When a product launches it often heralds the start of a new marketing campaign. It is also the end of a long process of research, development and testing. The team of NCH chemists, technicians and testers use expertise from across the business to create products that go further than the competition.
The NCH Head Start
Prior to launch, Storm1 had been through an 18-month development process. The aim of that process was to create an enhanced product that improved results and lowered customer costs.
To do this, takes not just the expertise of the Parts Cleaning team, but knowledge and expertise from across the company.
NCH are a leader in water-based technologies for parts cleaning, but our knowledge and customer feedback is not limited to this one area. Our chemists and technicians work across multiple parts of the business. For example, feedback from lubricant customers can be fed into the Parts Cleaning research and development process.
Incorporating these different strands of information creates products that maximise performance and prolong service life while reducing waste and user downtime.
Requests and Research
The R&D process begins with a request from the leader of one of NCH’s platforms. These requests can come in several forms. New products that address the needs of customers come through regularly, but improvements or upgrades to products are also a common request. The impetus to improve a product can come from customer feedback as well as new regulations that mandate formulation changes.
Once received, the technical team will assess the request to understand what is required of the new product.
When there have been regulatory changes, where a formulation needs updating, the team will look for alternative components. This requires in-depth knowledge of the chemistry involved as well as the prevailing health and safety considerations, particularly those that can arise when products are combined in real world situations.
When a new product is required, the NCH chemists will undertake a process of determining what a product’s formulation could look like. From there, a process of revision and improvement is undertaken before the testing process begins for several candidate formulations.
These initial processes exemplify what makes NCH an industry leader. As a company founded on chemistry, with a dedicated team of chemists, we have an agility to create and adapt products that is hard to replicate.
With new products, multiple formulations are trialled in parallel and results compared. This result data is then fed back into the development process. While analysing test results, NCH chemists have access to data from previous testing rounds for other products across all platforms. This historic information, combined with the knowledge of the chemists involved, helps to continually create advanced products with improved performance.
The process of lab testing is, understandably, a significant one. Beyond the core testing that addresses the “does the formulation do what the customer needs?” question, other tests are conducted.
Consistency testing reflects a core part of the scientific process, rigour. Does the formulation do what it should repeatedly, to the same quality, every time? Product performance is only as good as the worst result the product returns. Because if you say a product does something, it should do at least that for every customer, every time it is used. Fine tuning a product so that it returns consistently excellent results gives customers a consistent experience and peace of mind.
Safety testing is vital. Across Europe, and beyond, many chemical substances are being reclassified into more severe categories. Where possible we aim to use the least hazardous materials to protect the user and the environment, while still delivering consistent performance.
Our chemists also work closely with the marketing team to ensure that the correct safety notices, usage instructions and precautionary information are included in all product labelling.
Out in the Field
Once formulations are created and tested thoroughly in a laboratory setting, the next step is to test performance in the world outside the lab.
When we carry out field testing, it’s done in partnership with customers at their facilities alongside tests at NCH sites across Europe.
When we work with customers to test new formulations this provides valuable data. These are not real-world approximations; they are the real world. What we learn from that process feeds back into every other process we’ve undertaken up to that point. Does the formulation perform consistently, is it safe in use, what affect do storage temperatures have?
Dependent on the product, NCH chemists also design real world testing methods and equipment that mimic real life situations.
The results of this three-tiered field-testing approach either leads into further product development or on to production approval. At which point the marketing processes can begin.
Success Through Science
NCH is a chemistry company. Our starting point for what we do is at the molecular level. From there we pull in information and experience from our team of 40+ chemists. We factor in historic experiment data and customer feedback for products across all our platforms because the more information we have when tackling a problem, the more solutions we can try, and the more effective those solutions can be for you.
The development and improvement of Storm1 took 18 months, but the results of that process are a substantial improvement in product results. By incorporating the expertise available across the company (from developing lubricants, greases, metalworking fluids, etc.) Storm1 not only became more effective, but also drives efficiency improvements. The majority of customers now only need to change their fluids once a year. By providing consistently high results, over longer periods of time, businesses save money compared to more inefficient cleaning processes.
We put the time and the effort into creating a product that saves you time and effort.
Contact us today to find out more about Storm1