Retrofitting an Industrial Centrifuge For Room Temp Hexane Extraction

I am constantly watching equipment auctions and used equipment sellers for all types of equipment. I keep running across basket centrifuges and ask myself why cant I retrofit this to work in our lab?

I would be doing room temp extraction so jacketed isnt required. Some are already c1d2 rated and comes with all explosion proof controls.

I’m not sure if they are floodable or not but i assume some are, is there an easy way to tell if its floodable or not? I’m assuming it dependent on the capacity and weight ratings and overall design but i have no hands on centrifuge experience.

Here are a few examples i have found
This looks like an industrial washing machine with explsion proof controls.

Heres another cool complete skid

Heres a great looking unit as well.

Do you guys see any reason one of these wouldnt work for extraction assuming it has the proper seals and is c1d2 rated, and spins fast enough?

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The only thing stopping you from doing it is yourself. There’s a picture of @cyclopath sitting in a giant peeler centrifuge he was working on a few months back. That thing is a beast! This trick has been performed a number of times by a number of people. At one point in time, I wrote a 20+ page long SOP for this kind of retrofitting.

There are a ton of fuges that have the potential to be useful, but there is typically a significant amount of work that will likely also involve a fabricator (and I have a great one here locally I’m happy to pass your way. Just text me, and I’ll get it to you).

Most of the fuges you see will not be floodable without significant rebuilding. Even if you don’t intend on flooding (which my preferred method is to spray, not flood), there is significant work and research to be done. Types of seals, material composition of seals, solvent compatibility, quality of welds, factory ratings for temp, and a whole heap of other factors determine how much or little work is required to retrofit for cannabis extraction.

Once the hard work is done, then comes the work of getting it peer reviewed to legally be able to use it. Easy enough, but it takes time and money (and if you need someone for that, I have another relatively local suggestion).

By the time it is all said and done, if it was done right, it will likely have cost quite a bit of time and money to get everything up to specs and certified. The question then becomes, “are my time, effort, and resources put forward into doing this worth more than it would have cost to get a factory certified model?” Really, only the individual doing the work can answer that.

If you ever want to chat more about retrofitting fuges, I’m sure that @cyclopath and I would be happy to come over to the lab for coffee and conversation. Just let me know.


Awesome, Thanks for the insight.

Does anyone offer a hexane compatible peer reviewed c1d2 centrifuge?

Fabrication is not a problem as its my background and I also have a vast group of machinist friends and overly qualified welders a phone call away when it gets past my skill set, I may actually know your contact :wink: . I also have a lot of 3d cad experience so I can pretty much draw anything to have it made. the retrofitting isn’t my worry at all, its more the lack of centrifuge experience overall that gives me a little concern, but I love a challenge.

I figure with room temp extraction I would have less hurdles to deal with vs the sub zero temp ethanol extractors. I just get to deal with the seals and hexane compatibility.

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What size goal? Budget? I’m eyeing some centrifuges presently. This just got posted. Extraction Equipment for Sale- 15L Chinese Centrifugal system with -60c cryo chiller and pump

Size goal is a minimum 100kg of biomass a day. Budget is to be decided, this is all just ideas running in my head at the moment.

But i would want to steer clear of china, I wold much rather find a USA made 20 year old centrifuge already equipped with ul listed explosion proof motor and controls.

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If you can find the right model of Bock, you’ll be set running it for the next 100 years. Those machines are awesome and damn near indestructible! At the scale you’re looking at, you can get away with a really small fuge, depending on how much of the day you feel like having employees extracting for. There’s plenty of models floating around that could process that in under an hour. There’s also models that will take you a full 8 hour shift to process that much.

The world is your oyster. Also note that Chinese fuges can be made with UL listed parts. Having used more than a few different makes and models from our friends out east, I can say that they will serve one’s purpose and work well for a long time with the correct upgrades/retrofitting, service, and operator awareness.

Flooding is where you will have the most issues (almost more so than dealing with the cold). If you can figure out how to do it well without flooding (which isn’t too terribly difficult in my opinion), the longevity without critical failure will be greatly extended. Slightly modifying the intended use has been a win for me, every time I’ve had the chance.

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I would probably go towards the spray style like you suggested, it seems better in every aspect. Ideally we would want a capacity that isnt all 8 hours of run time to get to the 100kg. more like do that in a few runs at a total of 4 hours.

I mostly wanna get away from our painfully slow manually loaded stationary columns, and the secondary step of dealing with hexane soaked biomass that needs a screw press or a non flooodable fuge.

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I run a BB-200 from Kingreat with Hexane. Make sure to back fill the centrifuge with an inert gas while aggitating and dewatering. With Hexane being a non conductive fluid you always run the risk of static build up resulting in a spark when the fluid is moving.
My BB-200 processes 230 pounds per 12 minute cycle. Unloading is a bit of a pain though.


I agree with @JedClampet that the static discharge issue is the biggest difference beyond the seals between a serviceable alcohol unit and alkane service. Dealing with the vapor is obviously a much larger issue.

On top of all that, I’ve been speaking with @cyclopath and @Photon_noir about an open source control schema for industrial centrifuges in general. From a functional safety standpoint, you might consider if changing to hexane increases the likelihood or severity of failures and might push you to needing a higher pl/SIL. For cold ethanol, you might reasonably argue for SIL-2/plC but I think that is a stretch with hexane.

Also, I personally would want a guard lock to prevent opening the unit up while filled with a shitload of agitated/aerosolized hexane vapor if there is an unexpected shutdown.

I don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy in any way, it’s absolutely doable and definitely worthwhile, just some considerations for y’all


The Bock and NSEP (NSEP is the company that now owns all Bock’s IP & sells parts) centrifuges that have XP/Hazloc controls have model numbers that end in -55, I.E. 755, 855. My shop runs 2 of them, they are not floodable and AFAIK no practical way to make them floodable either, there’s a pretty big hole where the driveshaft for the basket goes thru out of the drive unit.

The 755/855 units have pneumatic controls that unlock the drive brake, lock the lid and signal an XP pressure switch that signals other electronics inside the cabinet to close the contactor. The basic structure, basket and drive unit are the same between a 755 and an FP-95 IIRC, and NSEP can retrofit the XP controls and motor to an FP-95 for a hefty price tag.

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