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Title:
APPARATUS FOR EXTRACTING AN EXTRACTED SUBSTANCE AND METHOD OF OPERATION THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/227266
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus has a first station, a second station and a press station and is configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance. The first station is operable to move from a first preparation location where the first station is operable to receive the initial substance on at least one raised member of the first station to a press location where the at least one raised member of the first station is operable to cooperate with at least one raised member of the press station. The second station is also operable to move from a second preparation location where the second station is operable to receive the initial substance on at least one raised member of the second station to the press station where the at least one raised member of the second station is operable to cooperate with at least one raised member of the press station.

Inventors:
FRASER MATTHEW HARRY (CA)
Application Number:
PCT/CA2017/050723
Publication Date:
December 20, 2018
Filing Date:
June 13, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SOLVENT ZERO TECH INC (CA)
International Classes:
B30B9/02
Foreign References:
CN203410050U2014-01-29
CN201456426U2010-05-12
CN202846919U2013-04-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMART & BIGGAR (Box Royal CentreVancouver, British Columbia V6E 3P3, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
EMBODIMENTS IN WHICH AN EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OR PRIVILEGE IS CLAIMED ARE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:

1. A method of operating an apparatus configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance, the apparatus comprising a first station, a second station and a press station, the method comprising: moving the first station from a first preparation location to a press location, wherein: when at the first preparation location, the first station is operable to receive the initial substance on at least one raised member of the first station; and when at the press location, the at least one raised member of the first station is operable to cooperate with at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance; moving the first station away from the press location; and moving the second station from a second preparation location to the press location, wherein: when at the second preparation location, the second station is operable to receive the initial substance on at least one raised member of the second station; and when at the press location, the at least one raised member of the second station is operable to cooperate with at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance.

2. The method of claim 1 , further comprising, before moving the first station to the press location: positioning the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the first station. The method of claim 2, wherein the at least one raised member of the first station comprises a first raised member of the first station and a second raised member of the first station, wherein positioning the initial substance comprises: positioning a respective portion of the initial substance on each of the first and second raised members of the first station.

The method of claim 2, wherein the at least one raised member of the first station comprises a first raised member of the first station, a second raised member of the first station, and a third raised member of the first station, wherein positioning the initial substance comprises: positioning a respective portion of the initial substance on each of the first, second and third raised members of the first station.

The method of any one of claims 2 to 4, wherein positioning the initial substance comprises positioning the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the first station when the first station is at the first preparation location.

The method of any one of claims 2 to 5, wherein positioning the initial substance comprises: forming a first extract retention system retaining a first portion of the initial substance; and positioning the first extract retention system on the at least one raised member of the first station.

The method of claim 6, wherein forming the first extract retention system comprises: retaining the first portion of the initial substance in at least one container; and inserting the at least one container between a first extract retaining sheet and a second extract retaining sheet.

The method of claim 7, further comprising, before retaining the first portion of the initial substance in the at least one container: securing one of a first wall and a second wall of the at least one container to the first station, while the other one of the first and second walls remains unfixed, to maintain the at least one container in an open configuration to facilitate filling of the at least one container.

The method of claim 8, wherein securing the one of the first and second walls comprises inserting a securing means fixed to the first station through at least one opening defined in the one of the first and second walls.

The method of any one of claims 6 to 9, further comprising, after moving the first station to the press location: extracting the extracted substance from the first portion of the initial substance by: pressing the first extract retention system between the at least one raised member of the press station and the at least one raised member of the first station; and retaining the extracted substance between the first and second extract retaining sheets.

The method of claim 10, wherein pressing the first extract retention system comprises applying a pressure between approximately 1 ton and approximately 100 tonnes to the first extract retention system.

The method of claim 10 or 11 , wherein extracting the extracted substance further comprises, at least one of before and during pressing the first extract retention system: heating at least one of the first station and the press station to a press temperature of between approximately 40° F and approximately 400° F.

The method of any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein when the first station is at the press location, a raised member of the first station is aligned with a raised member of the press station.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein pressing the first extract retention system comprises: pressing the first extract retention system between a surface of the raised member of the first station and a surface of the aligned raised member of the press station.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein pressing the first extract retention system between the surface of the raised member of the first station and the surface of the aligned raised member of the press station causes the extracted substance to migrate, between the first and second extract retaining sheets, away from the raised members of the first station and the press station.

16. The method of any one of claims 10 to 15, wherein retaining the extracted substance between the first and second extract retaining sheets comprises retaining the extracted substance between a portion of the first and second extract retaining sheets which is substantially suspended between the first station and the press station.

17. The method of any one of claims 10 to 16, further comprising, after moving the first station away from the press location: removing the pressed first extract retention system from the first station; and collecting the extracted substance retained between the first and second extract retaining sheets.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein moving the first station away from the press location comprises moving the first station back to the first preparation location, and wherein removing the pressed first extract retention system from the first station comprises removing the pressed first extract retention system from the first station at the first preparation location.

19. The method of any one of claims 10 to 18, further comprising, while extracting the extracted substance from the first portion of the initial substance: positioning a second portion of the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the second station.

20. The method of any one of claims 1 to 18, further comprising: positioning a second portion of the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the second station.

21 . The method of claim 18 or 20, wherein the at least one raised member of the second station comprises a first raised member of the second station and a second raised member of the second station, and wherein positioning the second portion of the initial substance comprises: positioning a respective second portion of the initial substance on each of the first and second raised members of the second station.

22. The method of claim 19 or 20, wherein the at least one raised member of the second station comprises a first raised member of the second station, a second raised member of the second station, and a third raised member of the second station and wherein positioning the second portion of the initial substance comprises: positioning a respective second portion of the initial substance on each of the first, second and third raised members of the second station.

23. The method of any one of claims 19 to 22, wherein positioning the second portion of the initial substance comprises positioning the second portion of the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the second station when the second station is at the second preparation location.

24. The method of any one of claims 19 to 23, wherein positioning the second portion of the initial substance comprises: forming a second extract retention system; and positioning the second extract retention system on the at least one raised member of the second station. The method of claim 24, wherein forming the second extract retention system comprises: retaining the second portion of the initial substance in at least one container; and inserting the at least one container retaining the second portion of the initial substance between a third extract retaining sheet and a fourth extract retaining sheet.

The method of claim 25, further comprising, after moving the second station to the press location: extracting the extracted substance from the second portion of the initial substance by: pressing the second extract retention system between the at least one raised member of the press station and the at least one raised member of the second station; and retaining the extracted substance between the third and fourth extract retaining sheets of the second extract retention system.

The method of claim 25 or 26, further comprising, after extracting the extracted substance from the second portion of the initial substance, moving the second station away from the press location.

The method claim 27, wherein moving the second station away from the press location comprises moving the second station back to the second preparation location.

The method of any one of claims 25 to 28, further comprising, while extracting the extracted substance from the second portion of the initial substance at the press location: positioning a third portion of the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the first station.

30. The method of any one of claims 1 to 28, further comprising, after moving the first station away from the press location, positioning a third portion of the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the first station.

31. An apparatus configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance, the apparatus comprising: a press station having at least one raised member; a first station having at least one raised member and configured to move between : a first preparation station where the first station is operable to receive the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the first station; and a press location where the at least one raised member of the press station is operable to cooperate with the at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance; and a second station having at least one raised member and configured to move between : a second preparation location where the second station is operable to receive the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the second station; and the press location where the at least one raised member of the second station is operable to cooperate with the at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance.

32. The apparatus of claim 31 , wherein the at least one raised member of the press station comprises a first raised member of the press station and a second raised member of the press station. The apparatus of claim 32, wherein the at least one raised member of the first station comprises a first raised member of the first station and a second raised member of the first station, the first and second raised members of the first station configured to cooperate with, respectively, the first and second raised members of the press station when the first station is in the press location.

The apparatus of claim 33, where the first and second raised members of the first station are separated by a distance between approximately 1 inches and approximately 4 inches.

The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 34, wherein the at least one raised member of the second station comprises a first raised member of the second station and a second raised member of the second station, the first and second raised members of the second station configured to cooperate with, respectively, the first and second raised members of the press station when the second station is in the press location.

The apparatus of claim 35, where the first and second raised members of the second station are separated by a distance between approximately 1 inches and approximately 4 inches.

The apparatus of claim 32, wherein the at least one raised member of the press station comprises a first raised member of the press station, a second raised member of the press station and a third raised member of the press station.

The apparatus of claim 37, wherein the at least one raised member of the first station comprises a first raised member of the first station, a second raised member of the first station, and a third raised member of the first station, the first, second and third raised members of the first station configured to cooperate with, respectively, the first, second and third raised members of the press station when the first station is in the press location.

The apparatus of claim 37 or 38, wherein the at least one raised member of the second station comprises a first raised member of the second station, a second raised member of the second station, and a third raised member of the second station, the first, second and third raised members of the second station configured to cooperate with, respectively, the first, second and third raised members of the press station when the second station is in the press location.

40. The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 39, wherein at least one of the at least one raised member of the press station, the at least one raised member of the first station, and the at least one raised member of the second station has a height between approximately 0.25 inches and approximately 5 inch.

41 . The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 40, wherein the at least one raised member of the press station has at least one of: a width substantially similar to a width of the at least one raised member of the first station; and a length substantially similar to a length of the at least one raised member of the first station.

42. The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 41 , wherein the at least one raised member of the press station has at least one of: a width substantially similar to a width of the at least one raised member of the second station; and a length substantially similar to a length of the at least one raised member of the second station.

43. The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 42, wherein the first station comprises: a first station plate comprising the at least one raised member of the first station; and a first station carriage configured to carry the first station plate and to move the first station plate between the first preparation location and the press location. 44. The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 43, wherein the second station comprises: a second station plate comprising the at least one raised member of the second station; and a second station carriage configured to carry the second station plate and to move the second station plate between the second preparation location and the press location.

The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 44, wherein the press station is operable to: apply a press force to any of the initial substance positioned on the at least one raised member of the first station when the first station is at the press location; and apply the press force to any of the initial substance positioned on the at least one raised member of the second station when the second station is at the press location.

The apparatus of claim 45, wherein the press force is between approximately 1 ton and approximately 100 tonnes.

The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 46, further comprising at least one of: at least one first heating element coupled to the first station and configured to heat the first station to a press temperature; at least one second heating element coupled to the second station and configured to heat the second station to the press temperature; and at least one third heating element coupled to the press station and configured to heat the press station to the press temperature.

The apparatus of claim 47, wherein the press temperature is between approximately 40° F and approximately 400° F

The apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 48, further comprising: at least one securing means coupled to at least one of the first station and the second station, the at least one securing means configured to secure one of a first wall and a second wall of a container configured to retain the initial substance.

The apparatus of claim 49, wherein the at least one securing means comprises at least one projection operable to be inserted into an opening in the one of the first and second walls of the container.

An extraction system comprising: the apparatus of any one of claims 31 to 50; at least one extract retention system, an extract retention system of the at least one extract retention system configured to be positioned on one of the first station and the second station and comprising: at least one container, the at least one container configured to retain a portion the initial substance; a first extract retaining sheet and a second extract retaining sheet, wherein the at least one container is inserted between the first and second extract retaining sheet.

52. The system of claim 51 , wherein the at least one container is porous.

53. The system of claim 51 or 52, wherein the at least one container has a filter size ranging from between approximately 5 microns and approximately 300 microns.

54. The system of any one of claims 51 to 53, wherein the at least one container is made from nylon.

55. The system of any one of claims 51 to 54, wherein the at least one container has a length and a width which corresponds to at least one of: a length and a width of a raised member of the at least one raised member of the first station; a length and a width of a raised member of the least one raised member of the second station; and a length and width of a raised member of the at least one raised member of the press station.

The system of any one of claims 50 to 55, wherein the first and second extract retaining sheets are further configured to suspend the extracted substance between the press station and one of the first station and the second station at least one of during and after a press operation of the press station.

Description:
Apparatus for Extracting an Extracted Substance and Method of Operation Thereof

Field

This disclosure relates generally to extracting an extracted substance from an initial substance, and more specifically to an apparatus for extracting an extracted substance from an initial substance and a method of operation thereof.

Background

Methods of extracting substances with an increased concentration of cannabinoids from plant material derived from plants of the Cannabis genus are well known. However, these existing methods often use volatile and potentially toxic solvents. Further, existing methods which do not use solvents may be time consuming and may result in low yields.

Summary

In an aspect, there is described a method of operating an apparatus configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance, the apparatus comprising a first station, a second station and a press station, the method comprising: moving the first station from a first preparation location to a press location, wherein: when at the first preparation location, the first station is operable to receive the initial substance on at least one raised member of the first station; and when at the press location, the at least one raised member of the first station is operable to cooperate with at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance; moving the first station away from the press location; and moving the second station from a second preparation location to the press location, wherein: when at the second preparation location, the second station is operable to receive the initial substance on at least one raised member of the second station; and when at the press location, the at least one raised member of the second station is operable to cooperate with at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance.

There is also described an apparatus configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance, the apparatus comprising: a press station having at least one raised member; a first station having at least one raised member and configured to move between: a first preparation station where the first station is operable to receive the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the first station; and a press location where the at least one raised member of the press station is operable to cooperate with the at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance; and a second station having at least one raised member and configured to move between: a second preparation location where the second station is operable to receive the initial substance on the at least one raised member of the second station; and the press location where the at least one raised member of the second station is operable to cooperate with the at least one raised member of the press station to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance.

Other aspects and features of the present disclosure will become apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art upon review of the following description of specific embodiments of the disclosure in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

Brief Description of Drawings Figure 1 is a perspective view of an apparatus in accordance with one disclosed embodiment;

Figure 2 is a front elevational view of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a top plan view of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; Figure 5 is a perspective view of a body of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 6 is a schematic view of a hydraulic system of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 7 is a front elevation view of a cylinder attachment body of the apparatus of

Figure 1 ;

Figure 8 is a top plan view of the cylinder attachment body of Figure 7; Figure 9 is a bottom plan view of the cylinder attachment body of Figure 7;

Figure 10 is a perspective view of a carriage system of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; is a perspective view of a first station carriage of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; is a top view of the first station carriage of Figure 11 ; is a cross-sectional view of the first station carriage of Figure 11 , taken along line l-l in Figure 12; is a front elevational view of the first station carriage of Figure 11 ; is a bottom plan view of the first station carriage of Figure 11 ; is a perspective view of the first station carriage of Figure 11 having containers secured thereto; is a perspective view of one embodiment of a first station plate of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; is a top plan view of the first station plate of Figure 17; is cross-sectional view of the first station plate of Figure 17, taken along line

II- ll in Figure 19; is a bottom plan view of the plate of Figure 17; is a front elevational view of the first station plate of Figure 17 aligned with a press plate of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; is a top plan view of another embodiment of a first station plate of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; is a cross-sectional view of the first station plate of Figure 22, taken along line

III- Ill in Figure 22; is a front elevational view of the first station plate of Figure 22 aligned with a press plate of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; is a top plan view of another embodiment of a first station plate of the apparatus of Figure 1 ; Figure 26 is a top plan view of one embodiment of a second station plate of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 27 is a top plan view of one embodiment of a press plate of the apparatus of

Figure 1 ; Figure 28 is a perspective exploded view of an extract retention system configured to be used with the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 29 is a perspective view of a container of the extract retention system of Figure

28;

Figure 30 is a side elevation view of the extract retention system of Figure 26 pressed between the first station plate and the press plate of Figure 21 ;

Figure 31 is a schematic view of a control system of the apparatus of Figure 1 ;

Figure 32 is a front elevation view of the apparatus of Figure 1 , with a first station at a first preparation location and a second station at a second preparation location; Figure 33 is a front elevation view of the apparatus of Figure 32, with the first station moved to the press location;

Figure 34 is a front elevation view of the apparatus of Figure 33 with a press station performing a press operation on the first station at the press location;

Figure 35 is a front elevation view of the apparatus of Figure 34, with the first station moved away from the press location and the second station moved to the press location;

Figure 36 is a front elevational view of the apparatus of Figure 35, with the press station now performing the press operation on the second station at the press location.

Detailed Description Referring to Figures 1 to 4, one embodiment of an apparatus configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance is shown generally at 50. The apparatus 50 includes a base shown generally at 52, a body shown generally at 54, a carriage system shown generally at 56, a hydraulic system shown generally at 58, and a control system shown generally at 59. The carriage system 56 movably carries a first station shown generally at 62 and a second station shown generally at 64. The body 54 supports a press station shown generally at 60.

Base

The base 52 supports the body 54 and the hydraulic system 58 of the apparatus 50 on a ground surface, and may further allow the apparatus 50 to move to different locations on the ground surface. Referring to Figures 1 to 4, in the embodiment shown, the base 52 includes a frame shown generally at 70, a hydraulic support 72, a plurality of fixed supports shown generally at 74 and a plurality of wheeled supports shown generally at 76.

The frame 70 has a generally rectangular cuboid configuration defining an internal cavity shown generally at 81. In this context, "generally rectangular cuboid" means that the frame 70 may not be a perfectly rectangular cuboid, but that the frame 70 may be sufficiently rectangular such that the frame 70 may function the same as, or substantially the same as, a rectangular cuboid. More generally, "generally" herein includes variations to an applicable aspect, embodiment, or component described herein that may function the same as or substantially the same as such applicable aspect, embodiment, or component (as the case may be) described herein. In other embodiments, the frame 70 may have different shape configurations.

In the embodiment shown, the frame 70 includes a first vertical support 80, a second vertical support 82, a third vertical support 84, and a fourth vertical support 86. The frame 70 further includes: first and second horizontal supports 90 and 92 extending between the first and second vertical supports 80 and 82; and third and fourth horizontal supports 94 (not shown) and 96 extending between the second and third vertical supports 82 and 84; fifth and sixth horizontal supports 98 (not shown) and 100 extending between the second and third vertical supports 84 and 86; and seventh and eighth horizontal supports 102 and 104 extending between the fourth and first vertical supports 86 and 80. The frame 70 further includes a base support surface 88 (best shown in Figures 2 and 3) extending across the horizontal supports 90, 94, 98, and 102. The base support surface 88 is configured to support the body 54.

The frame 70 has a frame width 106 (best shown in Figure 2) and a frame length 108 (best shown in Figure 3). The frame width 106 and the frame length 108 may be dimensioned to facilitate support of the body 54 by the base support surface 88. For example, in the embodiment shown, the frame length 108 may be approximately 35.4 inches. In this context, "approximately" means that the frame length 108 may not be perfectly 35.4 inches, but that the frame length 108 may be sufficiently close to 35.4 inches such that the frame length 108 may function the same as, or substantially the same as, a frame length which is perfectly 35.4 inches. More generally, "approximately" herein includes variations to an applicable aspect, embodiment, or component described herein that may function the same as or substantially the same as such applicable aspect, embodiment, or component (as the case may be) described herein. Further, in the embodiment shown, the frame width 106 may be approximately 29.5 inches. In other embodiments, and depending on dimensions of the body 54, the frame length 108 may be anywhere between approximately 25 inches and approximately 50 inches, and the frame width 106 may be anywhere between approximately 20 inches and approximately 40 inches.

The hydraulic support 72 is configured to support components of the hydraulic system 58. In the embodiment shown, the hydraulic support 72 includes a generally planar surface 112 on which components of the hydraulic system 58 may rest (best shown in Figures 3 and 4). In other embodiments, the hydraulic support 72 may be another structure for supporting the components of the hydraulic system 58, and may be, for example, a container, a recess, a well, etc.

In the embodiment shown, the hydraulic support 72 extends from, and is integral with, the fourth horizontal support 96 of the frame 70 (best shown in Figure 3). In other embodiments, the hydraulic support 72 maybe a separate component attached to the fourth horizontal support 96 or may extend from, and/or be integral with, other horizontal supports of the frame 70, such as the second horizontal support 92 or the sixth horizontal support 100. In yet other embodiments, the hydraulic support 72 may be positioned within the internal cavity 81 of the frame 70 to provide a smaller footprint for the apparatus 50 The plurality of fixed supports 74 are coupled to the frame 70 to support the apparatus 50 at the ground surface at a fixed location. In the embodiment shown, the plurality of fixed supports 74 includes: a first support flange 130 retaining a first fixed support leg 132; a second support flange 134 retaining a second fixed support leg 136; a third support flange 138 retaining a third fixed support leg 140; and a fourth support flange 142 retaining a fourth fixed support leg 144.

The support flanges 130, 134, 138 and 142 and the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 may include features which facilitate support of the frame 70 and/or dissipation of press forces generated during a press operation of the press station 60. For example, in the embodiment shown, the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 include respective enlarged portions, which may increase a contact area of the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 with the ground surface. In other embodiments, the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 may include a resilient component which may reversibly compress or reversibly deform to absorb and dissipate the press forces. The support flanges 130, 134, 138 and 142 may allow the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 to be extended to contact the ground surface and retracted away from the ground surface. For example, an outer surface of a leg shaft of each of the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 and the support flanges 130, 134, 138 and 140 may include cooperating treads, such that when the leg shafts are rotated in a first direction, the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 are retracted and when the leg shafts are rotated in a second direction, the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 are extended. Retracting the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 sufficiently above the ground surface may allow the plurality of wheeled supports 76 to move the apparatus 50 to a different location. Further, independently retracting and/or extending different fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 may allow the fixed support legs 132, 136, 140 and 144 to support the frame 70 on a ground surface which is uneven.

Body

The body 54 is dimensioned, relative to the base 52, to be supported by the base 52. For example, in the embodiment shown, the body 54 has a maximum body length 172 (best shown in Figure 3) generally equal to, or slightly less than, the frame length 108 (best shown in Figure 3), and a maximum body width 170 (best shown in Figure 2) generally equal to, or slightly less than, the frame width 106 (best shown in Figure 2). For example, the body length 172 may be approximately 35.4 inches and the body width 170 may be approximately 29.5 inches.

Referring now to Figure 5, the body 54 includes a carriage support shown generally at 160 and a press support shown generally at 162.

Carriage Support

In the embodiment shown, the body 54 is manufactured separately from the base 52 and is configured to be coupled to the base 52, such as through fasteners, bolts, adhesives, welding and/or other surface couplings. For example, in the embodiment shown, the carriage support 160 includes a support body 180 having a support surface 182 and a bottom surface 184. The bottom surface 184 is configured to interface with the base support surface 88 of the base 52 to couple the body 54 to the base 52 (best shown in Figures 2 and 3). For example, the bottom surface 184 may include openings configured to align with openings in the base support surface 88 to receive coupling fasteners, such as screw fasteners or bolts. Alternatively or in addition, the bottom surface 184 may include projections which correspond to grooves in the base support 88, or vice versa. In other embodiments, the body 54 and the base 52 may be formed as an integral unit.

Referring now to Figure 5, the carriage support 160 may further include aligning means shown generally at 191 , sensing means shown generally at 210, and dissipating means shown generally at 501. The carriage support 160 may further be configured to support the first station 62 or the second stations 64 (as the case may be) during the press operation.

The aligning means 191 may align the carriage system 56 to the body 54, such as by aligning a horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54 with a horizontal center line 300 of a track 250 (shown in Figure 10) of the carriage system 56 and securing the carriage system 56 to the body 54. For example, the aligning means 191 may be a first track attachment opening 190, a second track attachment opening 192, a third track attachment opening 194, and a track attachment surface opening 196 in the support surface 182. Each of the track attachment openings 190, 192, 194 and 196 may be configured to align with respective body attachment openings 290, 292, 294 and 296 (shown in Figure 10 and described in greater detail below) of a track 250 of the carriage system 56. A fastener, such as a screw fastener or a bolt, may be inserted through the aligned track attachment openings 190, 192, 194 and 196 of the support surface 182 and body attachment openings 290, 292, 294 and 296 to couple the track 250 to the body 54.

Referring back to Figure 5, in the embodiment shown, the sensing means 210 includes a sensor attachment body 212 and a proximity sensor 214 coupled to the sensor attachment body 212.

The sensor attachment body 212 is configured to position the proximity sensor 214 at a sensor location 218 on the body 54 to enable the proximity sensor 214 to sense whether the first station 62 or the second station 64 is at a press location 200 (shown in Figure 2) where the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) is generally aligned with the press station 60. For example, in the embodiment shown, the sensor location 218 coincides with the press location 200, and the sensor attachment body 212 at the sensor location 218 positions the proximity sensor 214 such that a horizontal center line 216 (shown in Figure 5) of the proximity sensor 214 is generally aligned with the horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54.

The proximity sensor 214 is configured to generate an "alignment signal 1102" (shown in Figure 31 ) for receipt by a controller 1000 (shown in Figure 31 ) of the control system indicating that the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) is at the press location 200. The "alignment signal 1102" may be required by the controller 1000 before the press station 60 is allowed to initiate the press operation. For example, in the embodiment shown, the proximity sensor 214 is a magnetic switch, such as a reed switch, which is initially biased in an open, non-signalling configuration. The proximity sensor 214 can be converted to a closed, signalling configuration to produce the "alignment signal 1102" when a magnet (such as a magnet 546 (shown in Figure 15) coupled to the first station 62) is brought into close proximity with the proximity sensor 214.

In other embodiments, the proximity sensor 214 may be a different type of proximity sensor, such as an optical sensor, or a hall-effect sensor. In these embodiments, the sensor attachment body 212 may position the proximity sensor 214 at a different sensor location 218 to enable the proximity sensor 214 to generate the "alignment signal 1102". For example, if the proximity sensor 214 comprises an optical sensor, the sensor location 218 may be on the press support 162. The dissipating means 501 may dissipate press forces applied to the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) by the press station 60 during the press operation. Referring to Figure 5, in the embodiment shown, the dissipating means 501 includes a first base post 500, a second base post 502, a third base post 504 and a fourth base post 506, all extending from the support surface 182. Each of the base posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 are positioned to be generally aligned with corresponding station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 (shown in Figures 13 to 15, described in greater detail below) of the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) when the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) is at the press location 200. The base posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 are configured to contact respective ones of the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 as the first station 62 or the second station 64 during the press operation to aid in dissipating and/or absorbing the press force (described in greater detail below).

Press Support

The press support 162 is supported by the carriage support 160. In the embodiment shown, the press support 162 and the carriage support 160 are an integral unit. In other embodiments, the press support 162 and the carriage support 160 may be manufactured as separate units and then coupled together.

Referring to Figures 1 to 3 and 5, press support 162 includes a generally vertical support 511 extending from the support body 180 of the carriage support 160 and a press support body 513 extending from the generally vertical support 511. The generally vertical support 511 and the press support body 513 may be configured (i) to support and secure components of the hydraulic system 58 (described in greater detail below) and components of the press station 60 and (ii) to position the press station 60 generally above the press location 200 to enable the press station 60 to perform the press operation. For example, referring to now to Figures 1 and 5, in the embodiment shown, the press support body 513 includes a hydraulic cylinder retaining opening 521 configured to retain a hydraulic cylinder 606 of the hydraulic system 58, a first guide opening 523 configured to slideably retain a first guide 712 of the press station 60 and a second guide opening 525 configured to slideably retain a second guide 714 of the press station 60. The press support body 513 may further house the control system 59, and certain actuation and display components of the control system 59, including a start/stop button 570 for starting and stopping the press operation of the press station 60, a press plate interface 571 for controlling at least one of a press speed, a press force and a press time of the press operation of the press station 60, a press plate temperature adjuster 572 for controlling a press temperature of the press station 60, a first station plate temperature adjuster 574 for controlling a press temperature of the first station 62, and a second station plate temperature adjuster 576 for controlling a press temperature of the second station 64.

Hydraulic System

Referring back to Figures 3 and 4, the hydraulic system 58 is configured to be coupled to the press station 60 to effect the press operation. In the embodiment shown, the hydraulic system 58 includes a reservoir 601 , a pump 602 coupled to the reservoir 601 , a motor 603 configured to drive the pump 602, a valve 604 coupled to the pump 602, and the hydraulic cylinder 606 coupled to the valve 604. The reservoir 601 , the pump 602, the motor 603 and the valve 604 may be supported by the hydraulic support 72. The hydraulic cylinder 606 may be supported by the press support 513 of the press support body 162. Referring now to Figure 6, one possible embodiment of a hydraulic circuit is shown generally at 600. In other embodiments, hydraulic circuits having additional or alternative components may be used to effect the press operation.

The reservoir 601 , in the embodiment shown, includes an outlet 610 and an inlet 612, and is configured to retain a hydraulic fluid 614. The hydraulic fluid 614 may be, for example, a mineral oil or water-based fluid.

The pump 602, in the embodiment shown, is a one-way pump, and includes an inlet 620 and an outlet 622. The pump 602 may further be a variable displacement pump, and may be responsive to a "pump control signal 1142" (shown in Figure 31 ) from the controller 1000, which may cause the pump 602 to operate at a specific flow rate indicated in the "pump control signal 1142". For example, the pump 602 may be a swash-plate pump, and the "pump control signal 1142" may set a specific swash-plate angle which determines the flow rate of the pump 602.

The motor 603, in the embodiment shown, is configured to drive the pump 602, and may be coupled to the pump 602 via a drive shaft 624. The motor 603 may be responsive to a "motor control signal 1144" (shown in Figure 31 ) from the controller 1000, which may cause the motor 603 to operate at a specific drive speed indicated in the "motor control signal 1144", which may increase or decrease the flow rate of the pump 602, alternatively or in addition to the "pump control signal 1142".

The valve 604, in the embodiment shown, is four-port valve having a first port 630, a second port 632, a third port 634, a fourth port 636. The valve 604 is further a three-state valve, including: a steady state 640 in which the first port 630 is in fluid communication with the fourth port 636; an upstroke state 642 in which the fourth port 636 is in fluid communication with the second port 632 and the third port 634 is in fluid communication with the first port 630; and a downstroke state 644 in which the fourth port 636 is in communication with the third port 634 and the second port 632 is in fluid communication with the first port 630. The valve 604 may be responsive to a "valve control signal 1140" (shown in Figure 31 ) from the controller 1000, which may cause the valve 604 to shift between the three valve states 640, 642 and 644.

The hydraulic cylinder 606, in the embodiment shown, includes a housing 650 having a first end shown generally at 652, a second end shown generally at 654, a piston 656 movable within the housing 650 between the first and second ends 652 and 654, a first piston proximity sensor 658 positioned proximate the first end 652, a second end proximity sensor 660 positioned proximate the second end 654, a piston rod 662 having a first end 664 coupled to the piston 656 and a second end 666 configured to be coupled to the press station 60, a first cylinder port 668 proximate the first end 652 of the housing 650 and a second cylinder port 670 proximate the second end 654 of the housing 650. Referring briefly to Figure 2, the housing 650 of the hydraulic cylinder 606 is configured to be retained in the hydraulic cylinder retaining opening 521 of the press support 162 such that the first end 652 is positioned above the press support body 513 and the second end 654 is positioned below the press support body 513, allowing the second end 666 of the piston rod 662 to extend towards and retract away from the support surface 182 of the body 180. Accordingly, the press station 60 coupled to the second end 666 can be lowered towards the support surface 182 as the piston 656 is moved towards the second end 654 (a "downstroke" of the piston 656), and raised away from the support surface 182 as the piston 656 is moved towards the first end 652 (an "upstroke" of the piston 656). Referring back to Figure 6, the reservoir 601 , the pump 602, the valve 604, and hydraulic cylinder 606 are coupled by several hydraulic lines to allow the hydraulic fluid 614 to flow through the hydraulic circuit 600. In the embodiment shown, the outlet 610 of the reservoir 601 is coupled to the inlet 620 of the pump 602 via hydraulic line 680. The outlet 622 of the pump 602 is coupled to the fourth port 636 via hydraulic line 682. The third port 634 is coupled with the first cylinder port 668 via hydraulic line 684. The second cylinder port 670 is coupled to the second port 632 via hydraulic line 686. The first port 630 is coupled to the inlet 612 of the reservoir 601 via hydraulic line 688.

In operation, the pump 602 is configured to drive the hydraulic fluid 614 from the reservoir 601 through the lines 680 and 682 and into the fourth port 636 of the valve 604.

If the valve 604 is in the steady state 640, the hydraulic fluid 614 exits the valve 604 through the first port 630 and returns to the reservoir 601 through the line 688.

If the valve 604 is in the downstroke state 644, the hydraulic fluid 614 from the pump 602 exits the valve 604 through the third port 634 and enters the first cylinder port 668 of the hydraulic cylinder 606 through line 684, which drives the piston 656 towards the second end 654 of the housing 650 in the downstroke. Additionally, as the piston 656 is driven towards the second end 654, the hydraulic fluid 614 currently within the hydraulic cylinder 606 may be expelled from the second cylinder port 670 through the line 686, through the second and first ports 632 and 630 of the valve 604, and the line 688 back into the reservoir 601. The downstroke of the piston 656 is transferred to a corresponding downward motion of the piston rod 662, and the press station 60 coupled to the second end 666 of the piston rod 662 is lowered towards the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) for the press operation when the valve 604 is in the downstroke state 644.

Once the piston 656 reaches, or approximately reaches, the second end 654 of the housing 650, the second end proximity sensor 660 may send a "downstroke piston position signal 1106" (shown in Figure 31 ) to the controller 1000. The "downstroke piston position signal 1106" may cause the controller 1000 to generate and send a "valve control signal 1140". Receipt of the "valve control signal 1140" by the valve 604 may cause the valve 604 to switch from the downstroke state 644 to the steady state 640, which may maintain the piston 656 proximate the second end 654 of the housing 650. This allows the press station 60 coupled to the second end 666 of the piston rod 662 to apply a press force to the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) to perform the press operation.

After a set amount of time, which may be a press time pre-selected by the user of the apparatus 50 for example, the controller 1000 may generate and send another "valve control signal 1140". Receipt of the other "valve control signal 1140" by the valve 604 may cause the valve 604 to switch from the steady state 640 to the upstroke state 642. When the valve 604 is in the upstroke state 642, the hydraulic fluid 614 from the pump 602 exits the valve 604 through the second port 632 and enters the second cylinder port 670 of the housing 650 through the line 686, which drives the piston 656 towards the first end 652 of the housing 650 in the upstroke. Additionally, as the piston 656 is driven towards the first end 652, the hydraulic fluid 614 currently within the cylinder 606 may be expelled from the first cylinder port 668 through the line 684, flow through the third and first ports 634 and 630 of the valve 604 and the line 688 back into the reservoir 601 . The upstroke of the piston 656 is transferred to a corresponding upward motion of the piston rod 662, and the press station 60 coupled to the second end 666 of the piston rod 662 is thus raised away from the first station 62 or the second station 64 (as the case may be) when the valve 604 is in the upstroke state 642.

Once the piston 656 reaches, or approximately reaches, the first end 652, the first end proximity sensor 658 may send an "upstroke piston position signal 1104" (shown in Figure 31 ) to the controller 1000. The "upstroke piston position signal 1104" may cause the controller 1000 to generate and send a third "valve control signal 1140". Receipt of the third "valve control signal 1140" by the valve 604 may cause the valve 604 to switch from the upstroke state 642 to the steady state 640, which maintains the piston 656 in the upstroke position. Press Station

Referring briefly to back to Figures 1 to 3, the press station 60 includes a cylinder attachment body shown generally at 700 and a press plate 702 configured to be removably coupled to the cylinder attachment body 700. The cylinder attachment body 700 will be described in greater detail below. The press plate 702 will be describe in greater detail further below, in conjunction with the plates of the first station 62 and the second station 64. The cylinder attachment body 700 is configured to be coupled to the piston rod 662 of the hydraulic cylinder 606, and is generally configured to (i) transfer a movement of the piston 656 to a corresponding movement of the press plate 702 and to (ii) distribute the press force generally evenly across the press plate 702. Referring to Figures 7 to 9, in the embodiment shown, the cylinder attachment body 700 includes a cylinder coupling 710, the first and second guides 712 and 714, a hanger plate 716, and a plate retainer portion shown generally at 718.

Hangar Plate

The hanger plate 716 includes a first surface 720, a second surface 722, a first end 724 and a second end 726. In the embodiment shown, the hanger plate 716 is formed of stainless steel, but in other embodiments, the hanger plate 716 may be formed of other materials or other corrosion resistant metals. In the embodiment shown, the hanger plate 716 has a length of approximately 16 inches and a width of approximately 15 inches.

Cylinder Coupling The cylinder coupling 710 is configured to couple the press station 60, and particularly the hanger plate 716, to the second end 666 of the piston rod 662, such that a horizontal center line 701 (shown in Figure 7) of the press station 60 is generally aligned with the horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54. In the embodiment shown, the cylinder coupling 710 extends from the first surface 720 of the hanger plate 716 from a generally central location 721.

The cylinder coupling 710, in the embodiment shown, includes a connection flange 730 coupled to the first surface 720 and a subplate 732 coupled to the connection flange 730. The subplate 732 may, in certain embodiments, aid in preventing the connection flange 730 from deforming during the press operation of the press station 60, and may be formed of stainless steel. The subplate 732 and the connection flange 730, in the embodiment shown, define respective, aligned openings 734 and 736 (best shown in Figure 8) which are dimensioned to receive the second end 666 of the piston rod 662 to securely couple the piston rod 662 to the press station 60. In other embodiments, the cylinder coupling 710 may include additional or alternative means for coupling the piston rod 662 to the press station 60 or may be another coupling mechanism, such as a clamp coupling, a flange coupling, a bush pin type flange coupling, etc.

First and Second Guides

The first and second guides 712 and 714, in the embodiment shown, extend from the first surface 720 of the hanger plate 716 at, respectively, a first guide location 741 proximate the first end 724 of the hanger plate 716 and a second guide location 743 proximate the second end 726 of the hanger plate 716. In the embodiment shown, the first and second guides 712 and 714 each of have a diameter of approximately 2 inches.

Referring briefly to Figures 1 to 4, the first and second guide locations 741 and 743 are positioned such that, when the piston rod 662 is received in the cylinder coupling 710, the first and second guides 712 and 714 are slidably received in, respectively, the first guide opening 523 and the second guide opening 525 of the press support body 513. The first and second guides 712 and 714 may further be nominally frictionally retained the first and second guide openings 523 and 525, such that a central axis of the first and second guides 712 and 714 generally corresponds to a central axis of the first and second guide openings 523 and 525. This may aid in generally aligning the horizontal center line 701 (shown in Figure 7) of the press station 60 with the horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54.

The first and second guides 712 and 714 are configured move within the first and second guide openings 523 and 525 as the hydraulic cylinder 606 moves the press station 60 during the press operation. Restricting the motion of the first and second guides 712 and 714 within the first and second guide openings 523 and 525 may aid in generally maintaining an alignment of the horizontal center line 701 (shown in Figure 7) of the press station 60 with the horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54 during the press operation. Further, the first and second guide locations 741 and 743 of the first and second guides 712 and 714 may maintain the first and second ends 724 and 726 of the hanger plate 716 generally level with each other.

Referring back to Figures 7 to 9, as a horizontal cross-sectional area of the piston rod 662 is generally smaller than a horizontal cross-sectional area of the press plate 702, the hanger plate 716 and the first and second guides 712 and 714 may further be configured to distribute the press force from the piston rod 662 evenly across the press plate 702 during the press operation, and may distribute the press force even across an entirety of the horizontal cross-sectional area of the press plate 702.

Plate Retainer Portion The plate retainer portion 718 is generally configured to couple the press plate 702 to the hanger plate 716. Referring to Figures 7 to 9, in the embodiment shown, the plate retainer portion 718 includes a first connector 740, a second connector 742, a plate retainer 744, a first retainer support 746 and a second retainer support 748.

The plate retainer 744 includes a first lateral wall 750, a second lateral wall 752, a third lateral wall 754, a fourth lateral wall 756 and a bottom wall 758 (best shown in Figure 9). In the embodiment shown, the lateral walls 750, 752, 754 and 756 have generally a same height 757 (best shown in Figure 7). In other embodiments, one or more of the lateral walls 750, 752, 754 and 756 may have a different height. Together, the lateral walls 750, 752, 754 and 756 and the bottom wall 758 define a recess shown generally at 759 in Figure 9. The recess 759 has a width 751 and a length 753, and in the embodiment shown, the width 751 and the length 753 are both approximately 15.7 inches. In other embodiments, the width 751 and the length 753 may be unequal, and may be anywhere between approximate 10 inches and approximately 20 inches. The press plate 702 is dimensioned (described in greater detail below) to be securely received in the recess 759. The plate retainer 744 may further include means for securely attaching the press plate 702 to the press station 60. For example, in the embodiment shown, the bottom wall 758 includes a first plate attachment opening 760, a second plate attachment opening 762, a third plate attachment opening 764, and a fourth plate attachment opening 766. Each of the plate attachment openings 760, 762, 764 and 776 may be configured to align with respective retainer attachment openings (similar to retainer attachment openings 870, 872, 874 and 876 shown in Figure 20) on a bottom surface of the press plate 702. Once aligned, a fastener, such as a screw fastener or a bolt, may be inserted through the aligned plate attachment openings 760, 762, 764 and 776 and retainer attachment openings to couple the plate retainer 744 and the press plate 702. The plate attachment openings 760, 762, 764 and 776 allow the press plate retainer 744 to be removably coupled to the press plate 702. Accordingly, the same press plate retainer 744 may be interchangeably coupled to different types of press station plates, and a user of the apparatus 50 may choose, for different press operations, a press plate which may be optimized for, for example, different types and amount of initial substances, different press speeds, and different extracted substance yields.

Still referring to Figures 7 to 9, in the embodiment shown, the first retainer support 746 is coupled to the first lateral wall 750 of the plate retainer 744 and the second retainer support 748 is coupled to the third lateral wall 754 of the plate retainer 744. The first connector 740 extends from a back surface 745 of the first retainer support 746 and couples the first retainer support 746 to the second surface 722 of the hanger plate 716 proximate the first end 724 of the hanger plate 716 (best shown in Figure 7). The second connector 742 extends from a back surface 747 of the second retainer support 748 and couples the second retainer support 748 to the second surface 722 of the hanger plate 716 proximate the second end 726 of the hanger plate 716 (best shown in Figure 7). The first and second connectors 740 and 742 may be any structure used to transfer motion of the hanger plate 716 to the plate retainer 744, and may, for example, be a clamp coupling, a flange coupling, a bush pin type flange coupling, etc.

The first and second retainer supports 746 and 748 and the first and second connectors 740 and 742 may allow the plate retainer portion 718 to be removably coupled to the hanger plate 716, such that the plate retainer portion 718 can be separated from the hanger plate 716 in order to remove, change, or clean the press plate 702 retained in the plate retainer 744. Further, the first and second connectors 740 and 742, by being coupled to the first and second ends 724 and 726 of the hanger plate 716, may also aid in distributing the press force evenly across the press plate 702 during the press operation.

Carriage System

Referring to Figure 10, the carriage system 56 includes the track 250, a first base attachment rail 252, a second base attachment rail 254, a first support system shown generally at 256 and a second support system shown generally at 258. The track 250 includes: a first rail 260; a second rail 262; a first end support 264 extending between the first and second rails 260 and 262 at a first end of the track 250 shown generally at 265; and a second end support 266 extending between the first and second rails 260 and 262 at a second end of the track 250 shown generally at 267. The first and second end supports 264 and 266 may facilitate maintaining a fixed distance between the first and second rails 260 and 262 and may further support the integrity of the track 250.

The first and second base attachment rails 252 and 254 extend between the first and second rails 260 and 262 and may function to (i) attach the carriage system 56 to the support surface 182 of the base body 54, and to (ii) align the track 250 to the base body 54 in a generally symmetrical configuration whereby a length 270 (shown in Figure 2) of the track 250 extending from a first side of the horizontal center line 183 of the body 54 is generally equal to a length 272 (shown in Figure 2) of the track 250 extending from a second side of the horizontal center line 183 of the body 54.

For example, in the embodiment shown in Figure 10, the first base attachment rail 252 includes the first and second body attachment openings 290 and 292, and the second base attachment rail 254 includes the third and fourth attachment openings 294 and 296. The first and second base attachment rails 252 and 254 are located such that the body attachment openings 290, 292, 294 and 296 are configured to align with, respectively, the track attachment openings 190, 192, 194, 196 (shown in Figure 5) defined in the support surface 182 of the body 180. A fastener, for example a screw fastener or a bolt fastener, can be inserted through the aligned body attachment openings 260, 262, 294 and 296 and track attachment openings 190, 192, 194, 196 to secure the carriage system 56 to the body 54, and may secure the carriage system 56 to the body 54 such that horizontal center line 300 (shown in Figure 10) of the track 250 is generally aligned with the horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54.

The track 250 may include additional alignment means for aligning the first station 62 with a first preparation location 202 on the track 250 adjacent the first end 265 of the track 250 and for aligning the second station 64 with a second preparation location 204 on the track 250 adjacent the second end 267 of the track 250. The first station 62 may operable to receive the initial substance when it is at the first preparation location 202 and the second station 64 is operable to receive the initial substance when it is at the second preparation location 204. For example, in the embodiment shown in Figure 10 the first and second rails 260 and 262 may include respective first end projections 302 and 304 located at the first end 265 of the track 250, and respective second end projections 306 and 308 located at the second end 267 of the track 250. The first end projections 302 and 304 may function to stop movement of the first station 62 at the first preparation location 202 when the first station 62 is moved along the track 290. The second end projections 306 and 308 may analogously function to stop movement of the second station 64 at the second preparation location 204 as the second station 64 is moved along the track 250.

Further, the first and second end projections 302, 304, 306 and 308 may function to prevent the first and second stations 62 and 64 from falling off the track 250 during operation of the apparatus 50.

Further, in the embodiment shown in Figure 10, the first support system 256 and the second support system 258 support the track 250, and the first and second stations 62 and 64, on the ground surface during operation of the apparatus 50. In other embodiments, the first and second support systems 256 and 258 may be absent, and the track 250 may be supported by the first and second base attachment rails 252 and 254 on the support surface 182 alone.

In the embodiment shown, the first support system 256 includes: a first support leg 310 extending from the first rail 260 proximate the first end 265 of the track 250 and terminating in an enlarged leg base 312; and a second support leg 314 extending from the second rail 262 proximate the first end 265 of the track 250 and terminating in an enlarged leg base 316. Analogously, second support system 258 includes: a third support leg 318 extending from the second rail 262 proximate the second end 267 of the track 250 and terminating in an enlarged leg base 320; and a fourth support leg 322 extending from the first rail 260 proximate the second end 267 of the track 250 and terminating in an enlarged leg base 324. The enlarged leg bases 312, 316, 320 and 324 may contact the ground surface to support the first and second ends 265 and 267 of the track 250 on the ground surface. The enlarged leg bases 312, 316, 320 and 324 may further be configured to be retracted or extended relative to the respective support legs 310, 314, 318 and 322 to support the track 250 on a ground surface which is uneven or to generally level the track 250 on a ground surface which is uneven. For example, the enlarged leg bases 312, 316, 320 and 324 may include respective base shafts dimensioned to fit within openings of the respective support legs 310, 314, 318 and 322. The base shafts and the openings may include corresponding threads, such that rotation of the enlarged leg bases 312, 316, 320 and 324 in a first direction retracts the enlarged leg bases 312, 316, 320 and 324 relative to the respective support legs 310, 314, 318 and 322 and rotation in a second direction extends the enlarged leg bases 312, 316, 320 and 324 relative to the respective support legs 310, 314, 318 and 322.

First and Second Stations

Referring back to Figures 1 to 4, the first station 62 includes a first station carriage shown generally at 400 and a first station plate 402 removably coupled to the first station carriage 400. Similarly, the second station 64 includes a second station carriage shown generally at 404 and a second station plate 406 removably coupled to the second station carriage 404. In the embodiment shown, the first station carriage 400 and the second station carriage 404 include generally identical components, but are mirror images of each other.

The first station carriage 400 will now be described in greater detail below, with the understanding that the second station carriage 404, in the embodiment shown, includes generally the same components. The first and second station plates 402 and 406 will be describe in greater detail further below, with the press plate 702.

Referring to Figures 11 to 15, the first station carriage 400 includes a plate retainer shown generally at 410, a first retainer support 460, a second retainer support 462, a base 412, and a movement system shown generally at 414. Plate Retainer

The plate retainer 410 is configured to removably couple the first station plate 402 to the first station carriage body 140. For example, in the embodiment shown, the plate retainer 410 includes a first lateral wall 420, a second lateral wall 422, a third lateral wall 424, a fourth lateral wall 426, and a bottom wall 428 (best shown in Figures 11 and 12). In the embodiment shown, the lateral walls 420, 422, 424 and 426 have generally a same height

427 (shown in Figure 11 ). In other embodiments, one or more of the lateral walls 420, 422,

424 and 426 may have a different height. Together, the lateral walls 420, 422, 424 and 426, and the bottom wall 428 define a recess shown generally at 430 (shown in Figures 11 and

12). The recess 430 has a width 432 and a length 434 (shown in Figure 12), and in the embodiment shown, the width 432 and the length 434 are both approximately 15.7 inches. In other embodiments, the width 432 and the length may be unequal, and may be anywhere between approximate 10 inches and approximately 20 inches. The first station plate 402 is dimensioned (described in greater detail below) to be received in the recess 430.

The plate retainer 410 may include further attachment means for securely attaching the first station plate 402 to the first station 62 and for attaching the plate retainer 410 to the base 412. For example, in the embodiment shown, the bottom wall 428 includes a first plate and base attachment opening 440, a second plate and base attachment opening 442, a third plate and base attachment opening 444, and a fourth plate and base attachment opening 446 (shown in Figures 11 and 12). Each of the plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 may be configured to align with respective retainer attachment openings 870, 872, 874 and 876 (shown in Figure 19 and described in greater detail below) on a lower surface 804 of the first station plate 402, as well as respective retainer attachment openings 530, 532, 534 and 536 (shown in Figure 15 and described in greater detail below) of the base 412. Once aligned, a fastener, such as spring loaded fasteners 550, 552, 554 and 556 (shown in Figures 13 to 15 and described in greater detail below) may be inserted through the aligned retainer attachment openings 530, 532, 534 and 536 of the base 412, plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 of the plate retainer 410 and retainer attachment openings 870, 872, 874 and 876 of the first station plate 402 to (i) couple the plate retainer 410 to the base 412 and to (ii) couple the first station plate 402 to the plate retainer 410.

In some embodiments, the spring loaded fasteners 550, 552, 554 and 556 may not extend to retainer attachment openings 870, 872, 874 and 876 (shown in Figure 19 and described in greater detail below) of the first station plate 402. In such embodiments, the first station carriage 400 may solely rely on the fit of the first station plate 402 in the recess 430 to securely couple the first station plate 402 to the first station carriage 400. In still further embodiments, the bottom wall 428 may include additional or alternative attachment means for attaching the first station plate 402 to the plate retainer 410 and for attaching the plate retainer 410 to the base 412.

The plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 allow the plate retainer 410 to be removably coupled to the first station plate 402. Accordingly, the same first station carriage 400 may be interchangeably coupled to different types of first station plates, and a user of the apparatus may choose, for different press operations, a first station plate which may be optimized for, for example, different types and amounts of initial substances, different press speeds, and different extracted substance yields.

The plate retainer 410 may further include means for dissipating and/or absorbing forces applied by the press station 60 to the first station 62 during the press operation. In the embodiment shown, the plate retainer 410 may include a first station post 450, a second station post 452, a third station post 454, and a fourth station post 456 (shown in Figures 13, 14 and 15) extending from a bottom surface 429 of the bottom wall 428. Each of the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 are configured to be slideably retained in post openings 520, 522, 524 and 526 in the base 412 (described in greater detail below). Further, each of the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 are configured to align with respective ones of the base posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 (shown in Figure 5) on the support surface 182 when the first station 62 is at the press location 200, to allow the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 to contact respective ones of the base posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 as the first station 62 is compressed by the press station 60 during the press operation, which may aid in dissipating and/or absorbing forces applied during the press operation.

First and Second Retainer Supports

In the embodiment shown, the first retainer support 460 extends from the first lateral wall 420 of the plate retainer 410 and the second retainer support 462 extends from the third lateral wall 424 of the plate retainer 410 (best shown in Figure 12).

The first and second retainer supports 460 and 462 may be dimensioned to allow a user of the apparatus 50 to grasp the first and second retainer supports 460 and 462 to manoeuver the first station carriage 400 onto and off the track 250, and to move the first station carriage 400 along the track 250, for example. In the embodiment shown, the first and second retainer supports 460 and 462 may be sufficiently dimensioned to such that the first and second retainer supports 460, 462 may be grasped by the user without contacting the first station plate 402 received in the recess 430.

Further, the first retainer support 460 may include securing means shown generally at 489 (shown in Figures 11 , 12 and 14-16). The securing means 489 is generally configured to (i) secure one wall of a container configured contain the initial substance, to the first station carriage 400 (similar to a first container 470 shown in Figure 29 and described in greater detail below) and to (ii) maintain the container open to facilitate filling of the container with the initial substance (best shown in Figure 16).

In the embodiment shown, the securing means 489 may include a first projection 490, a second projection 492, and a third projection 494. Each projection 490, 492 and 494 may be dimensioned to be inserted into an opening in a wall of the container. Further, each projection 490, 492 and 494 is separated from an adjacent projection by a distance of approximately 5.75 inches, which may allow each projection 490, 492 and 494 to simultaneously secure a respective container (best shown in Figure 16). In other embodiments, the securing means 489 may include a greater or a lesser number of the projections, and may only include two projections for example. In yet other embodiments, the securing means 489 may include clips adhered to the lateral wall 461 and configured to clip one wall of the container.

Referring briefly back to Figure 2, in the embodiment shown, on the first station carriage 400, the securing means 489 extend from the first retainer support 460, such that the securing means on the first station carriage 400 is proximate the first end 265 of the track 250 when the first station carriage 400 at the first preparation location 202. This orientation may facilitate securing the containers to the first station carriage 400 when the first station carriage 400 is at the first preparation location 202. In contrast, on the second station carriage 404, the securing means may extend from a second retainer support coupled to a third lateral wall of a retainer of the second station carriage 404, such that the securing means on the second station carriage 404 is proximate the second end 267 of the track 250 when the second station 64 is at the second preparation location 204 on the track 250. This orientation may facilitate securing the containers to the second station carriage 404 when the second station 62 is at the second preparation location 204.

Base

The base 412, in the embodiment shown, includes a base wall 501 (best shown in Figure 15), coupling means shown generally at 505 (best shown in Figures 13 and 14) for coupling the base 412 to the plate retainer 410, a first wall 507, a second wall 509, a first protective flap 508 and a second protective flap 510. The base wall 501 includes means which allow the coupling means 505 to couple the plate retainer 410 and the base 412. For example, in the embodiment shown, the base wall 501 includes the first retainer attachment opening 530, the second retainer attachment opening 532, the third retainer attachment opening 534 and the fourth retainer attachment opening 536 (best shown in Figures 13 and 15). Each of the retainer attachment openings 530, 532, 534 and 536 is configured to align with a respective one of the plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 of the plate retainer 410, which may allow a fastener of the coupling means 505, such as spring loaded fasteners 550, 552, 554 and 556 (described in greater detail below), to be inserted into the aligned retainer attachment openings 530, 532, 534 and 536 of the base 412 and the plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 of the plate retainer 410 to couple the plate retainer 410 to the base 412.

Further, in the embodiment shown, the base wall 501 includes the first post opening 520, the second post opening 522, the third post opening 524 and the fourth post opening 526 (best shown in Figures 13 and 15). When the retainer attachment openings 530, 532, 534 and 536 of the base 412 is aligned with the plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 of the plate retainer 410, the post openings 520, 522, 524 and 526 of the base 412 is configured to slideably receive and retain the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 of the plate retainer 410 such that the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 extends through the base wall 501 (best seen in Figure 13). The coupling means 505 are configured to couple the plate retainer 410 with the base 412 such that, when a press force is applied to the first station 62 by the press station 60 during the press operation, the coupling means 505 (i) aid in dissipating and/or absorbing the force and (ii) also allows the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 of the plate retainer 410 and the posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 (shown in Figure 5) of the support surface 182 of the body 180 of the carriage support 160 to contact to aid in dissipating and/or absorbing the force. For example, in the embodiment shown, the coupling means 505 include: the first spring loaded fastener 550 having a compressible portion 541 and a tension adjuster 551 ; the second spring loaded fastener 552 having a compressible portion 543 (not shown) and a tension adjuster 553; the third spring loaded fastener 554 having a compressible portion 545 and a tension adjuster 555; and a fourth spring loaded fastener 556 having a compressible portion 547 and a tension adjuster 557 (shown in Figures 13-15). The spring loaded fasteners 550, 552, 554 and 556 are configured to be inserted into, respectively, the retainer attachment openings 530, 532, 534 and 536 of the base 412 and the plate and base attachment openings 440, 442, 444 and 446 of the plate retainer 410 such that the respective compressible portions 541 , 543, 545 and 547 are positioned between the plate retainer 410 and the base 412 (best shown in Figure 13). The compressible portions 541 , 543, 545 and 547 are initially biased in an uncompressed configuration, which maintains a distance 590 (shown in Figure 13) between the plate retainer 410 and the base 412. When the first station 62 is at the press location 200 and a press force is applied to the first station 62 by the press station 60 during the press operation, the distance 590 between the plate retainer 410 and the base 412 decreases, the compressible portions 541 , 543, 545 and 547 are compressed, and the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 of the plate retainer 410 are lowered within the post openings 520, 522, 524 and 526 of the base 412 until the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 contacts the posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 (shown in Figure 5) of the support surface 182 of the body 180. Both the compression of the compressible portions 541 , 543, 545 and 547 and the contact of the station posts 450, 452, 454 and 456 of the plate retainer 410 with the posts 500, 502, 504 and 506 of the support surface 182 of the body 180 may aid in dissipating and/or absorbing the press force applied by the press station 60 on the first station 62, which may further aid in preventing deformation or fracturing of the first station carriage 400 during the press operation.

A tension of the compressible portions 541 , 543, 545 and 547 may be adjusted by adjusting, respectively, the tension adjusters 551 , 553, 555 and 557 (shown in Figures 13 and 15), such as by rotating the tension adjusters 551 , 553, 555 and 557 for example. A high tension compressible portion may be less easily compressed, and may be preferred for high force press operations. A low tension compressible portion may be more easily compressed, and may be preferred for lower force press operations.

The base wall 501 , in the embodiment shown, further includes an alignment indicator shown generally at 540 (shown in Figures 13 and 15) extending from a lower surface 503 of the base wall 501 at an alignment location 542. The alignment indicator 540 is generally configured to cooperate with the sensing means 210 (shown in Figure 5) on the support surface 182 of the body 180 to indicate that the first station 62 is at the press location 200, and to allow the proximity sensor 214 to generate the "alignment signal 1102". Referring to Figure 15, the alignment indicator 540 includes a protrusion 544 extending from the lower surface 503 at the alignment location 542 and the magnet 546 coupled to the protrusion 544. When the first station 62 is moved along the track 250 to the press location 200, the magnet 546 interfaces with the proximity sensor 214 (shown in Figure 5) to convert the proximity sensor 214 into the closed, signalling configuration to cause the proximity sensor 214 to generate the "alignment signal 1102".

In the embodiment shown, the alignment location 542 is at a center of the base wall 501 , and is generally aligned with a horizontal center line 401 of the first station 62. As noted previously, the proximity sensor 214 (shown in Figure 5) at the sensor location 218 is generally aligned with the horizontal center line 183 (shown in Figure 2) of the body 54, and the press support 162 generally retains the press station 60 such that the horizontal center line 701 (shown in Figure 7) of the press station 60 is generally aligned with the horizontal center line 183 of the body 54. Accordingly, in the embodiment shown, when the first station 62 is moved to the press location 200 such that the magnet 546 is aligned with the proximity sensor 214, the horizontal center line 401 of the first station 62 is generally aligned with both the horizontal center line 701 of the press station 60 and the horizontal center line 183 of the body 54. However, in embodiments where the proximity sensor 214 is a different type of proximity sensor, the alignment indicator 540 may include alternative or additional components and may be positioned at an alternative alignment location. The first wall 507 extends from a fourth edge 417 of the base wall 501 , the first protective flap 508 extends from a first edge 411 of the base wall 501 , the second wall 509 extends from a second edge 413 of the base wall 501 opposite the first wall 507 and the second protective flap 510 extends from a third edge 415 of the base wall 510 opposite the first flap 508 (best shown in Figure 15). The first and second walls 507 and 509 may function to couple the movement system 414 to the base 412. The first and second protective flaps 508 and 510 may protect the components of the base 412 from dust and damage.

The first and second walls 507 and 509 may further include means for moving the first carriage 60 along the track 250. For example, in the embodiment shown, the first wall 507 includes a handle 512 extending from a lateral surface 515 of the first wall 507. The handle 512 is configured to be grasped by a user to allow the user to move the first station 62 along the track 250, for example between the press location 200 and the first preparation location 202. In other embodiments, the handle 512 may have an alternative configuration, or may be attached to a different portion of the base 412. For example, in another embodiment, the handle 512 may be a hand-wheel extending from the first protective flap 508, which may be grasped by the user to pull the first station 62 towards the first preparation location 202 or to push the first station towards the press location 200.

Movement System

The movement system 414 includes components which aid in moving the first station 62 on the track 250, and may include features which aid in retaining the first station 62 on the first and second rails 260 and 262 of the track 250, and aid in aligning the first station 62 to the first preparation location 202. In the embodiment shown, the movement system 414 includes a first wheel 560 and a second wheel 562 coupled to the first wall 507 and a third wheel 564 and a fourth wheel 566 coupled to the second wall 506 (best shown in Figure 15). The first and second wheels 560 and 562 are configured to contact the first rail 260 and the third and fourth wheels 564 and 566 are configured to contact the second rail 262. Each of the wheels 560, 562, 564 and 566 may also include respective grooves 561 , 563, 565 and 567 (best shown in Figure 15). The first and second wheel grooves 561 and 563 may be dimensioned to retain the first rail 260 and the third and fourth wheel grooves 565 and 567 may be dimensioned to retain the second rail 262, which may aid in retaining the first station 62 on the track 250 and may also function to improve stability as the first station 62 is moved along the track 250.

In other embodiments, the movement system 414 may include alternative or additional components coupled to the base 412 for facilitating movement of the first station 62 along the track 250, including for example, more or fewer wheels, linear channels, etc. Further, in other embodiments, the movement system 414 may be alternative or additional components of the apparatus 50 for facilitating movement of the first station 62 along the track 250. For example, in yet other embodiments, the movement system 414 may be rollers extending between the first and second rails 260, 262 of the track 250.

Referring briefly back to Figure 2 and 10, as mentioned above, first end projections 302 and 304 located at the first end 265 of the track 250 may align the first station 62 to the first preparation location 202. In the embodiment shown, the first end projections 302 and 304 may perform this function by physically contacting the first and fourth wheels 560 and 566, and thus stopping movement of the first station 62, when the first station 62 reaches the first preparation location 202. The second end projections 306 and 308 located at the second end 267 of the track 250 may align the second station 64 to the second preparation location 204 in a similar fashion.

Plates

Referring briefly back to Figure 2, the press plate 702 has a press plate configuration of raised members shown generally at 703, the first station plate 402 has a first plate configuration of raised members shown generally at 403, and the second station plate 406 has a second plate configuration of raised members shown generally at 407.

When the first station 62 is at the first preparation location 202, the raised members of the first station plate 402 are operable to receive the initial substance. Similarly, when second station 64 is at the second preparation location 204, the raised members of the second station plate 406 are operable to receive the initial substance. Further, the raised members of the press plate 702 are configured to cooperate with the raised members of the first station plate 402 (when the first station 62 is at the press location 200) or the raised members of second station plate 406 (when the second station 64 is at the press location 200) to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance. Accordingly, the first station plate configuration 403 and the second plate configuration 407 both include raised members which generally correspond to, and align with, at least one raised member of the press plate configuration 703. For example, in the embodiment shown in Figure 2, the press plate configuration 703, the first station plate configuration 403 and the second plate configuration 407 are all generally identical.

Further, in the embodiment shown, aside from having the same raised member configurations, the press plate 702, the first station plate 402 and the second station plate 404 also includes generally identical elements, such as generally identical internal components. The first station plate 402 will now be described in greater detail, with the understanding that the press plate 702 and the second station plate 406 are generally identical. Two Raised Members Referring to Figures 17 to 20, the first station plate 402 includes a plate body shown generally at 800 having a upper surface 802, the lower surface 804, a first lateral surface 811 , a second lateral surface 813, a third lateral surface 815 and a fourth lateral surface 817. In the embodiment shown, the first station plate 402 includes the first station plate configuration 403 having a first raised member 806 and a second raised member 808 extending from the upper surface 802.

The first station plate 402, in the embodiment shown, is formed as a single molded unit of aluminum, such that the first and second raised members 806 and 808 are integral with the plate body 800. However, in other embodiments, the first and second raised members 806 and 808 may be formed separately from the plate body 800 and may be subsequently coupled to the plate body 800. In yet other embodiments, the first station plate 402 may be formed from material other than aluminum, such as stainless steel, or other types of heat conductive materials.

The plate body 800 includes a height 810 (shown in Figure 17), a width 812 and a length 814 (shown in Figure 18). In the embodiment shown, the width 812 and the length 814 are dimensioned to allow the plate body 800 to securely fit within the recess 430 (shown in Figure 11 and 12) of the plate retainer 410 of the first station carriage 400 (and/or the recess 759 of the plate retainer 744 of the cylinder attachment body 700 (shown in Figure 9)), and are both approximately 15.7 inches. In other embodiments, the width 812 and the length 814 of the plate body 800 may vary depending on the width 432 and the length 434 (shown in Figure 12) of the recess 430 (and/or the width 753 and the length 751 (shown in Figure 9) of the recess 759), may be, for example unequal, and/or may range from between approximately 10 inches and approximately 20 inches.

The first raised member 806 incudes a first lateral surface 820, a second lateral surface 822, a third lateral surface 824, a fourth lateral surface 826, and a bearing surface 828 (best shown in Figures 17 and 18). The first raised member 806 further includes a first raised member height 821 (shown in Figure 17), a first raised member width 823 and a first raised member length 825 (shown in Figure 18). The second raised member 808 includes a first lateral surface 830, a second lateral surface 832, a third lateral surface 834, a fourth lateral surface 836, and a bearing surface 838 (best shown in Figures 17 and 18). The second raised member 808 further includes a second raised member height 831 (shown in Figure 17), a second raised member width 833 and a second raised member length 835 (shown in Figure 18).

In the embodiment shown, the first and second raised members 806 and 808 have generally identical configurations. Accordingly, the first raised member height 821 may be generally equal to the second raised member height 831.

The first and second raised member heights 821 and 831 may be sufficient to maintain the extracted substance suspended above the upper surface 802 of the plate body 800 (explained in greater detail below) during the press operation. This may prevent the extracted substance from contacting the upper surface 802 during (or after) the press operation, and may thus prevent the extracted substance from burning and/or caramelizing. For example, in the embodiment shown, both the first and second raised member heights 821 and 831 may be approximately 1 inch for example. In other embodiments, the first and second raised member heights 821 and 831 may be equal or may be unequal, and may range anywhere between approximately 0.25 inches and approximately 5 inches, for example. The first and second raised member heights 821 and 831 may be adjusted depending on the amount and type of initial substance to be pressed by the apparatus 50, and may further be adjusted based on the press time of the press operation, the press force exerted by the press plate 702, and the press temperature of the press plate 702 and the first station plate 402. The first raised member width 823 may be generally equal to the second raised member width 833 and the first raised member length 825 may also be generally equal to the second raised member length 835. In the embodiment shown, the first and second raised member widths 823 and 833 are both approximately 3 inches and the first and second raised member lengths 825 and 835 are both approximately 11 inches. In other embodiments, the first and second raised member widths 823 and 833 may be unequal and/or may range anywhere between approximately 2.5 inches and approximately 4.5 inches. In yet other embodiments, the first and second raised member lengths 825 and 835 may be unequal, and/or may range anywhere between approximately 5 inches and approximately 15 inches.

Referring to Figure 18, the third lateral surface 824 of the first raised member 806 may be separated from the first lateral surface 830 of the second raised member 808 by a distance

840; the first lateral surface 820 of the first raised member 806 may be separated from the first lateral surface 811 of the plate body 800 by a distance 842; and the third lateral surface 834 of the second raised member 808 may be separated from the third lateral surface 815 of the plate body 800 by a distance 844. The distance 840 may be sufficient to maintain the extracted substance suspended between the first and second raised members 806 and 808 without contacting any surface of the first or second raised members 806 and 808 during (or after) the press operation. This may prevent the extracted substance from burning and/or caramelizing during (or after) the press operation.

The distances 840, 842 and 844 may be adjusted depending on the amount and type of initial substance to be pressed by the apparatus 50, and may further be adjusted based on the press time of the press operation, the press force exerted by the press station 60, and the press temperature of the press plate 702 and the first station plate 402. The distances 840, 842 and 844 may be adjusted to achieve an optimal amount of extracted substance from the initial substance, and/or to minimize the amount of burned or otherwise unusable extracted substance. In the embodiment shown, the distance 840 is approximately 3 inches, and the distances 842 and 844 may both be approximately 3.35 inches. In other embodiments, the distance 840 may range between approximately 2 inches and approximately 6 inches.

Referring to briefly to Figure 21 , in the embodiment shown and as noted previously, the press plate configuration 703 and the first station plate configuration 403 are generally identical. Accordingly, the press plate 702 includes a first raised member 807 (substantially similar to the first raised member 806 of the first station plate 402) having a bearing surface 827 and a second raised member 809 (substantially similar to the second raised member 808 of the first station plate 402) having a bearing surface 837.

When the first station 62 is at the press location 200, the first raised member 806 of the first station plate 402 is generally aligned with the first raised member 807 of the press plate 702, and the second raised member 808 of the first station plate 402 is generally aligned with the second raised member 809 of the press plate 702. Further, when the press station 60 performs the press operation, the bearing surfaces 828 and 838 of the first station plate 402 are operable to cooperate with, respectively, the bearing surface 827 and 837 of the press plate 702 to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance. Referring back to Figures 17 to 20, the plate body 800 further a first station plate heating system shown generally at 850 coupled to plate body 800. The first station plate heating system 850 is configured to raise a temperature of the plate body 800 to a press temperature, and may be responsive to a "first station plate temperature adjustment signal 1148" (shown in Figure 31 ) from the controller 1000.

For example, in the embodiment shown, the first station plate heating system 850 includes at least one heating element 852, a first plate power interface 858, and a first station plate temperature sensor 860.

The at least one heating element 852 is generally configured to heat the plate body 800 to a press temperature of between approximately 40°F and approximately 700° F. The press temperature may be pre-selected by the user of the apparatus 50, such as by adjusting the first station plate temperature adjuster 574 (shown in Figures 1 , 2 and 5). In the embodiment shown, the at least one heating element 852 comprise six tubular heating elements 853, 854, 855, 856, 857 and 859, embedded within the plate body 800 and each extending across the width 812 of the plate body 800 between the first lateral surface 811 and the third lateral surface 815. The tubular heating elements 853, 854, 855, 856, 857 and 859 may be comprised of nichrome resistance heating alloy wire. In other embodiments, the at least one heating element 852 may have any configuration designed to generally uniformly heat the plate body 800 to the press temperature, and may include fewer or more tubular heating elements, or may include alternative heating elements such as a heat coil coupled to the lower surface 804 for example.

The first station plate temperature sensor 860 (shown in Figure 20) is generally configured to measure a current temperature of the plate body 800, and may be a thermometer, a thermistor, a thermocouple, for example. The first station plate temperature sensor 860 is operable to generate and send a "current first station plate temperature signal 1118" (shown in Figure 31 ) representing the current temperature of the plate body 800 to the controller 1000, either periodically or in response to a request by the controller 1000. The controller 1000 may control the at least one heating element 852, such as by increasing, decreasing or maintaining a power supplied to the at least one heating element 852, in response to the "current first station plate temperature signal 1118" received from the first station plate temperature sensor 860, to maintain the plate body 800 at a desired press temperature. The first plate power interface 858 (shown in Figure 20) is configured to couple the at least one heating element 852 to a power source to power the at least one heating element 852. The power source may be an internal, rechargeable battery retained within the body 54 of the apparatus 50, and/or may be an external power source, such as a standard 120V wall plug to which the apparatus 50 may be connected.

The first plate power interface 858 may further couple the at least one heating element 852 and the first station plate temperature sensor 860 to the controller 1000, to allow the controller 1000 to receive signals from (such as the "current first station plate temperature signal 1118" from the first station plate temperature sensor 860) and send signals to (such as the "first station plate temperature adjustment signal 1148" to the at least one heating element 852) to the first station plate 402.

In the embodiment shown, the first plate power interface 858 is located on the lower surface 804 of the plate body 800. Referring briefly to Figures 1 , 2 and 4, the first plate power interface 858 is configured to couple the plate body 800 to a first station connector 862 coupled to the generally vertical support 511 of the press support 162 of the body 54. The apparatus 50 may further include a second station connector 864 and a press station connector 866 (not shown) coupling, respectively, the second station plate 406 and the press plate 702 to the power source and the controller 1000. The separate first station, second station and press station connectors 862, 864 and 866 may allow the press temperature of the first station plate 402, the second station plate 406 and the press plate 702 to be independently controlled, such as by actuation of the first station plate temperature adjuster 574, the second station plate temperature adjuster 576 and the press plate temperature adjuster 572, for example.

Further, the first and second station connectors 862 and 864 may be of a sufficient length to allow the first station 62 and the second station 64 to move between, respectively, the first preparation location 202 and the press location 200 or the second preparation location 204 and the press location 200.

In the embodiment shown, the press station connection 866 is embedded and hidden within the cylinder attachment body 700. In other embodiments, the press station connection 866 may be external to the cylinder attachment body 700, and may be of a sufficient length to allow for the movement of the press station 60 during the press operation. Three Raised Members

Referring now to Figures 22 to 24, an alternative first plate configuration of raised members is shown generally at 880. The press plate 702 and the second station plate 406 may both have generally identical plate configurations of raised members as the first plate configuration 880.

The first plate configuration 880 includes a first raised member 882, a second raised member 884 and a third raised member 886 extending from the upper surface 802.

In the embodiment shown, the first raised member 882 incudes a first lateral surface 890, a second lateral surface 892, a third lateral surface 894, a fourth lateral surface 896, and a bearing surface 898. The first raised member 806 further includes a first raised member height 891 (shown in Figure 23), a first raised member width 893 and a first raised member length 895 (shown in Figure 22). The second raised member 884 incudes a first lateral surface 900, a second lateral surface 902, a third lateral surface 904, a fourth lateral surface 906, and a bearing surface 908. The second raised member 884 further includes a second raised member height 901 (shown in Figure 23), a second raised member width 903 and a second raised member length 905 (shown in Figure 22). The third raised member 886 incudes a first lateral surface 910, a second lateral surface 912, a third lateral surface 914, a fourth lateral surface 916, and a bearing surface 918. The third raised member 886 further includes a third raised member height 911 (shown in Figure 23), a third raised member width 913 and a second raised member length 915 (shown in Figure 22).

In the embodiment shown, the first, second and third raised members 882, 884 and 886 are generally identical.

Accordingly, the first raised member height 891 , the second raised member height 901 and the third raised member height 911 , may all be equal. The first, second and third raised member heights 891 , 901 and 911 may be sufficient to maintain the extracted substance suspended above the upper surface 802 of the plate body 800 (explained in greater detail below) during (or after) the press operation. For example, in the embodiment shown, the first, second and third raised member heights 891 , 901 and 911 may all be approximately 1 inch. In other embodiments, the first, second and third raised member heights 891 , 901 and 911 may be equal or unequal and may range anywhere between approximately 0.25 inches and approximately 5 inches, for example. The first, second and third raised member heights 891 , 901 and 911 , may be adjusted depending on the amount and type of initial substance to be pressed by the apparatus 50, and may further be adjusted based on the press time of the press operation, the press force exerted by the press plate 702, and the press temperature of the press plate 702 and the first station plate 402.

The first, second and third raised member widths 893, 903 and 913, may also all be equal, and the first, second and third raised member lengths 895, 905 and 915, may also all be equal. In the embodiment shown, the first, second and third raised member widths 893, 903 and 913 are all approximately 3 inches, and the first, second and third raised member lengths 895, 905 and 915 are all approximately 11 inches. In other embodiments, first, second and third raised member widths 893, 903 and 913 may be unequal and/or may range anywhere between approximately 2.5 inches and approximately 4.5 inches for example. In yet other embodiments, the first, second and third raised member lengths 895, 905 and 915 may be unequal, and/or may range anywhere between approximately 5 inches and approximately 15 inches.

Referring to Figure 22, the first lateral surface 811 of the plate body 800 may be separated from the first lateral surface 890 of the first raised member 882 by a distance 920, the third lateral surface 894 of the first raised member 882 may be separated from the first lateral surface 900 of the second raised member 884 by a distance 922, the third lateral surface 904 of the second raised member 884 may be separated from the first lateral surface 910 of the third raised member 886 by a distance 924, and the third lateral surface 914 of the third raised member 886 may be separated from the third lateral surface 815 of the plate body 800 by a distance 926. The distances 922 and 924 may be sufficient to maintain the extracted substance suspended between, respectively, the first and second raised members 882 and 884 and the second and third raised members 884 and 886, without contacting any surface of the first, second or third raised members 882, 884 or 886 (explained in greater detail below) during (or after) the press operation.

The distances 920, 922, 924 and 926 may also be varied depending on the amount and type of initial substance to be pressed by the apparatus 50, and may further be adjusted based on the press time of the press operation, the press force exerted by the press station 60, and the press temperature of the press plate 702 and the first station plate 402. The distances 920, 922, 924 and 926 may be adjusted to achieve an optimal yield and/or to minimize the amount of burned or otherwise unusable extracted substance. In the embodiment shown, the distances 922 and 924 are both approximately 1 .69 inches, and the distances 920 and 926 are both approximately 1.66 inches. Referring to briefly Figure 24, in the embodiment shown and as noted above, the configuration of raised members on the press plate 702 is generally identical to the first plate configuration 880 of the first station plate 402. Accordingly, the press plate 702 includes a first raised member 883 (substantially similar to the first raised member 882 of the first station plate 402) having a bearing surface 897, a second raised member 885 (substantially similar to the second raised member 884 of the first station plate 402) having a bearing surface 907, and a third raised member 887 (substantially similar to the third raised member 886 of the first station plate 402) having a bearing surface 917.

When the first station 62 is at the press location 200, the first raised member 882 of the first station plate 402 is generally aligned with the first raised member 883 of the press plate 702, the second raised member 884 of the first station plate 402 is generally aligned with the second raised member 885 of the press plate 702, and the third raised member 886 of the first station plate 402 is generally aligned with the third raised member 887 of the press plate 702. Further, when the press station 60 performs the press operation, the bearing surfaces 898, 908 and 918 of the first station plate 402 is operable to cooperate with, respectively, the bearing surface 897, 907, and 917 of the press plate 702, to extract the extracted substance from the initial substance (described in greater detail below).

Irregular Raised Members

Referring now to Figures 25 to 27, in a further alternative embodiment, the first station plate 402, the second station plate 406 and the press plate 702 may each have different configurations of raised members.

Referring to Figure 25, the first station plate 402 may have a first plate configuration of raised members shown generally at 930. The first plate configuration 930 may include a single, irregularly shaped raised member 932 having a bearing surface 934. The irregularly shaped raised member 932 may generally form a U-shape, for example. Referring to Figure 26, the second station plate 406 may have a second plate configuration of raised members shown generally at 940. The second plate configuration 940 may include a single, raised member 942 having a bearing surface 944. The raised member 942 may generally form a square, for example. In other embodiments, the first station plate 402 may have the second plate configuration 940 and the second station plate 406 may have the first plate configuration 930.

Referring to Figure 26, the press plate 702 may have a press plate configuration of raised members shown generally at 950. The press plate configuration 950 may include raised members which correspond to both the first plate configuration 930 and the second plate configuration 940. For example, in the embodiment shown, the press plate configuration 950 includes both an irregularly shaped first raised member 952 having a bearing surface 954 and a second raised member 956 having a bearing surface 958.

When the first station 62 is at the press station 200, the irregularly shaped first raised member 952 of the press plate 702 is generally aligned with the irregularly shaped raised member 932 of the first station plate 402 and the bearing surface 954 of the irregularly shaped first raised member 952 of the press plate 702 is configured to cooperate with the bearing surface 934 of the irregularly shaped raised member 932 of the first station plate 402. In contrast, when the second station 62 is at the press station 200, the second raised member 956 of the press plate 702 is aligned with the raised member 942 of the second station plate 404 and the bearing surface 958 of the second raised member 956 of the press plate 702 is configured to cooperate with the bearing surface 944 of the raised member 942 of the second station plate 404.

Other different configurations of raised members for the first station plate 402, the second station plate 404 and the press plate 702 are possible. Accessories

The apparatus 50 is configured to extract an extracted substance from an initial substance by applying heat and pressure, and without the use of any traditional extraction solvents. In the embodiment shown, the initial substance can be plant material, such as buds, flowers, hash, bubble hash, kief and/or dry sift, derived or formed from plants of the Cannabis genus, for example. The extracted substance can be a resin extracted from the plant material, commonly known as "rosin", which may have cannabinoid content of between 1 % to approximately 75% of the total final weight. In this context, "cannabinoid content" means the presence of at least one of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Accordingly, the apparatus 50 may be used with accessories to facilitate extraction of the extracted substance from the initial substance. For example, referring to Figure 28, the apparatus 50 may be used with an extract retention system shown generally at 960. In the embodiment shown, the extract retention system 960 includes the first container 470 and a second container 471 , a first extract retaining sheet 962 and a second extract retaining sheet 964. The first and second containers 470 and 471 are configured to contain the initial substance to facilitate extraction of the extracted substance. The first container 470 will now be described in detail, with the understanding that the second container 471 contains substantially the same components.

Referring to Figure 29, the first container 470, in the embodiment shown, includes a first wall 472 defining a first wall opening 473 and a second wall 474 defining a second wall opening 475. The first and second walls 472 and 474 are sealed together at a first sealed edge 478, a second sealed edge 480 and a third sealed edge 482 to generally define an internal container volume 479. The first container 470 further includes an opening 483 for receiving the initial substance and formed from a respective edge of the first and second walls 472 and 474 which is not sealed.

The first and second wall openings 473 and 475 are dimensioned to receive the securing means 489 (shown in Figures 11 to 16) of the first station carriage 400 to secure the first container 470 to the first station carriage 400. Further, the first and second wall openings 473 and 475 can also maintain the opening 483 of the container open during the filling of the first container 470. For example, one of the projections 490, 492 and 494 of the securing means 489 (shown in Figures 11 to 16) may be inserted into one of the wall openings 473 and 475 to secure one of the first and second walls 474 and 476 to the first station carriage 400 while the other one of the first and second walls 474 and 476 remains free. The initial substance may then be received in the internal container volume 479 through the opening 483 of the first container 470. To further facilitate filling of the first container 470 with the initial substance, a funnel may be used. After filling the first container 470 with the initial substance, the first container 470 may be rolled to seal the opening 483 to retain the initial substance a completely enclosed internal container volume 479.

The first container 470 may be dimensioned to correspond to the dimensions of the raised members (such as the first and second raised members 806 and 808 (shown in Figures 17 and 18)) of the first station plate 402 or the second station plate 404, such that when the first container 470 is placed on either the first wall 472 or the second wall 474, the first container 470 generally fits on bearing surfaces (such as the bearing surfaces 828 and 838 (shown in Figures 17 and 18)) of the raised members. For example, in the embodiment shown, the extract retention system 960 is configured for use with the first station plate configuration 403 (shown in Figures 17 to 21 ) including the first and second raised members 806 and 808. The first container 470 may thus have a container length 484 (shown in Figure 29) of approximately 11 inches to correspond to the first and second raised member lengths 825 and 835 (shown in Figure 18), and a container width 486 (shown in Figure 29) of approximately 3 inches to correspond to the first and second raised member widths 823 and 833 (shown in Figure 18).

In embodiments where the extract retention system 960 is configured for use with the first plate configuration 880 (shown in Figures 22 to 24), the extract retention system 960 may include three generally identical containers. Further, each container may have a container length of approximately 11 inches to correspond to the first, second and third raised member lengths 895, 905 and 915 (shown in Figure 22) and a container length of approximately 3 inches to correspond to the first, second and third raised member widths 893, 903 and 913 (shown in Figure 22).

In embodiments where the extract retention system 960 is configured for use with the first plate configuration 930 (shown in Figure 25) or the second plate configuration 940 (shown in Figure 26), the extract retention system 960 may include a container generally shaped to correspond the irregularly shaped raised member 932 of the first station plate 402 and a second extract retention system may include another container generally shaped to correspond to the raised member 942 of the second station plate 404.

The first and second walls 472 and 474 may also be formed of a material which makes the first container 470 porous, to allow the extracted substance to be pressed out from the internal container volume 479 of the first container 470 as the extracted substance is extracted from the initial substance during the press operation. The first and second walls 472 and 474 may be made from porous food grade nylon, for example.

The material forming first and second walls 472 and 474 may be selected from material having different filter sizes, such as material having a filter size between approximately 20 microns and approximately 220 microns, for example. A user may select different filter sizes depending on the type and the amount of initial substance. For example, where the initial substance includes flowers and buds, a container with wall filter sizes of approximately 90 micron to approximately 220 micron may be required. Larger flowers and buds may require a container with even larger filter sizes. Where the initial substances includes hash, kief or dry sift, a container with wall filter sizes of approximately 25 micron to approximately 50 micron may be required to maintain the initial substance within the internal volume of the container and to increase yield.

Further, where the user decides to press a large amount of the initial substance, such as between approximately 50 mg and approximately 100 mg of the initial substance, a container with a wall filter size between approximately 90 micron and approximately 220 micron may be required. Alternatively, if the user decides to press a small or moderate amount of the initial substance, such as between approximately 20 mg and approximately 30 mg of the initial substance, a container with a wall filter size between approximately 25 micron and approximately 50 micron may be required. Referring back to Figure 28, the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 comprise cellulose-based parchment paper. In other embodiments, the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 may be any type of sheet-like material which has a non-stick surface, such as wax paper, for example.

Further, in the embodiment shown, the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 comprise two separate sheets. Each of the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 may be dimensioned to extend over the entirety of the upper surface 802 of the plate body 800 (shown in Figure 17). For example, the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 may each have a retaining sheet length 966 equal to, or more than, approximately 15.7 inches, and may each have a retaining sheet width 968 equal to, or slightly more than, approximately 15.7 inches. In other embodiments, the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 may be formed from a single sheet, folded along a fold- line.

As noted previously, in the embodiment shown, the extract retention system 960 is configured to be used with the first station plate configuration 403 of the first station plate 402. Thus, the components of the extract retention system 960 may be positioned on the first station plate 402 while the first station 62 is at the first preparation location 202. For example, the first extract retaining sheet 962 may first be positioned over the upper surface 802 (shown in Figure 17 and 18) of the plate body 800 and the bearing surfaces 828 and 838 of the first and second raised members 806 and 808 (shown in Figures 17 and 18). Then, the first and second containers 470 and 471 may be positioned on the first extract retaining sheet 962 such that the first container 470 rests on the bearing surface 828 of the first raised member 806 and the second container 471 rests on the bearing surface 838 of the second raised member 808. The second extract retaining sheet 964 may then be positioned over the first and second containers 470 and 471 such that the first and second containers 470 and 471 are inserted between the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964. The first station 62 may then be moved to the press location 200 for the press operation.

Referring to Figure 30, during the press operation, as the press force is applied by the press station 60 and the press temperature is applied by a press station heating element (similar to the at least first station plate heating element 852) in the press station 60 and the at least first station plate heating element 852 in the first station 62, the extracted substance is extracted from the initial substance.

Further, the press force applied by the press station 60 generally forces the extracted substance from the internal volumes of the first and second containers 470 and 471 and between the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964. For example, the extracted substance from the portion of the initial substance retained in the first container

470 may be forced away from the interacting bearing surfaces 828 and 827 and the extracted substance from the portion of the initial substance retained in the second container

471 may be forced away from the interacting bearing surfaces 838 and 837. This extracted substance is then generally retained between the first and second extract retaining sheets

962 and 964. As noted above, due to the first and second member heights 821 and 823 of the first and second members 806 and 808 of the first station plate 402 (and generally identical first and second member heights of the first and second members 807 and 809 of the press plate 702), the first and second extract retaining sheets 964 and 962 may suspend the extracted substance away from the upper surface 802 of the first station plate 402 and an surface of the press pate 702. Further, due to the distance 840 between the first and second raised members 806 and 808 of the first station plate 402 (and a generally identical distance between the first and second raised members 807 and 809 of the press station 702), the first and second extract retaining sheets 962 and 964 may also suspend the extracted substance away from any surface of the first and second raised members 807 and 809 of the press plate 702 and any surface of the first and second raised members 806 and 808 of the first station plate 402. This may prevent the extracted substance from burning or caramelizing during (or after) the press operation.

Control System and Operation Referring to Figure 31 , the control system 59 includes the controller 1000, the start/stop button 570, the press station interface 571 , the press plate temperature adjuster 572, the first station plate temperature adjuster 574, and the second station plate temperature adjuster 576.

The controller 1000 may be implemented using a microcontroller circuit. In other embodiments, the controller may be implemented as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) or other integrated circuit, a digital signal processor, an analog controller, a hardwired electronic or logic circuit, or using a programmable logic device or gate array, for example.

In the embodiment shown, the controller 1000 includes a plurality of inputs shown generally at 1001 operable to receive a variety of signals from various components of the apparatus 50, and a plurality of outputs shown generally at 1039 configured to generate and send signals for controlling the operation of the apparatus 50. In particular, the controller 1000 is generally configured to be able to control the press temperature of the first station plate 402, the second station plate 406 and the press plate 702, and a press speed, the press force and the press time of the press plate 702. Operation

Referring briefly to Figure 1 and 2, a user may begin using the apparatus 50 by (i) selecting either an manual operating mode or an automatic operating mode for the apparatus 50 by interfacing with the press station interface 571 (shown in Figures 1 to 5), (ii) selecting a press temperature for the press plate 702, the first station plate 402 and the second station plate 404 by interfacing with, respectively, the press plate temperature adjuster 572, the first station temperature adjuster 574 and the second station temperature adjuster 576 (shown in Figures 1 to 5), (iii) selecting a press speed and a press force for the press plate 702 by interfacing the press station interface 571 (shown in Figures 1 to 5), and (iv) selecting a press time for the press operation of the press plate 702 by interfacing with the press station interface 571 (shown in Figures 1 to 5).

Referring now to Figure 31 , user selection of a desired press plate temperature using the press plate temperature adjuster 572 may cause the press plate temperature adjuster 572 to generate a "desired press plate temperature signal 1112" for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1012. In response to the "desired press plate temperature signal 1112", the controller 1000 may generate, at an output 1046, a "press plate temperature adjustment signal 1146" for receipt by press plate heating elements 1147 associated with the press plate 702 (which may be similar to the at least one first station plate heating element 852 (shown in Figures 17 to 19) associated with the first station plate 402) to cause the press plate heating system 1147 to heat the press plate 702 to the desired press plate temperature.

The controller 1000 may also periodically sample a press plate temperature sensor 1113 associated with the press plate 702 (which may be similar to the first station plate temperature sensor 860 (shown in Figure 20) associated with the first station plate 402), to receive, at an input 1014, a "current press plate temperature signal 1114" representing a current temperature of the press plate 702 sensed by the press plate temperature sensor 1113. The controller 1000 may further compare the "desired press plate temperature signal 1112" with the "current press plate temperature signal 1114" to generate additional or alternative "press plate temperature adjustment signals 1146" to control the press plate heating elements 1147 to cause the current press plate temperature to be generally equal with the desired press plate temperature. User selection of a desired first station plate temperature using the first station plate temperature adjuster 574 may cause the first station plate temperature adjuster 574 to generate a "desired first station plate temperature signal 1116" for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1016. In response to the "desired first station plate temperature signal 1116", the controller 1000 may generate, at an output 1048, the "first station plate temperature adjustment signal 1148" for receipt by the first station plate heating system 850 (shown in Figures 17 to 19), to cause the first station plate heating system 850 to heat the first station plate 402 to the desired first station plate temperature.

The controller 1000 may also periodically sample the first station plate temperature sensor 860, to receive, at an input 1018, the "current first station plate temperature signal 1118" representing a current temperature of the first station plate 402 sensed by the first station plate temperature sensor 860. The controller 1000 may further compare the "desired first station plate temperature signal 1116" with the "current first station plate temperature signal 1118" to generate additional or alternative "first station plate temperature adjustment signals 1148", to control the first station plate heating system 850 to cause the current first station plate temperature to be generally equal with the desired first station plate temperature.

Further, user selection of a desired second station plate temperature using the second station plate temperature adjuster 576 may cause the second station plate temperature adjuster 576 to generate a "desired second station plate temperature signal 1120" for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1020. In response to the "desired second station plate temperature signal 1120", the controller 1000 may generate, at an output 1050, a "second station plate temperature adjustment signal 1150" for receipt by second station heating elements 1151 (which may be similar to the at least one first station plate heating element 852 (shown in Figures 17 to 19) associated with the first station plate 402) associated with the second station plate 406, to cause the second station heating elements 1151 to heat the second station plate 406 to the desired second station plate temperature.

The controller 1000 may also periodically sample a second station plate temperature sensor 1115 associated with the second station plate 406 (which may be similar to the first station plate temperature sensor 860 (shown in Figure 20) associated with the first station plate 402), to receive, at an input 1022, a "current second station plate temperature signal 1122" representing a current temperature of the second station plate 406 sensed by the second station plate temperature sensor 1115. The controller 1000 may further compare the "desired second station plate temperature signal 1120" with the "current second station plate temperature signal 1122" to generate additional or alternative ones of the "second station plate temperature adjustment signals 1150" to control the second station heating elements 1151 to cause the current second station plate temperature to be generally equal with the desired second station plate temperature.

User selection of a desired press speed and a desired press force for the press plate 702 at the press station interface 571 may cause the press station interface 571 to generate, respectively, a "desired press speed signal 1108" for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1008, and a "desired press force signal 1110" for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1010.

In response to the "desired press speed signal 1108" and the "desired press force signal 1110", the controller 1000 may generate, at outputs 1042 and 1044 respectively, the "pump control signal 1142" for controlling the flow rate of the pump 602 and the "motor control signal 1144" for controlling the drive speed of the motor 603. For example, the "desired press force signal 1110" may control the pump 602 and the motor 603 to cause the hydraulic cylinder 606 to apply a press force of between approximately 1 ton and approximately 100 tones, and the "desired press speed signal 1108" may control the pump 602 and the motor 603 to cause the hydraulic cylinder 606 to lower the press station 602 at a press speed of approximately 0.5 inches per second.

User selection of a desired press time for the press plate 702 at the press station interface 571 may cause the press station interface 571 to generate a "desired press time signal 1111 " for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1011 . In response to the "desired press time signal 1111 ", the controller 1000 may generate, at the output 1040, certain "valve control signals 1140" at set intervals corresponding to desired press time, to allow the press station 60 to maintain the press operation for the desired press time (described in greater detail below).

After selecting the desired press temperatures, the desired press speed, the desired press force and the desired press time, and generally referring Figure 32, the user may generally move the first station 62 to the first preparation location 202. While the first station 62 is at the first preparation location 202, the user may secure first and second containers 1200 and 1202 (generally similar to the first and second containers 470 and 471 (shown in Figure 28)) to the first station carriage 400 using the securing means 489, maintain the first and second containers 1200 and 1202 open, and fill the first and second containers 1200 and 1202 with a first portion of the initial substance. Referring to Figure 33, the user may then form a first extract retention system 1204 (generally similar to the extract retention system 960 (shown in Figure 28)) by: positioning a first extract retaining sheet 1206 (generally similar to the first extract retaining sheet 962 (shown in Figure 28)) over the upper surface 802 of the plate body 800, positioning the first container 1200 on the first extract retaining sheet 1206 such that the first container 470 generally rests on the bearing surface 828 of the first raised member 806, positioning the second container 1202 on the first extract retaining sheet 1206 such that the second container 1203 generally rests on the bearing surface 838 of the second raised member 808, and positioning a second extract retaining sheet 1208 (generally similar to the second extract retaining sheet 964 (shown in Figure 28)) over the first and second containers 1200 and 1202. The user may then grasp the handle 512 to move the first station 62 along the track 250 from the first preparation location 202 to the press location 200.

Once the first station 62 is aligned to the press location 200, the magnet 546 on the lower surface 503 of the base 412 of the first station carriage 400 is aligned with the proximity sensor 214 on the support surface 182 of the carriage support 160. This alignment may cause the proximity sensor 214 to generate the "alignment signal 1102" for receipt by the controller 1000 at an input 1002.

Referring to Figure 31 , in situations where the user selected the automatic operating mode for the apparatus 50, the controller 1000 may automatically generate and send, from an output 1040, a first "valve control signal 1140" to the valve 604. The first "valve control signal 1140" may cause the valve 604 to switch from the steady state 640 to the downstroke state 644, thereby causing the downstroke of the piston 656 and the press station 60 to be lowered towards the first station 62 for the press operation (shown in Figure 34). In situations where the user selected the manual operating mode for the apparatus 50, the controller 1000 may require receipt of the "start signal 1124" generated from the user manually actuating the start/stop button 570 before producing the first "valve control signal 1140". Further, in the embodiment shown, the controller 1000 is configured such that actuation of the start/stop button 570 will not send the "first valve control signal 1140" unless the controller 1000 has also received the alignment signal 1102 from the proximity sensor 214. This may prevent accidental operation of the apparatus 50.

As noted previously, and referring to Figure 31 , as the piston 656 moves to the second end 654 of the housing 650, the second piston proximity sensor 660 senses the piston 656 and generates and sends the "downstroke piston position signal 1106" to the controller 1000 for receipt at an input 1006. In response to the "downstroke piston position signal 1106", the controller 1000 may generate and send a second "valve control signal 1140" to the valve 604. The second "valve control signal 1140" may cause the valve 604 to switch from the downstroke state 644 to the steady state 640, which maintains the press station 60 in contact with the first station 62 to apply the press force to the first station 62 to perform the press operation. Referring to Figure 34, the press operation of the press station 60 extracts the extracted substance from the initial substance by pressing the first and second containers 1200 and 1202 of the first extract retention system 1204 between the first and second raised members 807 and 809 of the press plate 702 and the first and second raised members 806 and 808 of the first station plate 402

Referring back to Figure 31 , the controller 1000 may maintain the valve 604 in the steady state 640 for the desired press time represented by the "desired press time signal 1111 " received from the press interface 571 , for example, to allow the press station 60 to perform the press operation for the desired press time. After the desired press time, the controller 1000 may produce a third "valve control signal 1140" for receipt by the valve 604. For example, if the user selected a desired press time of 60 seconds, the controller 1000 may wait for 60 seconds between sending the second "valve control signal 1140" and the third "valve control signal 1140". The third "valve control signal 1140" may cause the valve 604 to switch from the steady state 640 to the upstroke state 642, thereby causing the upstroke of the piston 656 and the press station 60 to be raised away from the first station 62. As the piston 656 moves to the first end 652 of the housing 650 in the upstroke, the first piston proximity sensor 658 may automatically generate and send the "upstroke piston position signal 1104" to the controller 1000 for receipt at an input 1006. In response to the "upstroke piston position signal 1104", the controller 1000 may generate a fourth "valve control signal 1140" for receipt by the valve 604.

The fourth "valve control signal 1140" may cause the valve 604 to switch from the upstroke state 642 to the steady state 640, which may maintain the press station 60 raised above the track 250. The valve 604 may be maintained in the steady state 640 until the controller 1000 receives another one of the "alignment signal 1102" from the proximity sensor 214 indicating that either the first station 62 or the second station 64 is again aligned at the press location 200.

Referring back to Figure 34, while the first station 62 is at the press location 200 and the press station 60 is performing the press operation on the initial substance contained in the first and second containers 1200 and 1202 of the first extract retention system 1204, the user may move the second station 64 to the second preparation location 204. The user may then secure third and fourth containers 1210 and 1212 (generally similar to the first and second containers 470 and 471 (shown in Figure 28) and the first and second containers 1200 and 1202) to the second station carriage 404 and fill the third and fourth containers 1210 and 1212 with a second portion of the initial substance.

Referring to Figure 35, the user may then form a second extract retention system 1214 (generally similar to the extract retention system 960 (shown in Figure 28) and the first extract retention system 1204) by inserting the third and fourth containers 1210 and 1212 between third and fourth retaining sheets 1216 and 1218, and positioning the second extract retention system 1214 on the second station plate 404. After the press operation at the first station 62 is completed, and the press station 60 is raised away from the first station 62, the first station 62 can be moved away from the press location 200 as the second station 64 with the second extract retention system 1214 positioned thereon is moved to the press location 200.

Referring to Figure 36, the press operation can then be performed by the press station 62 on the second station 64 to extract the extracted substance from the second portion of the initial substance retained in the third and fourth containers 1210 and 1212 of the second extract retention system 1214. While the press operation is being performed on the second portion of the initial substance of the second extract retention system 1214, the first extract retention system 1204 can be removed from the first station 62, and the extracted substance retained between the first and second extract retaining sheets 1206 and 1208 can be collected. For example, the first extract retention system 1204 can be removed from the first station 62 using a peel having grooves corresponding to the first and second raised members 806 and 808 of the first station plate 402, for example. The first extract retention system 1204 can then be set aside to cool, and may be placed within a refrigerator or a freezer, for example.

The user may then re-align the first station 62 with the first preparation location 202, secure fifth and sixth containers 1220 and 1222 to the first station 62, fill the fifth and sixth containers 1220 and 1222 (not shown) with a third portion of the initial substance and form a third extract retention system 1224 (not shown) on the first station plate 402. The user may thus perform the press operation on one of the first and second stations 62 and 64 at the press location 200, while, at the same time, prepare an extract retention system for use on the other one of the first and second stations 62 and 64 at the first or second preparation location 202 or 204 (as the case may be). This tandem operation of the first and second stations 62 and 64 may increase the speed at which the extracted substance can be extracted from the initial substance.

While specific embodiments have been described and illustrated, such embodiments should be considered illustrative of the subject matter described herein and not as limiting the claims as construed in accordance with the relevant jurisprudence.