The Project:

  • AMG engineered a new cutting-edge industrial control system for CBD extraction at a cannabis processing facility.
  • The new system - fully integrated, fully automated, and largely autonomous - is the first of its kind in the industry.
  • The client, Precision Extraction Solutions® is a global leader in cannabis extraction equipment and technology. The facility, Canapar, founded in Sicily, in the heart of the Mediterranean sea, is the largest high-tech extraction facility in Europe for active compounds and wellness products.
  • Our scope for the project was to engineer, design, fabricate, and deliver an industrial scale cannabis extraction system that removes the desirable cannabis compounds from the plant’s matrix. The cannabis contains at least one hundred and thirteen cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). At this facility the THC will be separated from the CBD and destroyed in a secure manner. 

Constraints and Challenges:

There are two major constraints and challenges for this application. 

  • The first was the footprint of the operation and the shipping method. The equipment was designed in a modular, skid configuration, able to fit within standard ISO shipping containers (connexs). The compact footprint made it challenging for the arrangement and installation of the process equipment, piping, and electrical and instrumentation elements.
  • The second was the area classification. This project is classified as ATEX Zone II. The potential explosive atmosphere required the design to be implemented that will operate safely during any upset process condition.

The Solution:

  • We required a plug and play, equipment mountable I/O protocol optimized for the modular design and installation of the overall system in an ATEX zone II hazardous location.

  • AMG implemented Beckhoff’s open automation systems, Ethercat technology based on PC control technology to monitor and control the entire process, including field mountable discrete and analog I/O modules, to safety, AS-interface, Hart, and thermistor modules.
  • We also designed and fabricated field mounted marshalling enclosures in our panel shop for the ease of installation wiring between the skids and the motor control center, located in a general classification area.
  • All components utilized were rated for the proper area classification and for the various communication protocols or fieldbus platforms required by the broad array of devices implemented on the project.
  • The end result was a seamless integration with the Beckhoff controller.

Key Innovations & Approaches:

This KPD operation is the first of its kind. The typical extraction equipment and systems in the hemp and Cannabis industry have historically been individual pieces of equipment that were controlled manually, or partial systems that were not integrated within an industrial control system. We have designed and implemented an easy to use, fully automated and largely autonomous system for the extraction process, requiring little input from the operator other than initiating the start sequence from the human-machine interface, freeing up the operators’ time to focus on quality and safety.




The evidence of value could be looked at in many ways:

  • The typical hemp and cannabis extraction equipment would require 4 – 6 operators to effectively operate the equipment. Utilizing the automated system,, we can operate a much larger system on a 24-7 basis with as few as two operating technicians per shift.
  • The automation hardware, software, and components, and installation were very cost effective when compared mainstream, conventional automation systems

Satisfaction is achieved by meeting the client’s expectations and needs, savings on capital expenditures, as well as lowering the cost of operations. With this project we have accomplished all the above.

“We searched for the best most well-qualified manufacturing partner that we could build an industrial scale, modular extraction platform with. We found AMG engineering in Dayton Ohio and they’ve been a pleasure to work with ever since.”

- Nick Tennent, CTO Precision Extraction Solutions.



About the Author:

Aaron Kenney is AMG’s Electrical and Instrumentation department manager. Aaron is always in search of an innovative and cost-effective ways to improve and complete a project. He has been working with AMG since 2003 and has been a direct employee since 2010. Aaron was instrumental in AMG’s first implementation of Delta V, Foundation Fieldbus, and AS-interface on a project for a Bio-Tech firm in 2003. He has been involved with and managed electrical, instrumentation, and control projects from a few thousand dollars to multi-million-dollar installations.

About AMG:

AMG is a full-service engineering firm specializing in the engineering design of facilities in the agricultural commodities processing industry, as well as many other markets.  Over our 40+ year history we’ve engineered hundreds of projects in the oil seeds extraction sector to produce such oils as corn, soybean, canola, sunflower, rapeseed, and even oil from algae.  We’ve engineered small facilities that produce less than 20 thousand #/day of oil to plants that produce more than 1.5 million #/day.  AMG leveraged its extraction and oilseeds experience on this project to develop and industrial scale, robust extraction system for the cannabis industry.



Topics: Case Studies