Vitalis Extraction Technology staff. Photo: Contributed

Vitalis Extraction Technology staff. Photo: Contributed

Kelowna cannabis extraction manufacturer gets step up on competitors

Vitalis Extraction Technology first in Canada cannabis industry to earn ASME certification

A Kelowna company is the first in Canada to earn certification from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for its manufactured cannabis extraction equipment.

Vitalis Extraction Technology is marketing its product and manufacturing base beyond just Canada, to the U.S., South America and Europe.

The rapid growth Vitalis since it was started up three years ago has seen it grow from 20 to 60 employees with plans to consolidate all of its business locations around the city into a 40,000 sq.ft. facility near the airport at a cost of $10 million.

Vitalis is on track for a 105 per cent increase in sales this business year.

Pete Patterson, co-owner of Vitalis along with partners Joel Sherlock and James Seabrook, said their sudden growth is a reflection of the “wild west” excitement surrounding the legalization of cannabis globally.

Patterson said while examples of legalization are being studied carefully in Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon, he said other countries are watching how Canada benchmarks the industry foundation on a nation-wide level.

From the outset, Patterson said he and his partners surveyed the industry to find a marketing niche for their CO2 extraction product design, which was created by Seabrook, part of the first UBC Okanagan mechanical engineering graduation class.

He said they settled on focus on large-scale production given the competition on the smaller end, and to provide a product that was reliable, ultimately would pass ASME certification and was geared to hash oil extraction for cannabis as consumers were looking for alternatives to smoking legalized pot,

The extraction market equipment is based on petroleum-based solvents such as butane and propane along with CO2 natural products. These solvents are exposed to extreme temperatures and pressures, they display structures that fluctuate between intermediate states of solid, liquid and gaseousness.

He said the potential for consumer demand has brought retailers coming to them now with demands to process up to one million pounds of product a year.

Patterson said the fast and unstructured growth of the manufacturing equipment supply side has presented some massive additional costs.

He noted Alberta, B.C. and Ontario all have slightly varying regulatory rules for cannabis extraction equipment, something that Vitalis has taken pains to meet with their equipment, and something other competitors do not.

“I heard one story of two organizations that purchased equipment out of Europe that cost $600,000 and required a further $300,000 to meet certification standards, and an Ontario licensed producer bought a system that required a further $250,000 in upgrade costs,” he said.

“If you don’t bring it up to specs it becomes nothing more than a paperweight. That’s why certification was important to us, as we wanted to stand behind our product.”

But for all the enthusiasm about legalized marijuana business sales revenue, Patterson acknowledges there are similarities to the potential extolled about Internet product investment in the 1990s which led to many companies going bankrupt after securing stock market investment.

“We want to be mindful of what happened when that bubble burst in the mid-90s so we are looking to off-set or revenue stream reliance on the cannabis industry by looking at product development in other areas such as oil and gas industry and mining,” he said.

Patterson said while he and Sherlock came here from larger cities and Seabrook opted to remain here after graduating from UBCO, he said they believe Kelowna has become an ideal location to base a company with global sales aspirations.

“We thought about locating to larger cities like a Toronto, Vancouver or Edmonton, partly because land is cheaper and more available. But we continued to gravitate back to being in Kelowna. And we have found since it allows us to recruit expert talent because of the lifestyle here, and on the manufacturing side of equipment components we have ready access to a supply chain to help meet our metal and electronics needs.”



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Allison O’Neil. (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Okanagan College prof encourages women to excel in math and science

Allison O’Neil is works in the engineering department at the Kelowna campus

Kelowna Fire Department members are cleaning up a two-vehicle collision on Harvey Avenue at Dilworth Drive Sunday afternoon, Feb. 28. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna crews clear up highway collision

Two vehicles involved in incident at Dilworth Drive and Harvey Avenue

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Most Read