Cognis presented its internal Innovation Award for the tenth year. The award recognizes the creative thinking and outstanding achievements of the four winning teams. All of them were responsible for exceptionally innovative and successful projects that improved the sustainability and performance of Cognis.
The Gold Award went to an interdisciplinary team from Germany for an autodish detergent additive of the Dehypon range, which was developed jointly with a key customer. The Silver Award was won by a Nutrition & Health team at the Illertissen site. They were responsible for launching a range of new spray-dried food ingredients serving the health, wellness and sustainability markets. The Bronze Award was given to a Laboratoires Sérobiologiques (LS) team in France for the product Pilinhib Veg. This complex active ingredient slows down the regrowth of hairs without the negative side-effects of conventional depilation products. Finally, the Special Category Award went to an interdisciplinary German team for the Material Efficiency Program (MEP), a systematic approach to quantifying and incentivizing improvements in specific raw material consumption at production plants.
Cognis CEO Antonio Trius presented the winners with their prizes at a gala ceremony. In his speech, he looked back at a decade of original ideas, and reflected on the significance of innovations for Cognis: “In total there were about 1,200 participants from about 20 nations – these are figures we can be very proud of. The success of the company is closely tied to its ability to keep innovating. Without new products and ideas, Cognis could not successfully move into new markets, or improve its processes to create a more successful and efficient organization. Today we can honestly say that a culture of innovation runs through our whole company: every part of our organization has played an active role in making Cognis a driving force in its markets, by creating innovative specialty chemical solutions.”
The winning projects
Gold Award: A drying additive for multifunctional ADD
Multifunctional automatic dishwashing detergents (ADD) need to deliver maximum convenience combined with outstanding performance to consumers. Drying performance has been regarded as a weakness especially of multifunctional products. Cognis, with its leading expertise in technologies in the auto dish segment developed together with a key customer a special drying additive to improve dish-drying properties. The new additive from the Dehypon range delivers the desired drying effect especially on plastic surfaces, and combines it with excellent all-round performance. The interdisciplinary project team at Cognis also developed a method for testing drying performance, delivering consumer relevant results. Serving the consumer demand for convenience and sustainability and its contribution to reduced drying temperatures, the product is a consumer relevant innovation. The project has also helped Cognis’ progress towards its goal of being the supplier of choice for its key customers.
Silver Award: New Spray Dried Food Ingredients – for health, wellness and sustainability
Since the identification of a link between trans fats and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, new regulations have been implemented, and food products that are free from hydrogenated (saturated) fats are gaining in popularity. Consumers are looking for more accurate nutritional information and “clean label” products. Making use of Cognis’ expertise in formulating and manufacturing highly sophisticated, value-added spray-dried powder compounds, the Nutrition & Health project team developed a range of new products. These enable Cognis to provide holistic solutions for the health, wellness and sustainability markets. Manufacturers using Cognis’ food ingredients especially meet consumer demand for “clean labels”. A very successful example is Lamequick CE7203, the first whipping agent on the market based on non-hydrogenated fats. It remains the benchmark product in its category, but despite this, the project team has already taken the next step: they have developed a whipping agent in powder form that is based on oils that are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids – and as such has a healthier fatty acid profile. Marketed under the name Lamequick SUN, it enables food manufacturers to create products that contain essential fatty acids in place of hydrogenated fats. Other products in the new range offer benefits such as low fat and sugar contents, freedom from cholesterol and lactose, and suitability for diabetics. All the new products also fit with Cognis’ sustainability strategy, using only natural-source raw materials, such as fats and oils, and milk or corn derivatives.
Bronze Award: Pilinhib Veg – inhibiting hair growth without the drawbacks of depilation
Hair removal has been practiced for centuries in almost all human cultures. Also depilatories are among the various methods used. However, these have some significant disadvantages: the effect is short-lived and they can cause severe skin irritation or allergic reactions. The new product developed by the LS team, Pilinhib Veg, can be considered as an “anti-hair growth plus” active ingredient reducing the negative side-effects of depilation. It helps to atrophy hairs, while also having softening, refreshing and soothing properties. The complex active ingredient is a of botanical/synthetic origin and can be applied in both male and female personal care products including post-depilation products, deodorants, anti-perspirants and after-shaves. Its efficacy against hair regrowth has been demonstrated in a clinical assay on the legs of female volunteers. As the spray drying step has been eliminated from the new manufacturing process, energy consumption was reduced and production is emission-free. The water extraction process means that all vegetable residues can be recycled for use as a green fertilizer. And following a comprehensive set of toxicity tests, the innovation has been passed safe for the human health.
Special Category Award: Material Efficiency Program (MEP)
Materials account for a major part of manufacturing costs. The interdisciplinary project team therefore created the MEP, a powerful method that makes it possible to visualize and analyze consumption levels for all production processes. It also puts a financial value on any reduction in consumption and eliminates the influence of price fluctuation. Thus it enables targets to be set for future efficiency improvements and monitors progress towards these. Its implementation involved close cooperation between the production plants, Corporate Technology and Controlling to make people aware of the importance of using raw materials sustainably in production processes, and thereby systematically improving material efficiency. MEP also contributes to a reduction in waste, pollution and consumption of energy and raw materials.