will evaluate different grades of product and quote the farmer prices for the different quality levels, allocating fibers to the textile or construction market.
• Mobile decorticators also enable distribution companies and farmers to move inventory faster and in a more streamlined way , which can help maintain profits.
• Additionally, mobile machinery enables farmers to characterize and understand the type of fibers being harvested at a farm.
• In the US, due to lack of CBD extractors and fiber processors , some farmers are planning to enter the extraction business themselves.
• In 2019, Paragon Processing launched the largest industrial hemp processing facility in the US. The company offers complete seed-to-shelf solutions , including hemp processing, extraction, distillation, manufacturing, storage, isolation, THC-free processing , third-party laboratory testing, and selling as private and white-label goods .
What is the need for Mobile Hemp Decorticators?
• The US retail market for hemp products is worth $700 million but is dominated by imports of seeds and fibers from other countries. The hemp market is currently limited due to a lack of processing facilities .
• In the US, industry support for suppliers, processors , and purchasers of industrial hemp is associated with drug prohibitions and complex state-regulations.
• Currently, there is a low number of hemp decorticators available in the US. Further, many units are either hand-fed or are located in China, Europe , Australia, and a few other places.
• Profits generated from selling hemp fibers are either signifigantly reduced or eliminated when shipping on trucks for a distance of more than 100-miles .
• Hemp processing with mobile decorticators enables farmers to get the fiber-layer free from outer shells.
• A mobile processing unit helps farmers avoid the extra shipping cost for outer shells and inner hurds ( woodier core ) associated with transportation of whole stalks to bigger decortication sites.
How are hemp fiber processors dealing with high processing costs?
• Mobile hemp decorticators minimize shipping costs by processing plant stalks into the fiber at the source .
• As solution to the hemp fiber processing problem, mobile hemp processing companies are touring 20-states in the country to offer processing services for farmers at their farms.
• In 2018, mobile hemp processing companies started setting up the farmers market to process hemp harvests in the Northeast, Midwest , and West regions of the US.
• Mobile hemp decorticator companies evaluate the quality of the harvest , quote price to farmers, and sell it to customers directly.
• The hemp processors are able to process hemp according to different use and supply it to customers directly. For example, some buyers require hemp fibers for making cordage and automotive parts , while others require hemp hurds to make hemp blocks and hempcrete .
• 6ix hemp Inc. provides comprehensive mobile decortication services, from onsite decortication to sales and focuses on regional production and distribution. These services are provided at 3 different price points and levels depending on farmer contribution that varies from 50% — 70%.
Mobile Hemp Decorticator: Hemp Processing Made Easy? Due to the cost of transporting hemp material to decortication facilities, it is difficult for farmers to monetize industrial hemp biomass for