Case Study: The Kaua’i Hemp Company

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Remote Extraction Equipment Installation in Hawai’i

Located on a remote island, Kaua’i Hemp Company (KHC) is the first USDA Certified Organic hemp farm and processing lab in the State of Hawai’i. Situated on the south side of the island, where ample sunshine and cooling trade winds nourish open-air, sun-grown hemp cultivation, the farm utilizes traditional Korean and Hawaiian sustainable and regenerative farming methods. 

In addition to hemp cultivation, the Kaua’i Hemp Company utilizes state-of-the-art cannabinoid extraction equipment, including Prospiant’s Delta CUP-30 ethanol extraction platform, along with our Falling Film Evaporator (FFE)–to extract and distill CBD and CBG cannabinoids for their range of certified organic full-spectrum products. 

The Company is also unique in that not only is its hemp is grown in possibly the cleanest air and soil in the world, but it’s also fully vertically integrated on-site and has its own water supply and a very low carbon footprint due to the use of solar-powered electricity. The hemp is grown in a field within a short walk to the drying rooms and extraction, refinement, and packaging facility; quite a rare setup in the hemp industry.  

Daryl Kaneshiro, the company founder, has a 100-year legacy in agriculture that was passed on to him by a family of generational farmers. In recent years, he witnessed Hawaiian agriculture being threatened by the diminished value of presently utilized crops such as pineapple, sugar cane, and corn – crops that were detrimental to Kaua’i’s ecosystem. Mr. Kaneshiro sought out a new agriculture sector that worked in synergy with Kaua’i’s nutrient-rich red dirt, steady rainfall, and ample sunshine. He found that hemp filled this niche, and Kaua’i Hemp Company was founded in 2019.  

Solar panels cascade down a hillside adjacent to the Kauai Hemp Company’s hemp processing facility

Service Challenge: Replacement of a Critical Part During Pandemic Lockdowns

When the company started researching cannabinoid processing equipment, they hired an independent hemp industry consultant to advise on which best-of-breed extraction and processing equipment to purchase. The external consultant recommended Prospiant’s Delta CUP-30 and the FFE Evaporator as ideal systems. The main benefit of both machines being their adaptability to grow with the company as they expanded their business. 

Kauai Hemp Company took advantage of our on-site installation and training services. The CUP-30 ethanol extraction unit and FFE evaporator were installed by our service team in person. Prospiant’s two-man service team installed the machines on Kaua’i from the packing crate to full operation in just under two days including training employees to run the machine.  

Fast forward to the early months of the pandemic and a critical part of the CUP-30 – the main drive – had exceeded its stated end-of-life and needed replacement. The Company had a significant amount of hemp awaiting production so if they had to wait a long time for the replacement part, then any delays would’ve posed serious problems to the business. 

Solution: Remote Install via Zoom

Judiah McRoberts, the company’s President, recalls, “We called Prospiant and explained what was happening and they said, they could definitely fix it but it was during the middle of COVID and Kaua’i had very strict lockdown protocols. Their team would have to quarantine for 14 days before servicing the machine.”     

Judiah continues, “But luckily Prospiant said, ‘We’ll fly the replacement part over to you and we’ll walk you through the install via Zoom. We’re confident between your staff and our team that we can make that happen.’” 

The Prospiant Service team then sent the replacement part via air freight in two days.  

“We set up the Zoom call and your team walked us through every step of replacing the drive remotely making sure the most important thing for everyone was safety. Then 9-10 hours later we hooked the machine up and got our production back online. So from the time that we told them that we had a problem, to the time that we had it back up and running was a total of seven business days, which for being on Hawai’i is an amazing turnaround.”  

The high level of humidity in the air in Hawaii causes condensation to settle on the Delta CUP-30

Results: The Kaua’i Hemp Company Begins Toll Processing

We asked Isabella Sherman, Vice President, how the Delta CUP-30 helps KHC tackle daily business challenges. “One, it’s reliable. And two, its processing capacity is great. It also allows us to offer toll processing as an option for other hemp farmers because we’re able to handle their capacity as well. We actually expect our very first full processing order coming this week. So that’s fantastic.”  

Isabella also likes the efficiency, speed, and output quality of the CUP machine. “I mean, you’re looking at a 20-minute run, from agitation though to spin cycle. So it’s fairly efficient. We can process 500+ pounds in a day, with only 2% ethanol loss, all of which leads to high-quality finished products.”  

“Even though the hemp industry is quite young in Hawai’i,” she continues, “We’re able to offer unique extraction methods that aren’t offered anywhere else in the state. It’s very easy to clean, pretty easy to maintain, and easy to operate. It’s a great piece of equipment for a startup business. As we scale and grow we’ll be able to process more and more, so it fits us well.” 

The CUP-30 has also influenced the company’s end-product decisions, the types of extracts they want to sell direct-to-consumers, and also to retailers. The Kaua’i Hemp Company is constantly innovating with new cannabinoid products. Most recently they released a CBD:CBG 1:1 ratio tincture as well as a 1000MG CBG tincture. 

“Definitely with regards to our pricing. We’re able to, I think, undercut some of our competitors, yet still produce a very high-quality product because of the efficiencies of the CUP-30. It really works for our margins and total cost really nicely.” 

Learn more about the Kaua’i Hemp Company at https://kauaihempco.com/.  

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