CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - With clients as far as Western Europe and Australia, and with potential buyers in Latin America and Africa, Charlottetown’s Advanced Extractions Systems Inc. (AESI) is obviously an emerging business.
“Global expansion is our goal,” said David Campbell, CEO and co-founder of AESI, a company that manufactures and sells oil extraction equipment for the cannabis and hemp industries.
Launched in 2015 with co-founder and president Peter Toombs, the company was recognized this month with the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce President’s Excellence award for emerging business.
Toombs notes that there is lots of competition that “we’ve got to stay in front of.”
"We have a manufacturing history of understanding that and competing on the global stage. So, you can’t take your foot off the gas. You need the best designers, you need the best teams on all facets of your business,” he said.
The high-pressure, supercritical fluid extraction (carbon dioxide) systems are manufactured with Diversified Metal Engineering Ltd. (DME).
Campbell explained that AESI focuses on the customer and sales side of the business as well as designing and overseeing the manufacturing side of the business, which is done by DME.
“It’s a great marriage,” said Campbell.
Campbell and Toombs also founded Origins Xtractions Limited in 2012, which provided extraction services to biotech, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies.
AESI’s first system sale was in early 2016 to Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp.
The oil extraction system sold to Canopy Growth was a three-by-25 litre system, but since then, they’ve expanded to more than double the capacity with a seven-by-25 litre system.
The expanded system is one of the largest in Canada, said Toombs.
But as the industry grows, the demand is now for larger systems. To meet that demand, Toombs said the company is designing a two-by-1,000 litre that is expandable to four-by-1,000 litre system that can process 3,500 kilograms of cannabis a day.
Sales have also grown from that first system to Canopy Growth. And, the company has potential clients around the globe – all from a company based in P.E.I.
“It can happen here,” said Toombs.
The company has 12 employees with plans to grow to 20 staff in the next six months as it expands into a new 10,000-square-foot facility in Charlottetown for advanced manufacturing, research and development and testing.
DME is also looking to expand its staff as part of the arrangement from 15 to 30.
“There will be 50 people operating in this business this time next year,” said Toombs.
Campbell said that winning the chamber award is reflective of the team’s efforts, which is mostly made up of Islanders.
“Arguably, we’re certainly on the podium – maybe one of the more sought after solution providers in the cannabis industry globally, as we sit here today,” said Campbell. “As an Islander, it’s very cool to do this right in Charlottetown and predominantly with Islanders to do this – to be on the world stage.”