Suppliers’ Day 2009 was “not just about ingredient efficacy,” as Doug De Blasi of Biosil told C&T magazine, it was “also about efficiency—especially now.” Tools to formulate surprising sensory effects and calculate the biorenewable carbon index in formulas, as well as how-to webinars and graduated pigment color cards were among approaches suppliers took to assist product formulators with finding efficiencies while formulating with their technologies.
Creating tools for formulators is not new; however, the greater focus by suppliers on doing so is noteworthy. In 2008, for instance, Lubrizol/Noveon introduced its SensiMap formulating concept to simplify the process of optimizing sensory properties in emulsion systems. The visual tool assists formulators in selecting the right combination of cross-linked acrylic rheology modifiers and emollient esters to match the desired formulation aesthetic profile. For instance, a formula can be tailored to have a light feel upon application and after rub-out, impart a heavier, moisture-rich sensation—or vice-versa. More recently, the company launched an online version of this tool, which formulators can register at no cost to interact with and find the appropriate products to match the desired end effects.
Stepan's Biorenewable Carbon Index (BCI) was introduced to provide a means for formulators to categorize the company’s products while formulating eco-friendly product lines or "greening" formulations. The BCI is a single value based on the percent of carbon derived from biorenewable resources. Biorenewable, as defined by the company, refers to a material as being from animal, plant or marine origin. The BCI value is based on the number of biorenewable carbons divided by the total number of carbons in an idealized molecule. The guide and accompanying workbook are accessible online with a free registration and present the company’s ingredients by BCI, trade name in alphabetical order, and by chemistry class. A glossary and several formulations also are included.
Following this move to digital trend, HallStar launched its StarNet media network showcasing webinars to teach formulators how to use its various products. Topics range from the introduction of polymer additives and improving product performance, to using the company’s singlet and triplet photo-stabilizers to improve sun formulations. In addition, the group has started a Twitter account to provide formulators with live updates of new launches as well as news from exhibitions.
Getting more hands-on for color product formulators, BASF introduced a pigment color card demonstrating the effects of its new pigment across a spectrum of skin tones. According to the company, while traditional color cards tend to showcase pigments in light and dark applications only, this tool is different in that it spans a spectrum of skin tones to give a formulators a realistic sense of the pigment’s effects. The new pigment showcased is based on TiO2-coated synthetic mica that imparts a clean, white color due to its transparent substrate and allows bold, sparkling color effects across the range of skin tones.
These tools are just a sampling of the creative thought occurring within technology providers not only to invent new technologies, but also to get creative in helping formulators to implement their solutions. As the world struggles with a tough economic environment, necessity will no doubt play a the “mother” role for invention.
-Rachel Grabenhofer, C&T magazine