Material columns are one of the most integral parts of any extraction system and commonly found between the transfer vessel (solvent tanks) and the extraction tank or collection plate. Inside a column the raw trim (plant matter) is packed down and a chilled solved, such as butane/hexane/propane/etc... is pushed through. Keeping the plant matter chilled within a range of -20°C to -50°C can produce a higher extraction rate. Tri Clamp screen gaskets placed at both ends of the column retain the plant material inside the column where the solvent now infused with extract can be collected.
Often the columns are jacketed or sleeved to help maintain sub-zero temperatures. The jacketed columns can be filled with chilled alcohol, liquid nitrogen (LN2), or any counter flow liquid to drastically reduce the temperature of the matter inside the column itself. Jacketed columns come with two 1/2 inch FNPTs for input and output. Similarly, sleeved material columns aid temperature regulation, but the chilling medium is more static. Dry ice also becomes an option in a sleeved system.
Solvent extraction is the process of diffusing a solvent into oil-bearing cells resulting in a mixed solution of oil and solvent. It is one of the most popular methods of separating oils and fats from oil-bearing materials as opposed to other mechanical processes (such as expellers, hydraulic press, etc...) primarily due to the high percentage of oil recovered which can range upwards of 99%+ as opposed to the 85%+ of other methods. The common solvents of choice range from butane, hexane, and pentane among a handful of others, each of which is favored because of several factors: commercial economics, a low boiling point, and in the case of consumption grade product, a non-toxic impact. Distillation of the resulting oil mixture allows recovery of the alkane hydrocarbons (your "hex/but/propane") to be reused at minimal costs.
Glacier Tanks makes every attempt to comply with both state and federal laws. Because marijuana and cannabis extraction is prohibited by federal law, Glacier Tanks is not able to offer advice or support regarding cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extraction. Glacier Tanks' extraction equipment is appropriate for a broad range of botanical extracts such as lavender and essential oils. However, Glacier Tanks expressly does not guaranty that its equipment is suitable for or will perform in any particular way with regard to cannabis (CBD or THC) extraction.