Vibrations, compression forces, falls… The journey that cosmetic products take from the moment they leave the supplier’s plant until they reach the final customer contains multiple threats. Trials for cosmetic products represent the main protective barrier against these risks of the distribution cycle. However, only through a test protocol for cosmetic products is it possible to guarantee that the packaging is adequate for each product and each distribution cycle.
The importance of cosmetic tests to guarantee the integrity of your products
Cosmetics is a global and growing industry, valued at $380.2 billion in 2019 and forecast to reach $463.5 billion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research.
However, it is a moment of profound transformations and challenges for the industry:
In the way customers consume, with the irruption of eCommerce and the new sensitivities regarding product components and their packaging. The consumer increasingly demands more eco-friendly products that respect the environment.
From a logistical point of view, cosmetics are high turnover products at points of sale: a small volume is required but with high regularity. Therefore, the most common shipping format is the “less-than-truckload” mode. Due to this, the number of times the product is handled is multiplied and therefore the chances of damage to it.
To solve this situation, the merchandise is organized in palletized load units and wrapped using stretch film.
Through the appropriate test protocols for cosmetic products, these problems can be turned into opportunities thanks to the optimization of packaging.
1. Cargo security
The test methods for the validation of the packaging allow companies to verify that the chosen packaging offers the appropriate protection, either at a primary and/or secondary level, protecting the product itself, or at a tertiary level, protecting the grouping of several products during its use. distribution.
It is estimated that 25% of accidents in the transport of goods by road are caused by poor cargo securing. This is caused by a bad choice of tertiary packaging, such as stretch film, or a bad use of it, which causes the load to slip, deform or overturn.
For this reason, an optimized distribution packaging contributes in turn to improving the stability of the load during transport, reducing the risk of accidents and avoiding sanctions for non-compliance with current regulations.
Transport simulation protocols such as the tilt test or the horizontal acceleration tests allow companies to test and validate their cargo before sending it to the distribution cycle and avoid these contingencies.
2. Optimize costs
Optimized packaging also affects the costs of the company, since::
It allows to avoid the damages and losses in the product caused by the choice of inappropriate packaging or a bad securing of the load. As a consequence of the optimization of the packaging, the merchandise is well protected to resist the dangers of handling and transport, therefore the costs due to the loss of damaged products are reduced.
Facilitates the choice of materials. In the case of tests for cosmetic products, these allow choosing the most suitable materials for the containers and packaging for the product and consistent with the values of the company. In addition, they allow testing of new, more ecological and recyclable materials in response to consumer demands. Regarding tertiary packaging, transport simulation tests allow selecting the appropriate stretch film and the configuration of the optimal unit load, reducing the cost of materials caused mainly by overpackaging. In addition, the optimization of the packaging makes it possible to create more efficient load units (UCE) and lighten its weight, which lowers the cost of transport.
3. Comply with regulations
Test methods such as the EUMOS 40509:2020 standard are included in Directive 2014/47/EU, whose objective is to guarantee safe transport on the roads of European territory.
The standard includes the test method and the necessary equipment to simulate the inertia suffered during road transport due to changes in direction, curves and braking, with the aim of measuring the deformation of the load and subsequently optimizing it. As a result, we obtain a stable and safe load, capable of resisting transport risks and therefore reducing the risk of road accidents.
4. More sustainable solutions
Today’s consumers demand a commitment to sustainability from the cosmetics industry, with testing for cosmetic products being the most visible part of this commitment.
It is estimated that more than 120,000 test units for cosmetic products are produced globally each year, according to Zero Waste Week. Faced with this, eco-friendly alternatives allow companies to use more sustainable materials in the design of their packaging, allowing their recycling or reuse.
Testing for cosmetic products plays an essential role at this point, helping companies to make decisions in the design phase regarding materials and allowing them to later validate their designs before launching the product on the market.
Tests for cosmetic products: success story of a company in the sector
We analyze the procedure of a series of tests for cosmetic products with a real example. A multinational from the cosmetic sector contacted Safe Load Testing Technologies with the intention of optimizing its packaging and meeting the following objectives:
- Improve your business results
- Follow your own quality policies
- Minimize the environmental impact of your products
- Optimize your packaging costs
- Comply with Directive 2014/47/EU for road transport in European territory
After knowing the needs and objectives of the company, the first step was to analyze the configuration of its packaging:
- The primary packaging consisted of a 600 ml plastic bottle containing gel.
- The secondary packaging was a cardboard box with six of the bottles inside.
- The tertiary packaging was a unit load palletized and wrapped using stretch film.
Subsequently, to develop the tests for cosmetic products suitable for the company, a work methodology was developed that consisted of characterizing the distribution cycle of its products, defining the test protocols and carrying out a study on tertiary packaging to evaluate the stability of load.
1. Characterization of the distribution cycle
At Safe Load Testing Technologies we study the company’s distribution cycle to design an ad hoc testing protocol. We discovered that it was a complex cycle, in which mechanical and manual handling processes took place, as well as road and rail transport.
Using data recorder equipment, all 3-axis vibrations, blows and falls that occurred during handling and transport were recorded. All the information recorded on a micro SD card was analyzed and processed with the DR Software, generating a PSD ready to be used in the different simulation solutions.
Thanks to the characterization of the distribution cycle, a test protocol was designed to evaluate the behavior of the load against these hazards. In turn, with this information, a tertiary packaging and an alternative load configuration were designed with the aim of carrying out a comparative study with both samples.
2. Wrapping sequence
The study of the wrapping sequence was a determining step to achieve 3 of the company’s objectives:
The primary objective is to increase the stiffness to support the needs according to the study.
Secondary reduce environmental impact
Tertiary comply with the royal decree
For this, the sequence of the packaging of the load carried out by the cosmetic multinational, in its facilities, with its own packaging machine, was analyzed.
The results showed the stretch film wraps at each of the unit load levels, the residual thickness of the pallet calculated after wrapping, and the stretch film consumption measured by weight per palletized load.
3. Definition and execution of validation test procedures
All the above information was studied and analyzed until a customized validation test protocol was defined.
The test protocol consisted of subjecting the load to compression, impact and vibration forces through the following transport simulation tests.
Horizontal impact tests
To determine the resistance of the packaging against sudden and abrupt impacts, typical of the transport and handling of loads, a horizontal impact test was carried out in both orientations, according to the UNE EN ISO 2244:3 standard.
The test was carried out with the Horizontal Impact Machine designed by Safe Load TT, which allows to control the impacts to analyze the behavior of the load
The test protocol included subjecting the load unit to compression forces to assess the resistance of the packaging to mechanical manipulation. Through the use of a Compressometer, the “press and release” test (ASTM D642) was carried out to measure the BCT of the boxes and the unit load creep (creep) was also characterized to determine the deformation produced during storage.
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The test protocol continued with a rotational drop test in accordance with the UNE EN 14149:04 standard.
For this, the largest model of the Drop Machine was used, which allows simulating rotational impacts on packages or loads of greater weight and size.
Multi-axis vibration tests
It continued with a multi-axis test according to the PSD measured with the DR2. Complex test test by which the sample is attacked by more than one axis, achieving results that are more faithful to reality. To do this, we use our Vertical Vibration + Pitch & Roll system, capable of simulating vertical vibrations plus rocking and pitching movements present mainly in land and sea transport.
And it ended with an acceleration stability test. The design acceleration requirements in the procedure of this cosmetic multinational were carried out in accordance with the EU2014 / 47 regulation, but in this study it is used as a comparison criterion.
The acceleration test was carried out with the Horizontal Stability Machine.
Results and conclusions
At the end of the testing procedure, the samples showed damage as if they had been subjected to an actual distribution cycle. Under these conditions, it is the right time to evaluate the different packages proposed by comparing their stability.
From this study it was concluded that:
- The current wrapping machine of the multinational was not capable of controlling the pre-stretching of the film or the tension of the film.
- The elastic wrap did not comply with the acceleration levels of Directive 2014/47
- The loads were not secure
Therefore, it is proposed to the client to modify the rigid casing to achieve the appropriate acceleration levels to comply with the standard. 4 alternatives are proposed with different wrapping configurations and different film thicknesses, which are subjected to several stability tests, both in the longitudinal orientation of the load and in the transversal one, using different accelerations: from 0.2g to 0.8g for longitudinal measurements and 0.2g to 0.5g for cross-sectional tests.
Once the results have been analyzed and compared with the original configuration, it is observed that all the alternatives increase the safety of the unit load in transport.
It is also observed that with three of the proposed alternatives waste is reduced between 80% and 70% and that this allows savings of more than €500,000 in 5 years.
Therefore, the results of this testing process for cosmetic products met the objectives set, achieving safer unit loads with an optimal packaging system.
In addition, by optimizing the stretch film, it was possible to reduce the weight of the tertiary packaging and its cost. The stability of the charging unit was improved, complying with Directive 2014/47/EU.
All of this translated into an annual saving of €113,000, together with the achievement of a more sustainable and safe packaging solution.
If you are looking to optimize your cosmetic packaging solutions, at Safe Load Testing Technologies we can help you. Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how transportation simulation solutions can help you create a cosmetic packaging testing protocol that’s right for your products and your distribution cycle.