The technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, originally as a way of lining gas pipes to avoid clogging. However, the developers soon discovered that the technology also had an excellent lubricating function.
“This was first demonstrated in late 2012 on a Ketchup bottle that was lined with a specially developed version of the coating, allowing the product to flow faster and leaving considerably less in the bottle at the end,” said LiquiGlide’s president, Carsten Boers.
Potential for a range of consumer application, including cosmetics
Realizing the potential of the technology in a range of consumer product applications, including the cosmetics and personal code, Boers helped to establish the business with CEO Dave Smith and the team moved into the company offices in January of 2013.
“Since then we have worked hard with a number of clients to develop a range of coatings which are each tailor made to meet the requirements of different applications and formulations.
“For the cosmetics and personal care sector, we are working on a number of coatings for specific product applications and expect to see the first products to incorporate the technology on store shelves as early as the beginning of next year.”
A 'win-win' situation for consumers and manufacturers
From a consumer perspective Boers explained the common feedback that many people are frustrated about not being able to get the last drop of product out of the bottle, often having to resort to inconvenient methods that include cutting up the packaging.
According to research cited by Boers, typically between 17% and 20% of product formulation is left in the bottle at the end of use, if the consumer does not make any extra effort to remove the last drop.
But equally, from a manufacturer’s perspective, there is also a significant advantage in that the consumer tends to go through the product faster due to the quicker rate of dispense, leading to a higher rate of product turnover, Boers explains.
Greater flexibility for packaging design and reduced costs
“Likewise, it also gives manufacturers greater flexibility for packaging design, allowing for new shapes and forms to improve shelf appeal, while also allowing for the design of a simpler opening, which can ultimately save money,” Boers said.
“For these reasons we see this innovation as a win-win for both consumer and manufacturers.”
The cost to the manufacturer depends on the type application, as Boers stresses that each product has to be developed with a tailor-made coating to meet the specific requirements. Although each coating amounts to just a few pennies, the technology is sold as a licensing agreement, on a case-by-case basis.
So far the company has developed 22 clients in 7 countries, with key applications in the cosmetics and personal care arena including a range of lotions, shampoos and conditioners, nail polish and hair gels, while it is also developing a range of other applications, with a specific emphasis on color cosmetics.