Vitalis Extraction Technology staff. Photo: Contributed

Vitalis Extraction Technology staff. Photo: Contributed

B.C. business makes a mint on cannabis extraction equipment

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

An Okanagan 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.

Since it started up three years ago Vitalis has grown 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 Kelowna International Airport at a cost of $10 million.

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

READ MORE: SALES LICENCE FOR KELOWNA CANNABIS PRODUCER

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 focusing on large-scale production given the competition on the smaller end. They chose to provide a product that was reliable and would ultimately would pass ASME certification and that was also geared to hash oil extraction.

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 to them 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.

READ ALSO: FUTURE UNCERTAIN FOR VANCOUVER POT SHOPS

“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.

READ ALSO: B.C. TO STILL ONLY HAVE ONE STORE SELLING POT WHEN LEGALIZATION ROLLS AROUND

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

Flip City’s Elise Van Harmelen at the 2017 Langley Invitational at the Langley Events Centre. Flip City is one of 11 local sports groups getting COVID relief funding. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley sports clubs get COVID relief funding

The province is giving cash to groups hit hard by shutdowns

The first tree – a Sitka spruce – in the second phase of Fort Langley’s Memory Grove was planted on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 21. (Kurt Alberts/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Second phase of Memory Grove planted at Fort Langley

The first trees started going into the ground on Thursday, Jan. 21

B.C. MInisterial Order 425 and the list of permitted exemptions to wearing face masks in retail businesses and other public spaces. (B.C. Government website)
LETTER: Langley newspaper criticized for doing story on maskless encounter

Local letter writer shares opinion on video of unmasked man in grocery store

Two schools in the Langley School District have reported COVID-19 exposures. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Two Langley schools added to COVID-19 exposure list

Public Health will only contact those who were exposed

Jessica Simpson speaking to Langley Township council as a delegate in 2019. (Township of Langley/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Health privacy breach claimed by controversial Langley woman

Jessica Simpson is suing Fraser Health over an alleged breach in her health info

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

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

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read