Why Smart Growers Use Conveyors

Why Smart Growers Use Conveyors

In this Buck University post we outline the advantages of using conveyors in your harvest process.

Smart growers are always looking for ways to dial in efficiency, maintain flower quality, and increase their bottom-line profitability. If you are growing at scale, adding conveyors can give you a competitive advantage.

Conveyors Increase Efficiency

Almost every cultivation industry uses conveyors as an integral part of their harvest and/or packaging systems. This is because conveyors keep processes moving and reduce workflow delays and stoppage.

As a bucking machine company, we are focused on keeping the harvest processes flowing.

The key factors to maximizing throughput when harvesting buds with a bucking machine are:

  1. Most important: The operators must stay on task and not stop bucking.
  2. Operators should work at a consistent but sustainable pace.
  3. Separate workers handle stem prep/staging/cleanup and emptying bud bins.

Without a conveyor, the bucker operators are forced to stop bucking, turn the machine off, then either move out of the way while another worker empties their bin, or empty it themselves, then start the machine and get back to bucking. Depending on your machine and throughput rate, this kind of workflow interruption can be significant.

A typical 27-gallon “tote bin” holds about 30 pounds of freshly bucked wet buds. Let’s do the math on how often bins must be emptied:

  • Wet bucking: With the usual wet throughput of 150 lbs/hour from our legendary Mother Bucker, the bucked bud bin must be emptied every 12 minutes.

While that might not sound like a hardship, every time an operator stops to empty bins, that is time not spent bucking, which adds another handling step, further reducing flower quality and decreasing harvest efficiency.

  • “Cluster” bucking: With the per-hour throughput of the Cluster Bucker going as high as 800 pounds an hour you’ll be emptying bins every 2 ½ minutes. 

Stopping bucking every 2 ½ minutes to empty bins is obviously a major inefficiency! This kind of workflow disruption can be eliminated by using conveyors and setting up an appropriate workflow scenario.

When to Use Conveyors

Conveyors can increase efficiencies in just about every aspect of harvest, processing, and packaging. Here are the most common usage scenarios related to harvesting:

  • Conveyance into trimmer - This common set-up removes an entire handling step and is the best way to increase efficiency when wet bucking and wet trimming at scale.

  • Conveyance onto drying racks - If you dry bucked buds on screens in a controlled environment, a worker can be staged to arrange buds and slide the trays into rolling rack frames.

  • Conveyance into flash freezing system - If your goal is premium “live resin” concentrate from freshly frozen flower, getting your crop frozen quickly preserves terpenes that might otherwise be lost.

  • QC work on conveyor - Stationing a worker on a conveyor allows first-pass quality control to be performed immediately after bucking, saving time and increasing quality.

  • Fan leaf removal and sorting - Workers can be stationed down a conveyor for fan leaf removal or bud size sorting, eliminating one collecting/dumping step and reducing handling further.

Conveyors Maintain Quality

Every time you handle your flower in any way, its quality is slightly degraded. Anytime a bin is filled with bucked buds, then emptied, those buds are tumbled against each other, shaking off trichomes and potentially denting or crushing the buds.

If your goal is premium flower quality, minimize how much you handle your flower. Conveyors help increase overall flower quality and reduce trichome loss because they reduce material handling.

Munch Machine Integrated Conveyors

Unlike others, our conveyors are purpose built for each of our bucking machines and have unique features that make them the best available:

  • Integrated Design - Munch Machine Conveyors attach directly to our machines and move with the bucker as an integrated unit. No more wobbly conveyor stands or janky machine-to-conveyor connections.

  • Perimeter Shielding - The stainless steel perimeter shielding funnels all material onto the food grade conveyor belt. The shielding can be removed easily without tools, making cleanup much faster.

  • Belt Edge Guard - Other conveyors let material collect internally, which requires excessive downtime for cleaning. Munch Machine has solved this problem with a unique belt edge guard that minimizes material migration under the belt, greatly reducing the frequency of cleaning.

  • Slide and Tilt - We designed our conveyors to need less frequent cleaning, but we also added features to make it quick and easy: Our “Slide & Tilt” feature allows operators to tip the conveyor bed down for quick cleaning of all surfaces.

  • Belt Removal - For faster deep cleaning, the food grade PVC belt loop can be de-tensioned, split, and completely removed in just minutes with only basic tools.

  • Variable Speed - If you buck directly into a trimming machine, the conveyor’s variable-speed motor can be adjusted to match the speed of your trimmer.

In addition to the features above, every surface your material touches is GMP compliant: 

  • The stainless steel shielding, belt material, and belt edge guard are made from FDA-approved, food-grade materials.
  • The motor and controls are UL and CSA certified for safety and the motor is washdown rated to provide many years of reliable use.

If you own a MUNCH Machine bucker, or are considering a purchase, we highly recommend adding one of our integrated conveyors. You will get more done, in less time, with better flower quality. 

Check out the link below to learn more about Munch Machine’s integrated conveyor systems:

Integrated Conveyors for MUNCH Machine Bucker