The HurdMaster Micro Decorticator, a small-scale fiber processing unit designed by Industrial Hemp Latvia (IHL) founder and entrepreneur Kristaps Eglitas, is now in production and may be ordered.
The machine is designed for small-scale flower and seed growers who want to monetize leftover stems from their harvests, Eglitis said. It is intended for farms of 2-5 hectares (about 6-10 acres). The HurdMaster is priced at €10,000 ($11,050).
See the videos of the first production Hurdmaster in action
“We’re getting excellent hurds for hempcrete,” Eglitis said of the sleek, boxy, stainlesss-steel unit, which is small enough to fit in a car. “We processed some fiber for hempcrete to insulate my own house which we’re now working on, and the hurds’ performance in the mix was excellent,” Eglitis said.
IHL said it will sell the first three machines from its initial production run to customers who purchase and donate a second machine to a worthy humanitarian project.
“We’ve identified some remarkable initiatives around the world where the HurdMaster can be of infinite value in providing shelter and jobs through hempcrete construction,” said Kristaps Eglitis, founder at IHL.
The HurdMaster was inspired in part by Eglitis’ research of a decorticator project started by Australian-Latvian Voldemars Cirulis, who built a much bigger machine while living in Australia in the early 2000s.
Eglitis designed the HurdMaster with help from a student at Latvian Technical University after intense research on decortiation technology.
He eventually bought the machine from Cirulis and studied its components and how it functions – research he said was critical in the design process.
Eglitis, who designs and builds metal interior features such as staircases, has worked in metal construction for more than 20 years.
He is collaborating with Peruza, a leading manufacturer of machinery for fish processing, developing engineering enhancements that will reduce the HurdMaster’s weight while boosting efficiency. While Eglitis is satisfied with hurd quality turned out by the machine, planned adjustments to improve the quality of technical fiber output are still being worked out, he said. Plans are in the works to build a bigger model decorticator as well, Eglitis said.
Just last month, Eglitis secured an EU grant he’ll use to build an engineering building, he said.
While Eglitis has now lost contact with Cirulis, 96, who is blind and infirm, he knows the old inventor would be proud. “Voldemars would be happy to see that his work has inspired me to move forward,” Eglitis said.