One of Graywolf’s Lair new columns is about my visits to local cannabis equipment manufacturers, and I started with Subzero Scientific, handily located in Gresham, OR. I started with Subzero Scientific because they are not only a major player in the cannabis equipment arena, but Gresham is close to Portland, so it took less than 30 minutes to get there.
It was my good fortune to get the grand tour conducted by Lew Swan himself, who founded Subzero Scientific in his garage in 2010. They expanded into their shop at 710 NE Cleveland Ave #120, Gresham, OR in 2012, where they employed six employees, and have expanded again in 2020 to include a retail facility in Grants Pass, OR, and they currently employ eight employees.
Subzero Scientific’s product line has expanded from hydrocarbon extractors, to include subzero ethanol extractors, falling film solvent recovery, decarb vessels, diamond miners, CRC columns, shell in tube heat exchangers, counter flow heat exchangers, and coil exchangers.
Subzero Scientific builds their own equipment from raw stock and components like dished heads spun in the USA to maintain their high quality standards, and include high polish on many of their components, all meticulously done the hard way by hand using polishing lathes and support rollers.
They are currently building about 100 complete systems per year, which they hope to increase with the addition of their new retail store in the southern Oregon fertile triangle, where much of the action takes place.
They cut elements to size using two high tension bandsaws for squareness and accuracy, machine the parts to fit using a CNC mill.
CNC Mill and high tension bandsaw
They weld components together using the latest in inverter welders, and position the parts during weld using a positioner to keep all welding 1G down hand for best control and quality.
Welding using a Miller inverter weld machine and weld positioner
Post electro-polish weld quality examples
They also roll their own HEX coils, including the counterflow tube within a tube HEX’s, as well as build their own tube and shell exchangers.
Double wound heat exchanger coils
Shell and tube exchangers ready for outer shell
Falling film solvent recovery
Double jacketed ethanol holding tanks
Vanilla bean extractor
Ethanol extraction systems
Ethanol extraction systems with mixer