There can be no more discerning customer than the female shopper, which is why product consistency is vital in the manufacture of beauty and healthcare products. Meeting this challenge can be a daunting task, especially as products become more complex in their structure.

Colour shading is particularly important, and batch ingredient quantities can vary from a few mg up to tens of kg. Adding too much or too little pigment can spoil a batch, leading to costly wastage.

In parallel there are strict regulations controlling the cosmetics industry, including the Council Directive 76/768/EEC, which lays down clear rules about substances that cannot be used in cosmetic manufacture. The independent GHS system (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) is also being implemented for the control of substances, products, mixtures and preparations considered hazardous to health in the workplace.

An example of how Marco’s Trac-IT system can be used to great effect in cosmetic manufacturing is illustrated by the company’s involvement with Coty. The two companies have enjoyed a long term relationship – the latest project includes an expansion of the Trac-IT system into the manufacturing department area at Coty’s facilities in Ashford, Kent. The plant produces the company’s lipsticks, mascaras, foundations, eyeliners and powders, so close control on the accuracy and consistency of colour is important.

The scope of supply includes the design and development of new software allowing Coty’s formulations to drive the collation process, as well as ATEX certified DataMaster terminals and RF bar code scanners for use in the designated hazardous areas.

Coty’s manufacturing process engineer Emilie Descorne and central weighing supervisor Martin Kelly outlined the benefits the new system will bring: “The initial installation has proved to be very effective and this latest expansion of Marco Trac-IT into the manufacturing area is a natural progression for our operation. We stock over 900 raw ingredients and in turn, each finished product is made up of between 20 and 40 different ingredients with batch sizes varying from 20 – 1000kg. The new system will provide essential benefits for us by providing increased electronic traceability for each and every production lot; preventing spoilt batches and codifying batch collation and manufacturing processes.”