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So, you’re considering launching a vape line for your cannabis brand. But with so many providers, styles, and variables to consider how can one be certain they are making the decisions that are right for their brand, extracts, and customers from the get-go? As manufacturers, we know what it takes to create a reliable and attractive business model to ensure sales for years to come and have worked with many commanding brand names over the years to make their vape dreams a reality. So, what does it take to manifest an impressive stand out vape line in this current market? It all starts with a well thought out plan of attack and your oil formulation.
1. Viscosity and Oil Formulation
It is important to remember when making and filling vape hardware that one of the major factors that plays into successful and consistent vaporization is the viscosity of your oil. You want to ensure that you can devise a consistent method for extraction and delivery of product to the hardware. This viscosity/formulation once tested to satisfaction will ensure that you should not see any surprises down the road due to the composition of your oil upon delivery to the hardware. Another variable to consider, if you are filling with live/full spectrum extracts especially, is the genetic makeup and terpene profile which vary from strain to strain that can also affect oil viscosity/formulation. When introducing a new strain to your already refined process consider this an unknown variable and test in small batches first always before diving into mass filling.
Once you have down a consistent oil formulation/extraction process that you are happy with it is time to start looking at hardware. With all these styles and choices on the market what should one first consider when first picking the hardware to pair with their extracts? Let us look to where the oil and the hardware first intermingle, at the intake holes.
2. Oil Intake Size and the Role they Play
The intake holes near the bottom of every cartridge/pod is where the oil will contact the atomizer (heating element) to be vaporized. The size, shape, and surface provided by each intake hole serves as the gateway for oil to flow/wick to the ceramic core of the cartridge. The smaller and less surface area provided by intake holes means that less oil will wick to the atomizer at a time. So, in saying this we can deduce that smaller intake holes are better suited for thinner oils and the larger those holes get the more surface there is for absorption, which would be necessary as oil viscosity gets thicker and thicker. More surface is required for thicker oils, so it is able absorb at a consistent rate. The more your extract moves like water in its final room temp state the more likely it should be deemed thin, and thicker extracts should be compared to honey, molasses, or even rubber cement.
Now that we have homed in on what intake hole size will best suit the extract, how can we ensure we won’t see failure as a result of the filling process? Much like nailing down a proper formulation for your oil, another key to long term success in this process is to be sure you have developed a thorough and precise filling method.
3. Filling Process and Creating a Consistent Reliable Product
The biggest note we can touch on in this section and words to carry with you are, “ALWAYS do sufficient and extensive testing”. Initial testing done on hardware is all you have to base your knowledge on for the future task of filling by the mass and distributing, so you want to ensure long term success through proper testing procedure and protocol and never stray from it. When filling cartridges or pods we at iKrusher have found there to be two key variables at play which can make or break the filling process: filling temperature, and capping time. When delivering oil to the cartridge/pod you want to ensure that the oil does not exceed temperatures of 120 Fahrenheit. The temperature of the oil is important as the hotter the oils are the thinner and more fluid they behave. Because you are dealing with semi-porous ceramic heating elements delivering too hot of oil can cause the product to permeate the ceramic too quickly and result in leaking before you have even had time to cap. So, the cooler the oil can be delivered the better. Some of our customers have even seen greater success in preheating cartridges they will be filling to the same temperature as the oil before delivery. Once the oil is in the hardware, we then must be mindful of how long they sit before being sealed. Imagine for a moment a glass of water with a straw in it. When you take your thumb and place it over the hole at the top and pull up, the water that was sitting inside that straw has been lifted with it due to the air pressure inside. Filling cartridges and pod functions on this same principal. When filling, you want to try and cap the carts as quickly as possible to maintain proper air pressure inside that hardware. This is not to say that you must fill and cap each piece one at a time but making sure that cartridges are filled and then capped all within about 2-3 minutes is a good pace to adhere to. Stick with these guiding principals when filling. This process should make sense for you and your team as well as produce concise, positive results, every time.
We are now past most of the nitty-gritty and can give more attention to the experience that your endpoint customer will receive. First thing that will be most concerning to your end point consumer outside of price point is how the final product performs.
4. Vape Hardware Performance and How to Provide a Specific Experience
All vape hardware performance operates on the same principal, a relationship of the resistance of the coil to the voltage power being pushed by the battery attached. This principal is called “Ohm’s Law” and states that electric current is proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance. So the two main players within our control for producing a specific vaporization experience are; the resistance of the atomizer within the cartridge/pod/disposable, and the voltage power being delivered by the battery to said atomizer. Think about the resistance or “Ohms” of the atomizer as being a translation of how much power is being RESISTED coming from the battery. The higher the resistance of your atomizer the higher the threshold is for reaching a desired pulse heat at the same voltage setting. A cartridge reading at 1.4Ω (ohms) will always get warmer than a cartridge at 1.6Ω when fired on the same battery with the same settings. If you do not have control over your atomizer resistance, then one can produce a specific vaporization experience can by having a fine-tuned voltage setting coming from the battery. The higher the voltage power is set the more power is being drawn from the battery at one time, heating the coil more readily and providing warmer hits. Most of the 510 thread batteries available these days will feature multiple voltage power settings, so the consumer can decide what they think is the best way to experience your cartridge. When working with a company like iKrusher, one can even go as far as to deduce and pinpoint exactly what resistance and voltage power settings are best for your extracts/brand and produce hardware which provides your customers with a unique experience. We here at iKrusher have even developed a variety of pod systems over the years which provide a proprietary vaping experience while simultaneously driving more customers back to your product/storefronts.
You should be in great shape by this point with full confidence in the product you are making and ready to consider exactly how the product looks packaged and on the shelf. While this is a very important variable in the process of creating a new vape line, we believe it should only be given weight once the performance and compatibility with your oil is first addressed. If you have a beautiful product that works only half the time and gets returned constantly then you should hit the drawing boards again and reevaluate where your issues really lie.
5. Style, Packaging, and Shelf Appeal
Our product is now almost wrapped up and delivered, and the hardest parts are behind us. But now we must grab the attention of these new and interested shoppers. We know we have all of the pieces to make our perfect vape hardware so we now can consider fun and interesting customization options for branding the product and making it truly your own. After all, you want something that will compliment your extracts and look good while doing so. Screen prints and laser etches of your logo, color, body, or tip style changes; you name it and iKrusher can help you make it! We also know you also can’t sell this hardware just as it is, and while we at iKrusher don’t specialize in packaging, we have been working in the industry long enough to have the support of a slew of different top notch packaging suppliers in our portfolio we can help connect you with to provide packaging solutions for any scenario. iKrusher in its history has provided more variety of styles in appearance and intakes than just about any company in our industry and knows what it takes to craft high quality hardware for both aesthetics and performance. We produce our hardware in a practically one of a kind, dust free, ODM capable facility featuring a 27-point quality control process and the most esteemed and universally accepted manufacturing standards. This means you can be sure you are receiving some of the highest quality and most reliable hardware in the industry with every order. Together with our customers, we look to create the next most innovative hardware and brands the industry does not know they need yet.
Adhere closely to all these guidelines and you should find yourself in a very comfortable place for launching your new vape line.