Advanced Extraction Labs’ modular C1D1 booths give extraction companies instant compliance and scalability
In a rapidly growing industry, the ability to scale up to meet increasing demand can be the difference between grabbing market share or falling behind the competition.
And in the growing category of cannabis extraction, the only things more important than scalability might be safety and compliance.
Combining all of that with more than a decade’s worth of experience with explosive safety enclosures, Advanced Extraction Labs’ line of American-built, C1D1-compliant, modular and ready-to-go extraction rooms, clean rooms and food-grade enclosures are designed specifically to help cannabis processors begin making product as quickly as possible.
“Everything was compliant and everything works the way it’s supposed to work,” says Steve Romaya, owner of Pure X, a Michigan processor that used Advanced Extraction Labs to help jump-start its business. “And in this industry, in the beginning, it’s very, very hard.”
In addition, the availability and expertise of AEL owner and president Christian Hluz helped ease the process with local regulators.
“Some cities don’t understand what this equipment is or what it does,” Romaya says. “But I was very confident we were getting approved, and he was there for us every step of the way.”
“We’ve worked closely with a lot of government agencies like building departments, fire departments, electrical departments, air quality, etc.,” says Hluz, whose previous business was building and installing paint booths and other highly regulated safety equipment. “Our reputation is extremely important to us, as well the quality of the product.”
Certified and Modular
Advanced Extraction Labs manufactures safe, secure booths for extraction equipment and processing facilities in any size needed, as well as giving the processor the ability to expand with their modular design.
AEL manufactures its own non-combustible panels, pre-engineered for custom sizing, from a 10-foot-by-10-foot enclosure for a 5-pound extraction system to 100 feet long and beyond, all standard with the enclosure, the ventilation system, sensors, fire suppression, explosion-proof lighting and hardware and other, customizable features.
“If you want security cameras, you’re going to get cameras,” says Hluz, “and you’re going to get a certified product.”
At the small end, AEL offers its Micro Series, designed for small-to-medium level businesses. It’s a perfect starter booth for a new extraction business.
Next up is the Mega Series, custom-engineered and available in three sizes, with Economy and Deluxe feature packages. The Mega Series is available with features like secondary doors and more powerful ventilation.
“There’s a lot more add-ons that you can have with a Mega, and the Deluxe is basically the top-of-the-line hardware,” Hluz says. “You’re getting an industrial-grade, explosion-proof lab with the Deluxe.”
The DYS Series is the most economical in the Advanced Extraction Labs lineup and comes fully equipped in three sizes, while the Exxa Series is designed to be run all day and is compatible with all extraction types. The Exxa Series can be made into a dual zone environment, making it the perfect choice for high-output labs.
The Zeta Series is the company’s largest model, perfect for custom-built extraction systems. These units can be as large as needed and come in many configurations, with options like multiple doors, multiple entrances and the ability to be partitioned into various workspaces, such as a specific area for off-gassing.
The labs are UL listed and PSI peer reviewed, and the Exxa and Zeta labs are also completely modular, giving buyers the option to expand as needed in the future.
“The advantage of the modular unit is obviously that you can go as big or as small as you need to and you can add to it pretty easily,” Hluz says.
Hluz and his team provide professional installation, no matter where the customer is located.
But because the staff includes engineers, welders, electricians and contractors — including Hluz himself — the company even transforms shipping containers into custom extraction facilities, giving every farm the ability to have its own processing lab. The Cube Series, as they are known, are essentially plug-and-play C1D1 labs, fully assembled and ready for power, all built in-house to meet customer specifications.
“Basically, you get an insulated workspace that’s fully outfitted, and it comes fully installed from our factory,” says Hluz. “You put it right outside, you anchor it to the ground on a concrete slab, bring power to it and move your extraction equipment inside and get to work.”
Cube Series labs can be placed indoors, based on requirements.
The company also makes clean rooms and degassing chambers.
Hluz and his wife Kiera, the company’s chief financial officer, founded Advanced Extraction Labs in 2019 after more than 10 years building and selling customizable paint booths and other enclosures for C1D1 and C1D2 locations, shorthand for hazardous areas where explosion or fire hazards exist because of flammable gases, vapors or liquids that are part of the business operation.
Located in California, Hluz took note of the growing cannabis processing sector, which also uses explosive gases, and saw not just an opening for his business, but a need for the industry to elevate the standard of safety for operators. The company began working with UL Solutions to change safety standards and earned a UL mark for its products.
“We’ve been working in the C1D1 space for many years,” he says. “We saw it as a natural progression to bring our service.”
The decision proved worthwhile as Advanced Extraction Labs has more than quadrupled its business in the past two years, becoming one of the premier C1D1 booth manufacturers in the country. The family-owned business now boasts 25 employees and has clients all around the country.
The expansion a few years back to begin manufacturing its own products has helped keep the costs down for the company and its customers.
“We have the best pricing because we manufacture every aspect of the lab: from the raw sheet metal to the powder coating top coat, assembly of the explosion-proof parts to our UL508A control panels,” says Hluz. “We have it all here in our 20,000-square-foot facility.”
During Hluz’s time working in the C1D1 space, he saw increased regulation for paint booths at auto body shops, progressing from a time when painters simply opened their garage doors for ventilation to the fully regulated work environment of today. He sees a similar trend coming for cannabis as well.
“More and more, the inspectors, the fire marshals and all the safety officers are seeing that these rooms are the safest way to go because they’re being monitored for any volatiles in the air at all times,” Hluz says. “Sooner or later, they’re going to start writing into code that you have to have one of these certified enclosures in your facility if you want to extract.”
At Pure X in Michigan, a licensed processor that provides white-label manufacturing services, including ethanol extraction, butane extraction and distillation, Romaya says the labs he purchased not only meet compliance but provide a level of security and safety for his entire team.
“When we’re doing exhaust blast extraction, we use butane, and these rooms are designed to be explosion proof and keep everyone safe,” he says.
On top of that, he says AEL’s attention to compliance and preparation helped him get his products to market quicker.
Hluz prides himself on the company’s customer service, often even making himself available to ensure that everything goes smoothly. It’s an old-school, traditional promise in an industry that can often seem “wishy washy.”
“We don’t bring that. We bring a real straight-shooter business model where we deliver when we say we’re going to deliver and we’re upfront with our clients,” he says. “We’re trying to cover the full spectrum of our customers’ needs.”