Introducing the Cluster Bucker
In this Buck University post, we take a deep dive into what makes the new Cluster Bucker the most capable and adaptable bucking machine available.
Why did we create the Cluster Bucker?
Munch Machine brought the first industrial-scale bucking machine to the market with the introduction of the legendary Mother Bucker in 2016. Since then, there's been no significant improvement in grip, throughput, or upstream efficiency. Until now...
With all roller-style machines, branches must be broken down with ends neatly prepped for efficient feeding. This step in the bucking process requires more labor and plant handling, but it is absolutely necessary to achieve the highest throughput numbers.
What if we could increase stem grip so larger branches or even branch clusters could be bucked? This would increase throughput for each machine operator, as more buds are bucked with every insertion.
What if we could also design a new style of die plate, so less stem prep is required? This would provide a major upstream efficiency advantage, further reducing time spent on harvesting.
With the new Cluster Bucker, we have achieved both of these goals.
Who is the Cluster Bucker designed for?
First and foremost, we engineered the Cluster Bucker for high throughput wet bucking. The efficiency gains come from two unique and patent-pending features:
- The TANC system (Traction Amplifying Nonslip Cassette) increases grip exponentially.
- The new keyhole-style die plate allows larger branches and branch clusters to be bucked.
This new machine truly excels for:
- Crops being fresh-frozen for “live resin” extraction (a game-changer for these growers!)
- Outdoor cultivators growing strains that produce particularly large or tall plants
- Growers harvesting late in the season when frost or wet weather is a risk
- Growers who wet buck, wet trim, then dry buds on racks in a controlled environment
- Any grower seeking more throughput from each machine operator
The Cluster Bucker is not only our most capable bucking machine, but also our most adaptable: Just swap the keyhole-style die plate to the hole-style die plate to achieve the same premium flower quality as our roller-style machines.
With its adaptability, you determine how to use the Cluster Bucker to achieve your desired flower quality.
Throughput and Upstream efficiency
With all roller-style machines, throughput is limited by how fast an operator can feed individual stems into a machine. With the Cluster Bucker, we have increased efficiency in two areas:
Throughput - The Cluster Bucker is the first bucking machine designed to dramatically increase the throughput of each operator:
- With large outdoor plants, you can expect to buck 650-800 lbs/hour.
- Compare this with 150 lbs/hour for the Mother Bucker, and 300 lbs/hour for the Double Bucker.
- With smaller autoflower plants, you can expect to buck 200-350 lbs/hour.
- Compare this with 100 lbs/hour for the Mother Bucker, and 200 lbs/hour for the Double Bucker.
Upstream Efficiency - While throughput is an important metric for any bucking machine, it is only one facet of many related to efficiency. To truly dial your harvest efficiency, all steps for each process must be considered.
When we talk about the “upstream” efficiency gains with the Cluster Bucker, we are actually talking about three distinct improvements. Because of the machine’s ability to buck larger stems and branch clusters:
1. Less plant breakdown is required:
- This means about half the time spent chopping the plant into individual branches, which is a necessity for all traditional hole die plates and pinch-roller style machines.
2. Stem preparation is reduced:
- No need to spend time trimming stems neatly and removing nubs for efficient feeding into die plate holes. Branches can be hand torn and bucked with minimal preparation.
- 3. Each operator’s throughput is maximized:
- All bucking machine throughput is limited by the speed of the operator. With the Cluster Bucker more buds are bucked with each insertion, increasing per-operator throughput.
While not as obvious as the pounds per-hour throughput numbers that are traditionally used to define machine performance, these three benefits are real and measurable ways to increase efficiency, save time, and reduce labor cost.
What makes the Cluster Bucker unique?
TANC System & Dual Motors
At the heart of this beast is an entirely new drive system: Instead of traditional pinch rollers, the Cluster Bucker features a unique patent-pending TANC system (Traction Amplifying Nonslip Cassette). This design lengthens the contact patch (the area that grips stems) 20-fold, increasing grip to an extreme level. Think tank treads vs tractor tires!
The machine is driven by dual 1-hp Lenze motors with variable speed control. These powerful motors, combined with the incredible grip of the TANC system belts, give the Cluster Bucker its astounding ability to pull large branches or stem clusters through the die plate. To accommodate a large range of branch sizes, the upper TANC unit is independently suspended at all four corners and is self-adjusting.
Keyhole Die PlateAnother new patent-pending feature of the Cluster Bucker is its keyhole-style die plate: Strategically placed keyhole-shaped slots let gravity assist in pulling branch clusters down and through the die plate. The slot section of the plate is angled to encourage buds to spring down onto a conveyor or into your catchment bin.
With this style die plate, much less branch breakdown and stem prep is required, saving loads of time before you even start bucking. When combined with the incredible grip and pulling power of the Cluster Buckers TANC system, this die plate allows more buds to be bucked with every stem/branch insertion, increasing each machine operator’s throughput.
This feature is designed for adaptability. If your goal is to produce top-shelf flower, or your plants are too small or dry to take advantage of the increased throughput afforded by the keyhole-syle die plate, just swap it out for the optional round hole die plate and get the same premium flower quality as with our roller-driven buckers.
Integrated Conveyor Option
If you want to grow at scale, you should be looking for every efficiency advantage possible. Conveyors not only offer compelling gains in efficiency, but also help maintain flower quality by reducing handling.
Munch Machine conveyors are optimized for efficiency because they attach directly to our machines and move together as an integrated unit. With the slide & tilt feature, our conveyors are also the easiest to clean by far.
With a machine as capable as the Cluster Bucker, so much material is bucked in such a short time, you’ll be swapping out catchment bins every few minutes. This causes a work stoppage bottleneck that can be alleviated with our optional integrated conveyor.
Easy Cleaning and Maintenance
As with all our machines, the Cluster Bucker is engineered for easy service and cleaning:
- Protection hoods and faceplate feature tool-less removal.
- Each belt cassette can be removed with only two fasteners.
- The entire unit is washdown rated for fast power cleaning.
- Dual compound belts reduce resin buildup and ease cleaning.
We know that downtime during harvest is not an option so we engineered the Cluster Bucker to be a trouble-free tank of a machine. If maintenance or repair is needed, the entire unit can be serviced in the field with standard tools. We also keep all parts in stock at all times, so you’ll never be left hanging during harvest.
Mitigate Threats and Increase Profit
Getting through a harvest quickly has the obvious benefit of saving money on labor, but there are other benefits to a speedy harvest as well:
- Reduced risk of hemp going “hot” - Having a crop go “hot” (more than 0.3% THC) before harvest is a real and serious issue.
- Racing against weather - Crops that mature late in the season have more risk of damage by frost or other bad weather.
- Mitigate contamination - The threat of mold or other contaminants increases the longer you take to harvest.
If a fast and efficient harvest can be viewed as a kind of “insurance policy” against common problems, buying a Cluster Bucker can be seen as a “1-time premium payment” that mitigates risk factors during harvest.
Most Capable. Most Efficient. Most Adaptable.
Our new Cluster Bucker sets the standard for high throughput bucking: A single operator can rip through more wet material, in less time, than any other machine on the market.
The Cluster Bucker is also the only machine in existence that offers major upstream efficiency advantages, saving you time and labor before you even start bucking.
Or, if you need the highest flower quality possible, it can be as gentle on your flower as hand bucking by switching to the optional hole-style die plate and slowing the machine speed down.
If you demand high throughput, adaptability, and total reliability, the Cluster Bucker is built for you.
Best of luck with your grow operation and as always, if you have questions or would like to review your harvest process with us, please reach out to the rep for your region or just give us a call!
~ The Munch Machine Crew