Imagine a world where every car was a one-of-a-kind. One might have side air bags, one might have antilock brakes, some have seat belts….how would you determine if safety was maintained and improved over time if every vehicle was different.
CO2 extraction equipment is no different. Salesmen usually try to upsell one-of-a-kind systems as customized or unique, but in reality they are void of a quality, engineered process and as such they are using each system they build to research a new idea or concept. This puts all the risk on the person purchasing the system. Some salesmen recognize the negative connotations surrounding custom systems, so they will avoid the topic at all costs. If you are in the market for a CO2 extraction system, don’t let the salesmen sell you a system. Rather you should let the companies historical customers convince you that the system is ideal for your application and built on sound engineering principles. Below are some questions that you should ask the salesmen and his/her other clients.
For the Salesmen
- “I would like to see pictures of multiple systems that you have sold”
- Excluding a model change, the system should look identical (not just roughly similar)
- “What serial number are you on”
- Don’t just ask how many systems they built, you can check out serial number of his clients systems to see if they match what you were told
- “What is the warranty period and what is not covered by the warranty”
- You should ask for this in writing so you have proof after the sale
- “I would like to go see a couple systems running at your clients facilities”
- You need to make it clear that you don’t want to meet the salesman at another clients facility, you need to go by yourself so that you get the unencumbered opinion of the client
- “What is the run time to get 10% yield on xxx botanical”
- 10% is fairly easy to extract with any system from any botanical. They should have a time to reach 10% on each system. Don’t be pulled in by the salesman providing numbers that are too high, because you want to get corroboration when you meet his clients.
For his Clients
- “How long does it take you to get a 10% extraction”
- Ideally, they will be running the same botanical as you, but you are mostly trying to validate that the salesman was giving you factual information
- “What are your maintenance costs per month”
- “How often do you have to vent CO2, either manually or via the relief valves”
- In a properly designed system (liquid or gas pumping), the only time that any venting should occur is at shutdown. And if the relief valves are popping at all during operation, something is fundamentally wrong with the design. (as an aside, excessive venting would preclude the system from meeting Washington’s I502 requirements)
- “What would you change about your system”
- The salesman is not dumb, he is only going to send you to a client that is happy and making good money with his system. But if the thing they would change is pedantic, your probably on a good path. If its major, like I have to pay someone to sit in front of the machine 24 hours a day or the pressure regulators clog all the time-you might want to talk to a few competitors before you write a check.