Lipstick is by far the most popular cosmetic product with over 800 million tubes sold every year globally … and sales are resilient even during times of recession.
Fighting for a slice of such a large market draws huge investment in developing the latest lipstick formula to create the next ‘on-trend’ look, all backed up by eye-watering marketing budgets to promote the brand. Getting that moulded bullet crayon of oil wax to the lips is the job of the humble lipstick tube … not a task to be underestimated.
As the first thing to attract attention on the shelf, this primary packaging must have not only an appealing design which carries brand identity, but it must feel good in the hand and be simple and convenient to use. If it’s not satisfactory the lipstick tube will be rejected at the retail level and, since the retailer and manufacturer are often not the same, quality problems at the consumer level have a major impact on the manufacturer.
Testing the mechanical performance of the lipstick tube is a crucial part of the quality-control process for cosmetics manufacturers. Leading players in the cosmetics industry have come to rely on Mecmesin’s range of affordable force and torque testers to carry out checks on batches of lipsticks produced.
The tension force to pull-off the cap, which protects the lipstick inside the tube, needs to be sufficiently high to stop it accidently falling off in the handbag but not too tight to need both hands to remove it. A compact, bench-top tensile tester is easy to use by production staff and QC operators. It captures the peak tension force to remove the cap and compares it to pre-set tolerances to instantly alert users if the sample passes or fails, so that corrective action can be taken before expensive production runs are completed.
Since lipstick tubes come in many different geometries from the classic cone-shape through to square-shapes designed to reach the corners of the lips, it is important that any tester has the right gripping fixtures to hold them securely without slipping.
Once you have removed the cap, the tube needs to engage positively and propel the lipstick bullet in a smooth sliding motion, so you have just enough lipstick to coat the lips without revealing too much and risk snapping it off during application.
Available in a variety of acrylic resins and plastics, the lipstick applicator comprises an outer-layer sheath with a middle-layer spiral tube in which a grooved cup, containing the bullet, is positioned. When the rotary base is turned it raises and lowers the cup to control the helical movement of the lipstick bullet.
Testing the torque characteristics of the lipstick tube is a key quality-control check performed by leading manufacturers using Mecmesin’s semi-automated torque tester, Vortex-i. The tester is pre-programmed to twist until the barrel turns through a number of revolutions and the reverses back to the closed position. The curve of torque vs angle is plotted and 2 distinct calculations are performed. ‘Max torque’ (in N.mm) to initiate movement when opening and closing plus ‘average torque’ during the opening and closing phases.
Since the torque values involved are extremely low it is important that no extraneous forces are applied when gripping the lipstick tubes. Dedicated fixtures from Mecmesin ensure that measurements are repeatable whilst being versatile to exchange for differing geometries of lipstick tubes.
- MultiTest-dV Tensile Tester
- Accessories to grip the tube and protective cap
- Vortex software-controlled Torque Tester
- Custom fixtures to hold the tube and rotate the inner barrel
Top-load crush of plastic bottle with semi-automated test process
To guarantee their containers would perform as expected along customer production lines and remain intact during transportation and storage, US company, Silgan Plastics wanted to undertake top-load tests according to internal, customer and Supplier Packaging Information (SPI) standards.
Dispensing pump assembly testing
Mecmesin's customer manufactures a range of dispensing pumps for the cosmetic and beauty-care industry. A requirement was identified to measure the actuation force of the pump assembly and the pull-off force of the pump handle. The VersaTest motorised test stand was chosen as it gave the necessary repeatability and consistency independent of operator, which a manual stand could not.
Retort packaging 90 degree peel and lid strength testing
The food packaging industry has long had concerns about pinholes, flex cracks and leaks in the flexible materials and seals of retort flexible lidded packaging. A famous global food and drink maker needed to test the laminated retort (and other thin film) packaging solutions that protect products such as their popular microwaveable stir-in pots.
Nail varnish bottle closure removal torque and capping check
Barry M Cosmetics Ltd is a leading British colour cosmetics brand, offering a comprehensive range of products for face, eyes, lips and nails. The company required a quick, reliable and repeatable test method to check the capping equipment of their nail paint range. Mecmesin supplied a Tornado digital torque tester of 3 N.m capacity, which is a complete, portable, benchtop instrument.
Cosmetic packaging pull-off test
A bench-top testing system was required to repeatably test the pull-off force on a variety of cosmetic containers. The system needed to allow a relatively high volume of containers to be tested with the minimum level of training required for users. Mecmesin's solution avoided the risk of damaging the loadcell by excessive torque on tightening the collet grip, and the lipstick barrel was first inserted in the grip and then connected to the gauge by a flexible chain-link.
Coefficient of friction test
A print factory needed to test the packaging material they were using in order to improve their processes and establish optimum machinery settings. The company sought a solution, which provided consistent results and reliable performance. Mecmesin advised the company to use a coefficient of friction test to determine the 'slip' properties of the packaging.
Closure torque tester validation check
The customer had a number of Tornado closure torque testers, and wished to carry out regular validation checks without the need to return the units to either Mecmesin or an approved laboratory. The closure tester was securely mounted in the vertical plane and a load beam was placed centrally in the universal-clamping fixture.
Cap application removal force
A system was required to measure the push-on force and removal force of an injection-moulded cap from a new design of oil can. Mecmsin's test was set-up by sliding a can into the lower fixture, while locating a cap, resting on the can's neck, into the self-centering swivel fixture attached to the gauge.
Aluminium tube seals
One of the largest packaging tube suppliers in Central Europe specialises in laminated plastic and aluminium tube containers for the cosmetics industry. Mecmesin supplied a MultiTest 2.5-i test stand with a specially-constructed sample holder. Working in collaboration with Mecmesin engineers, a series of collars were made, into which the various tube samples are screwed.
Aluminium cap break-off force
A major global supplier of medical gas devices and components required quality control tests to assess part of a new product. One of their components, a 5ml pressurised aluminium cylinder filled with helium gas, is incorporated into a needle-free powder intradermal analgesic injection system for children.
Beer bottles and cans benefit Mecmesin's torque and top-load testing
A leading European brewing company, part of a global group, produces economy brands in plastic (PET), as well as glass bottles. The PET bottles must be quality-tested for top-load crush strength, and the caps for both unscrewing and release of the tamper-evident ring. Many tests must be done each day on the production line to ensure consistent compliance against internal quality standards.
Ice cream container lid closing effort
Food packaging made from thermoformed plastics and intended for freezing, requires testing to ensure optimum functionality when closing and sealing the container. The closing effort of the lid is measured by using a motorised force tester controlled by software together with a custom-designed fixture to hold standard-sized ice cream tubs. In addition the ‘top-load’ crush strength of the container itself can also be tested on the same machine to guarantee it is rigid enough to avoid buckling and spillage when the lid is applied.
What force is required to remove a DVD from its box?
A leading supplier of boxed DVD’s had experienced a wide variation in the amount of force required to remove the DVD from the central spigot of the case. In extreme cases, this resulted in damage to the actual disc. A 1000 N capacity MultiTest-i computer-controlled test system was provided by Mecmesin to measure the release force.
Mecmesin develops Combi Cork-i Extraction Tester for leading Scottish whisky
To improve the quality and storage of a premium product, the R&D team at a leading Scottish whisky maker needed to optimise the design of their bottle stoppers. They decided that the strength and performance of their reusable stoppers could be ensured by systematic testing of the characteristics of both portions of the stoppers. Working closely with the R&D team, Mecmesin developed the Combi Cork-i Extraction Tester, an innovative multi-function cork extraction testing system that tests both phases of de-corking synchronously.
Medical Pouch Heat Seal Tensile Test
Rocket Medical PLC are award winning designers and manufacturers of medical devices for a wide range of clinical applications. These medical devices are packed into pre-purchased pouches and sealed in-house before being sent off-site for sterilisation. The heat seal on these pouches must conform to British Standard BS EN 868-5:1999 (Packaging materials and systems for medical devices which are to be sterilised).
ISBT sports closure rotational test simulates biting or pulling on the spout
The rotational force needed to remove the closure spout from a sports cap body is measured using the Steinfurth Rotation Tester for Sport Closures mounted on a Mecmesin tensile tester. This ISBT test simulates a person biting or pulling on the spout when attached to a PET preform and requires specific tensile test equipment to meet the standard.
Greek beauty product manufacturer guarantees production quality by updating to Mecmesin's digital torque testers
A manufacturer of a wide range of skin, hair-care, make-up and sun-care products based in Greece needed to replace their outdated torque testers with up-to-date digital torque testers to guarantee production quality and to ensure their products remained sealed. Mecmesin supplied the company with two Tornado 10N.m digital torque testers, which have the ability to test tamper-evident closures, an intrinsic part of their specification.
Mecmesin Bottle Cap Torque Tester ensures quality for Brothers Drinks
Mecmesin provided Brothers Drinks with a demonstration model of the Tornado digital torque tester, which allowed the quality assurance team to get hands-on experience with the testing process and make a confident selection. The Tornado’s accurate digital readings provided increased confidence in the torque value measurements.
Major European tube supplier turns to Mecmesin to seal quality consumer experience
One of the largest packaging tube suppliers in Central Europe specialises in laminated plastic and aluminium tube containers for the cosmetics industry. The strength of the seal must keep it secure from bursting, whilst being easily opened by hand using the cap. The company required a means of testing seals against their own quality standards, imitating the consumer’s means of opening.
Mecmesin performs compression test on tamper-evident ring for beverage industry manufacturer
As the tamper-evident closures are fitted onto bottles using a compressive action, this test would provide the company with valuable information relating to the correct application of force throughout production.
Mecmesin imparts PET beer bottle tests
A leading European brewing company, part of a global group, produces economy brands in PET, as well as glass bottles. Mecmesin supplied two test stands: A Vortex-d for torque testing the caps, and a computer-driven MultiTest 5-xt is used for the top-load crush test of the plastic bottles.
End float test of inhaler cap
Custom test fixture to measure medical device cap displacement at a specified load. The customer wished to apply a 3N load in both tension and compression to the cap of a new design of inhaler. Any resultant displacement from the nominal position then had to be measured.
Elongation Test of Infusion Solution Bag
Fresenius Kabi, global manufacturer of pharmaceutical products and delivery systems for infusion therapies and clinical nutrition, needed to ascertain the elongation capacity of a polyolefin film used in the manufacture of an infusion solution container. The customer could not find a test stand on the market with sufficient crosshead travel to effect the required elongation of the material.
Case study: Mecmesin's packaging tension test
Graphic Packaging International is a leading designer and manufacturer of food and beverage packaging. The company needed to perform integrity checks on beverage basket carriers and cardboard box packaging to optimise production line efficiency and maintain consistent standards of packaging quality.
Flexible packaging welded seal strength
Plastic packaging tube seal strength test: As a global brand, manufacturing products for the cosmetics, domestic, healthcare and food industries, it is vital for Reckitt Benckiser, formerly SSL International, to undertake measures to critically assess and guarantee product quality. This also includes the packaging involved in the production and long-term integrity of the product.
Mecmesin provides rotating vacuum peel system for McVities, UK
Testing was required for a range of flexible plastic trays of the same dimension but with differing forms, containing biscuits and confectionary. As the plastic trays were too flexible to be held by a mechanical grip, so a 'rotating vacuum fixture' was developed and to accept the different forms of plastic trays, a range of dedicated inserts were supplied with the vacuum fixture.
Oeneo Bouchage's Champagne cork extraction test is simplified by Mecmesin
The partnership between the technical and research teams from Mecmesin and Oeneo Bouchage helped to develop the Combi Cork Extraction Tester, specially designed in order to test sparkling wine corks. The Combi Cork Tester provides mechanical accuracy and is used to optimise extraction force measurement with three principal advantages.
- Jo Webb
- Product Info
- Created 20 Jan 2020
- Modified 28 Jan 2020
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