NEWS > 29 February 2024

Ideas to Innovation: The machines behind the makeup by Deanna Utroske

Machinery transforms ingredients into products. It fills and caps the packaging, applies labels, cartons bottles and jars and tubes, and palletizes all that neatly packaged product for transport. Machines safeguard product purity, run quality assurance checks, and assess product integrity. They lower costs and increase output. Machinery improves the efficiencyaccuracy, and scalability of production. Without sophisticated machinery, the cosmetics and personal care industry as we know it simply would not be possible.

And when beauty makers are looking for the best and newest in laboratory and manufacturing machinery, they look to Cosmopack.

The supply side trade show, co-located within Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna, is also a destination for anyone looking to discover the best and newest in raw materials and ingredientscontract manufacturinglabeling solutionsbrushes and applicatorspackaging, bags, totes, accessories, etc. But this article is all about machines!

image 2 Ideas to Innovation: The machines behind the makeup by Deanna Utroske

A PREVIEW OF THE MACHINERY ON DISPLAY AT COSMOPACK 2024

To get a glimpse of what we can all see at Cosmopack this year, I checked in with a few exhibitors about the machinery that they design, build, and service. Leaders from DMC srls, Marchesini Group Beauty, and PMR SYSTEM GROUP SRL all told me that they will be showing an array of novel and classical machinery solutions.

Denis Mancarella, Owner of DMC, and his team will be showcasing “the entire range of [DMC] machines,” which includes homogenizers, sachet machines, filling and capping machines, as well as both automatic and semi-automatic labeling machines. The company’s “filling lines and homogenizers are the most in-demand for beauty makers,” says Mancarella, who founded his Chioggia, Italy – based company in 2016.

Marchesini Group Beauty will be showing what that company describes as “state-of-the-art machines and lines for packaging cosmetic products,” including “not only flexible stand-alone solutions tailored to the market’s demands but also lines which can be customised to individual needs, and ground-breaking technologies that respond perfectly to the latest trends,” according to materials the company shared with me. They will have some 20 machines on display.

One example of the ground-breaking tech that Marchesini Group Beauty will be showing at Cosmopack “is the lipstick machine with SEA Vision's innovative a-eye lipstick system: the 360° lipstick inspection system, which recently won the Cosmoprof Asia Awards, is the world's first system for automatic quality control of lipsticks in production, based on AI technology, automating the process of qualitative inspection previously largely entrusted to manual human control.”

Omar Flavio Rubino, CEO of PMR SYSTEM GROUP, shared this itemized list of his company’s exhibit, noting the team is bringing in machines “to exemplify the wide range offered by PMR.”

  • The filling and capping line for liquid, dense and semi-dense substances equipped with 2 dosing nozzles and a total brushless capper.

  • The new TTR roller capper, which produces more than 5,000 pieces per hour. The closing system consists of a double pair of rubberized discs, driven by brushless motor, which allows you to set rotation speed and closing system. The main data of each format can be stored in ‘recipes’, retrievable by the operator directly from the touch-screen, present on the machine.

  • This new solution is also modular and can therefore be perfectly integrated into an existing line or be coupled to PMR filling and labelling systems.

  • The M3005 and M3010 labelling lines have always been the flagship of PMR production. In particular, the M3010 industrial labelling machine is the absolute excellence in labelling systems for cosmetics: it allows [the application of] 2 labels at the same time, producing over 3,500 pieces per hour. The line, equipped with some accessories, is an excellent system for labelling containers of different shapes and sizes and allows the storage of up to 100 format changes. It is a user-friendly system, controlled by touch-screen panel and can be equipped with overprint systems for batch, expiring date and barcodes.

  • Different counter systems that allow filling, capping and labelling in a semi-automatic way; ideal for those [getting started with] the production of cosmetics, they offer good productivity, easy use and [a] small footprint.

AFTER-THE-SALE SERVICE AND ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

In the machinery sector, the sale is only the beginning of the supplier-customer relationship. As Denis Mancarella tells me, “The customer-user really appreciates having a single referent as supplier who can advise, support and follow him. DMC manufactures everything, precisely following this philosophy. You can buy the machines anywhere,” he says, “but it’s the after-sales service that makes the difference.” And Mancarella is confident that “DMC is the best in customer support, any time, any day. We always respond.”

DMC’s after-sale support includes specialized technical service, scheduled machine maintenance, and even maintenance on machines from other manufacturers. On top of that, the company will (upon request) manufacture machines with what’s called ‘industry 4.0 technology’. 4.0 tech can refer to any integration of intelligent digital technologies into manufacturing or other industrial processes. In the case of DMC, the company is building remote-access tools into its machinery, allowing for “remote assistance to provide greater security of presence and technological appeal. The concept is that from our office and at any time, we can connect and provide support, wherever the machines are in the world,” explains Mancarella.

PMR offers a similar tech-forward solution for operations. “Embracing the concept of Smart Factory,” CEO Omar Flavio Rubino, tells me that “PMR is committed to the realization of applications that allow our plants to dialogue through computer systems, for decentralization and collaboration between operating structures.” As he explains it, “the plants are equipped with PLC, remote-assistance, hardware and software that allow you to dialogue remotely with the machine and have different information available; it is also possible to integrate the plant data with the internal CRM.”

And Rubino sees service as one of the many advantages of in-house design and machine manufacturing: “Overall, the internal design and production of machinery represents a significant added value for customers, ensuring customization, quality, responsiveness, after-sales service and continuous innovation,” says Rubino. After-sales service to customers is more complete and timely because of company know-how and production, he tells me, noting that, “We can offer specialized technical assistance, spare parts and customized maintenance services to ensure the optimal operation of the machinery over time.”

Beyond conventional after-sale service, Marchesini Group Beauty also offers a line of rebuilt machinery—known as Rinova—for both their pharma and cosmetics customers. “Marchesini Group is investing to meet the paradigms of the circular economy,” says Pietro Cassani, CEO of Marchesini Group (Marchesini Group Beauty is a division of the larger Group, which happens to be celebrating 50 years of business in 2024). 

“The company created Rinova to give a new life to used original Marchesini Group machines and lines,” explains Cassani. “Through a remanufacturing process, the Group can provide customers with a more economically and environmentally advantageous solution, while ensuring the same quality and reliability specifications.”

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PARTNERSHIPS, ACQUISITIONS, AND CAPABILITIES EXPANSION

For machinery makers, equipment and technology partners can be a real value-add and enhance how they’re able to support their customer-users. 

For instance, “in addition to Marchesini Group machinery, the cosmetic division includes solutions from Italian proprietary brands that have joined the Group over the years: Axomatic, which produces process machines and fillers; Cosmatic, specializing in technologies for lipstick and lip balm production; Bolognese companies Dumek, specializing in process solutions, and V2 engineering, which produces a wide range of secondary packaging solutions. Finally, the division offers solutions by Rejves Machinery Srl, a brand specialized in the construction of filling and capping machines, and Vibrotech, a Tuscan company that produces feeding and orientation systems used in automated industrial processes,” according to Cassani.

The company also worked closely with SEA Vision (experts in vision, traceability, and business intelligence systems) on that AI-supported lipstick inspection system mentioned earlier in this article. The a-eye lipstick system “was developed to address a problem: the wide variety of characteristics that distinguish lipsticks (colors, finishes, shapes, formulations, and combinations) makes the inspection process complicated from the perspective of traditional artificial vision inspection systems.”  The solution from SEA Vision leverages a proprietary AI algorithm, using “innovative neural, pre-neural, and non-neural technologies…to achieve the ideal balance between quality and inspection efficiency during the production process.” The a-eye tech does not negatively impact product production timelines, and according to materials Marchesini Group Beauty shared with me, “represents a significant advancement in lipstick inspection, ensuring unprecedented precision in evaluating the quality of these products throughout the entire production process.”

PMR CEO Omar Flavio Rubino called my attention to the vision system technology his company uses, calling it “a crucial innovation in quality control and industrial automation. It works by using advanced cameras and sensors to capture visual images/data and process them through intelligent algorithms to detect and analyze specific details.”

“In labelling,” Rubino explains that, “vision system technology is used for several functions:

  • Alignment control: Machine vision can be used to verify that labels are correctly positioned and aligned on products. This helps to ensure a uniform and professional aesthetic appearance.

  • Print quality control: High resolution cameras can control the quality of label printing, detecting defects such as smudging, spots, or distortion of text and images.

  • Barcodes Verification: Vision systems can read and verify barcodes or QR codes on labels to make sure they are printed correctly and are readable by scanning devices.

  • Missing or Damaged Label Detection: Vision technology can identify missing or damaged labels on packaging, allowing immediate action to prevent packaging errors.

  • Classification and selection: In high-speed production environments, vision systems can classify products according to label characteristics, such as color, shape or size, facilitating the automatic selection and sorting process.

“Overall,” says Rubino, “the use of vision system technology in labeling not only improves process accuracy and efficiency, but also contributes to ensuring regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction through the provision of high-quality and well-presented products.”

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MORE THAN A POP-UP SHOWROOM FOR COSMETIC MACHINERY

Machinery makers I had the opportunity to interview for this article all told me that “attending Cosmopack is essential” (Pietro Cassani, CEO Marchesini Group), that it’s an opportunity to “bring the best of yourself and showing what you are capable of, giving security and certainty to the buyer” (Denis Mancarella, Owner DMC), that “trade fairs allow us to increase the visibility of our brand and promote our solutions to a qualified audience of industry professionals and potential customers” (Omar Flavio Rubino, CEO PMR).

But Cosmopack is more than that, as Rubino also points out, trade shows are a great place to learn from current customers and the larger industry marketplace: “the fairs,” he says, “offer us an ideal space to gather feedback and direct opinions from customers and industry operators. This feedback can be valuable in improving existing products, identifying new market opportunities, and adapting business strategy to the needs of the public.”

And trade shows like Cosmopack that support suppliers and attendees from around the world create a chance for companies “to explore new geographic markets and evaluate opportunities for international expansion,” adds Rubino.

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MACHINERY’S ROLE IN INTERNATIONAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY EXPANSION

As a cosmetics and personal care industry observer, I am always watching trends and activities across various sectors of beauty. And over the years, our global industry has been engaging with countries throughout the African continent in more meaningful ways.

This is true for some of our industry’s largest multinationals. Over 20 years ago now, the L’Oréal Group launched the African Hair & Skin Research Grant initiative, funding the work of scientists on the continent. And in 2013, the beauty maker notably expanded its own retail and manufacturing presence in Africa by acquiring the health and beauty business of Interconsumer Products, a sizable consumer products manufacturer based in Kenya. As part of that deal, L’Oréal picked up the Nice & Lovely brand as well as manufacturing capacity in Nairobi. A few years later, the corporation opened a “Research & Innovation Center [in Johannesburg, South Africa] to study African hair and skin specificities as well as the beauty routines and expectations of sub-Saharan consumers,” as reported in a L’Oréal Finance news item. 

Ingredients including shea butter (sourced from West African countries) and argan oil (sourced from Northern African countries) have become quite popular in the larger beauty marketplace. In a trend piece written late last year, Kauthar Jakoet, a Research Analyst with Euromonitor International, highlights the opportunities beauty makers have to use ingredients sourced on the continent to address consumer demand: “There are local and traditional ingredients and beauty regimes that remain important in the region, beauty products that embrace them will have an advantage over others that do not,” she writes, calling attention to Kui Care, “an emerging Kenyan brand that has a strong focus on formulating products specific to African hair. A key priority of the brand is utilizing natural ingredients such as tea tree oil and cinnamon, while at the same time celebrating African culture and heritage through the brand and packaging.”

Also for countless indie beauty brands in the US, Europe, and beyond, African heritage, care practices, and ingredients are fundamental. The luxury skincare brand Epara, founded by Ozohu Adoh in 2015, is a good example. This brand is headquartered in Bracknell, England (south west of London). “Epara, meaning ‘to cocoon oneself’ in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira, is an inclusive skincare brand that infuses the very best organic ingredients from the rich soils of Africa into products that nourish and protect, according to a brief brand description on Adoh’s LinkedIn profile.

New York City – based Karité Shea Butter is another such brand, producing hand, body, and lip care all formulated with shea sourced in partnership with women-run farming co-operatives in Ghana.

As for the machinery sector, Denis Mancarella “founded DENIS MANCARELLA AFRICA” over 5 years ago. The company’s offices on that continent are in Rabat, Morocco, and “specially dedicated to African countries to facilitate purchases, shipping and payments.” That a company such as DMC has a presence on the continent is only further evidence that the industry at large is putting support behind Africa’s growing beauty economy.

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SEE FOR YOURSELF

To be sure, machines support the entire beauty industry, making progress possible by facilitating formulation scale up, product production, filling and packaging and labeling, and so much more.

Whether you’re in the market for laboratory machines, table-top solutions, full-scale manufacturing machines, or simply curious about what these technologies can reveal about the future of beauty, you must visit Cosmopack (March 21 – 23).

Author: Deanna Utroske
In collaboration with:

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