By Eric Peterson | Mar 30, 2021
Ultrasonic liquid processors and nanostabilizer formulations
"We are a research and development company mainly focusing on making it possible to mix substances that otherwise don't like to mix," says Peshkovsky. "A good example is oil and water. As everyone knows, oils don't dissolve in water and separate no matter how much you try to stir them together."
Industrial Sonomechanics (ISM) makes equipment that can mix such liquids using the power of ultrasound. The company's patented Barbell Horn Ultrasonic Technology "is our core intellectual property," says Peshkovsky. "We offer high-intensity ultrasonic processors and nanostabilizer formulations that together make it possible to disperse oils in water in the form of nanometer-sized droplets," says Peshkovsky. The resulting nanoemulsions "approximate true solutions of oil and water in most ways that matter. Technically speaking, it's not a true solution but it behaves as it were."
It's all about bioavailability: Peshkovsky says preliminary results from studies of ultrasound-processed therapeutics found THC bioavailability increased by about 400 to 600 percent, depending on the droplet size.
"The technology is scalable, and it makes it possible for our clients to produce so-called water-soluble THC, CBD, and other bioactives in both liquid or powder form," he says. "When you make them water-compatible, they become very bioavailable. They start to behave more like alcohol does -- much quicker-acting, more bioavailable, and they can be easily infused into anything that has water."
The ISM catalog includes: the LSP-600 Laboratory-Scale Processor (starting at about $10,000) for light production; the commercial-level BSP-1200 Bench-Scale Processor (running $20,000 to $25,000), and the ISP-3000 Industrial-Scale Processor (about $40,000).
The LSP-600 can process about 5,000 10-milligram doses of THC or CBD per hour, the BSP-1200 can make 25,000 doses an hour, and the ISP-3000 is capable of more than 100,000 doses an hour.
ISM designs and manufactures its equipment with the help of a few vendors. "We design everything ourselves, and some of the things are outsourced," says Peshkovsky. "Most things we do in-house." The company is registered with the Food and Drug Administration and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for hemp and food manufacturing.
Beyond its line of ultrasonic processors, the company also supplies customers with all-in-one NanoStabilizer LT as well as offering contract manufacturing services in recent months. "We don't have the license to work with THC, but CBD or anything else is not a problem," says Peshkovsky. "We can enable others or we can do it ourselves."
Industrial Sonomechanics first targeted the pharmaceutical industry before finding a fertile market in cannabis and hemp circa 2017. Cannabis and hemp companies now represent about 80 percent of orders.
Annual growth was 100 percent or more for seven years running, until the streak ended in 2020. "During COVID, it's weird. Everything is up and down and you get these erratic sales," says Peshkovsky. "It's hard to draw any conclusions right now, but I think it's coming back."
Challenges: "A general slowdown," says Peshkovsky. "It's not specifically our challenge -- it's a challenge for everybody."
Banking is another thorny issue. "We don't really have that problem, but if we grow into more finished production including cannabis, I would anticipate there's going to be something there to worry about," he adds.
Opportunities: Peshkovsky sees an opportunity to offer contract manufacturing. "Now, it's about three quarters equipment and a quarter manufacturing, but it's growing so I expect it will be about the same eventually," says Peshkovsky.
There are the non-cannabis applications for ISM's technology -- mixing fuels, adhesives, paints, and other liquids. "Our ultrasonic processors are good for those industries as well," says Peshkovsky.
Technology that is in ISM's "R&D pipeline right now" could also be used for extraction of hemp, cannabis, and other plants "with water instead of solvents," he adds. "It's very beneficial, because solvents are expensive, they're dangerous, they're flammable, and they require all kinds of safety-in-the-workplace implementations."
Needs: Federal cannabis reform, as prohibition makes research difficult. "We are a very scientifically-intensive company," says Peshkovsky. "It's difficult to study cannabis. . . . The ability to study things would be great."