“We designed this system to help cannabis growers achieve GMP standards”

“With legalization progressing in the US, it can be expected that the quality standards of cannabis will become much higher because of the increased competition. Therefore, we created a system that helps growers to achieve high quality standards much easier,” says Alvis Ma, one of the founders of Growspec. The company provides a wide variety of solutions for indoor farming, from grow lights to vertical grow systems. “Especially for cannabis growers, our GrowPod is a beneficial solution. The container farm ensures efficiency, cost reduction, and sets the grower up for achieving the highest quality possible.”

Efficient building
While the system may be originally designed for cannabis cultivation, it can be used for many other crops. “In the Middle East, for example, people can use it to grow vegetables, who don’t originally have the proper climate to do so.” However, cannabis growers were Growspec’s main target audience in mind. “If someone decides to build a cannabis facility, this is a long and intensive process to go through. From the designing to the MEP and the licensing process; everything together takes years. Having a pre-fabricated, moveable pod is much more efficient. It takes only 6 days and 4 people to build and is completely installed,” says Ma.

Achieving high standards
With more and more legalizations occurring throughout the US, the quality of cannabis is becoming a more important factor than ever. “More and more big companies will be entering into the industry, meaning that prices will drop and the standard of the flowers will become much higher. Our GrowPod is designed to meet the requirements of GMP quality. GMP has two aspects: the facility/environment, and the process of management. If the facility is taken care of, the grower only has to focus on the last aspect.”

The first aspect of the system that makes it easier to achieve high quality standards, is the aeroponics system that is used, Ma explains. “Growing in coco coir brings along difficulties when aiming to achieve the standard. That is because there is higher risk for fungus or pesticides inside the medium, so it’s much more difficult to produce in a completely clean manner. We even have a sterilization system inside to ensure that everything remains clean. In addition, the plant roots get misted directly with a nutrient-dense solution that coats the roots every 3-5 minutes, ensuring that the plants are as healthy as possible. Concerning the irrigation, a circulated system is used, where the water is filtered before being reused.”

Clean in Place (CIP)
“As cultivators of consumable plants, growers understand the importance of maintaining a hygienic process environment to ensure the highest quality and purity for the plants. Therefore, GrowSpec’s aeroponic system is designed to meet the high requirements of good manufacturing process (GMP) in a simple manner,” Ma explains. Before cultivation or each harvest, the grower just has to fill the reservoir with cleaning, rinsing and sanitizing solutions. Once the timer is set to work under ‘manual’ model, the Fertigator will finish the rinse/caustic wash and sanitizing process automatically. “These steps will keep the cultivation systems free of bacteria. Cleaning occurs in all pipes, nozzles, buckets, water fits and solution reservoirs.”

Constant control
In addition to the hardware, Growspec also provides a software called iGrowMaster. “You can use a simple mobile app to control everything inside. You can set up a climate strategy, change aspects concerning the irrigation or lighting. You could easily set up different nutrient formulas for different stages of grow. With a camera being included, you can see everything from your cellphone without even having to go inside. The grower creates an artificial environment that can be consistently controlled and programmed by software.”

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