China vs Germany: WFE cage match

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at the various wiped film systems on the market, and I’ve now pretty much selected mine, but it’s been a lot of work.

Basically, I guess what I want to know is what details the hive mind here feels truly separate a VTA from your everyday standard China wiper from a mechanical perspective (or a Beaker and Wrench for that matter, which I’ve been told sits somewhere in the middle quality-wise between them, but do your research, etc.)

My experience with German engineering is that it is frequently fantastic from a “how well does this thing work or otherwise do its job” perspective, but sometimes lacking in cost optimization areas. For one example: does everything need to be super finely polished to pharmaceutical standards? Maybe not for all customers. That’s expensive to do because it’s time consuming. There are lots of other things like this too.

I find that companies that take care of the little things tend to take care of the big things. But that doesn’t mean that you need to take care of Every Single Little Thing that exists to turn out a damn good production system.

I talked to someone who bought two of the biggest VTA things that are on their website. I wish I had his investors/backers/family, but I’m trying to do this in a way that’s a little more frugal with our capital. He likely spent about as much on those two systems as I’m spending to outfit my entire lab, which will probably be pushing out more distillate than his units. But I digress.

Anyways, from talking to a whole bunch of people, these are the things that seem important:

  • Ensure the entire thing has heating jackets or EHT tape or some other way of keeping the hot bits hot and the cold bits cold

  • Hemispherical bottomed cold traps don’t work as well as cone-bottom ones, the hemispherical ones freeze up or something?

  • Carbon wipers (shows up on high-end VTA stainless according to Carbon Wiper Blades WFE)

  • High quality feed/product removal pumps

  • Sensors for temp/etc (more is better)

  • Good mechanical tolerances throughout

  • Not welded by a blind crack addicted orangutan

I know that this is approaching the territory where a lot of consultants make a not insignificant amount of money, but if we help everyone select better, more cost effective equipment, everyone will benefit. (Especially consultants who will hopefully have to work on a lower fraction of shitty equipment.)

What else should be on this list?

EDIT: Also go check out this thread if you want some good lively discussion about some of the more common brands, mostly about glass but still good. Wiped Film Manufacturers

2 Likes

Hehe, you missed the beaker & wrench fiasco.

They’re off the list these days

5 Likes

Ooh drama, that’s what happens when I have to go into the “fundraising hole of despair” for a few months. I miss all sorts of shit.

1 Like

From my understanding in terms of quality, dialed gear…you have VTA (rootsciences) and then there is everyone else. @Kingofthekush420 could probably lend some insight on this.

2 Likes

I love CTS. Similar American engineering with German parts. To add another point to your list, my CTS wfe comes with data logging capabilities, which is crucial for validation and GMP-readiness (or gmp-ness).

6 Likes

If you look at Chinese equipment like something you bought cheap off of Ebay in used condition without parts or manuals and requiring reconditioning, you won’t be disappointed.
If you buy German, Swiss or Japanese, the only problem will be your lack of understanding and their reps will tell you so.
And with American equipment the only question is “was it made in China.”

I buy a lot of Chinese stuff but I am cheap and like to rebuild things.

1 Like

Heat tape is garbageeeeeeeeeeee

I’d never buy a wiper that uses heat tape.

You get what you pay for.

The VTA has gear pumps that dont leak, which is one huge benefit.

It’s the only unit I’ve found that the gear pumps dont leak dry

4 Likes

Test drive it before you buy it.

3 Likes

Do you know who makes the pumps?

Danfoss germany

1 Like

Double jacketed, with a vacuum insulated jacket layer, is a huge plus that we’re implementing on some clients designs.

3 Likes

CTS ?? Wich brand are you reffuring to ?

Kind of amazing ly stupid that this is not a standad in fabrication
Even a Glass coldtrap should have this

5 Likes

Chemtech Services, Inc.

Very similar to VTA but less geared toward cannabis. I’ve run KD-6, KD-10, and KD-30 units. KD-30 is a bit finicky to get started with because of how much volume it wants to push but as the gear pumps break in, you can get it lower.

1 Like

I nearly never hear UiC gmbh shortpaths
It s a company that is Now owned by VTA but still available on the second hand market. And as good if not better than VTA
2 stainless riga for sale in the netherlands not cheap but big treuputt
30 L /hour

I didn’t even get trained on the VTA by root science because we didnt have power when they installed.

Above is my first run and results.

Btw this was full speed, 4.5 liters an hour

1 Like

Chemtech is a division of UiC if I recall correctly. Imo there are things about VTA that make it seem like cannabis is one of the planned applications, whereas for CTS/UiC units it seems to be more of a tool-for-all-trades. I’m a big CTS fanboy though because I can tear them down and rebuild blindfolded at this point.

Trying to figure out the difference between their “Short Path” KD series and their “Rolled Film” RF series. Both look like wipers to me…

I think staged cold traps are helpful. Actually the cold trap was among the biggest problems i had with my chemtechs. If you run LN2 or even dry ice cold fingers you’ll never be able to run continuously because eventually frozen terpenes will block the trap. A warmer trap prior to that one would have really cut the problem down. Furthermore the cold trap should have some kind of outlet pumping. This is an area even a lot of the good manufacturers neglect for some reason.

2 Likes

A roller has a rolling pin instead of wiper blade.

Roller > wiper anyday

3 Likes