John Davis: Designing Realistic Extraction Systems from a Processing Perspective
This week, John Davis, CTO of Entexs, discusses his move from the oil and gas industry to the helm of an engineering and fabrication company focused on end-to-end extraction systems. Entexs (pronounced "en-techs") was founded with the sole purpose of providing custom engineered extraction solutions for the cannabis industry. The company assembled a team of machinists, fabricators and engineers with decades of experience building breweries and food manufacturing plants — who were well-versed in sanitary processing equipment.The company set up shop in Diamond Springs, California, outside of Sacramento, to focus on cold ethanol extraction. Davis works with ethanol not just because of his past experience, but, he says, because it's easier to scale on a system level.The team started providing systems to companies processing 500 to 1,000 pounds of biomass per day. According to Davis, the industry was piecemeal-ing the various parts of the extraction process to make a system. Entexs sought to make one system, with each disparate subsystem integrated into one, removing inefficiencies, human error and other bottlenecks in the process. At the same time, they noticed the opportunity in the emerging hemp industry, where companies were trying to process millions of pounds of biomass to make CBD products. The result is two different product lines: a smaller system for the cannabis industry, and a much larger one to meet hemp industry needs. Each removes manual processes with automation that yields repeatable, high-quality end products. Davis and his team wanted to design extraction systems that were more realistic from a processing perspective. While many competitors make valid claims about throughput, when you factor in process bottlenecks, it's tough to achieve the published numbers. With his oil and gas background, Davis had about a decade of experience designing and building systems that moved fluids, petroleum and other hard-to-move vaporizing fluids, such as carbon dioxide and propane. He found that the extraction industry was “just moving fluids."Entexs products are designed and manufactured in-house from raw material. The team of about 12 employees works together very closely from concept to development and production to delivery. The company runs lean, but manages to deliver equipment tuned to meet each extraction processor's needs. It’s a welcome change for customers who are trying to make things work with systems that don't always work well together. Entexs products include an easy-to-use interface that runs routines in the background using automation and controls that the company developed in-house. The idea was to make sure clients could get everything going by hitting a couple of buttons, loading the machine with raw material, and unloading the final product. According to Davis, it’s not only easier, but requires fewer labor resources. Although the company’s roots are in cannabis, most of its business is in hemp. Last week, the company launched a new THC remediation system, the RMD-T Series, which has been under development for years. THC remediation is a common pain point for hemp-derived extract and product manufacturers. Basically, the CBD extract comes out “hot,” since it has concentrated THC. The new remediation system removes THC from hot CBD. And as more states join the ranks of those with legal cannabis, Entexs is preparing for expansion in both industries. The company will soon move into a new, larger facility about five miles down the road from its current location. With legalization comes more regulation, as well as a greater focus on quality, documentation, and creating a high-quality end product with full traceability — which Entexs has worked tirelessly to provide.