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Spray Technology: Propelling Toward the Future

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 13, 2008, from the March 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

In researching spray technology and aerosols, you can find reoccurring suppositions that consumers—primarily American consumers—are reluctant to use personal care and cosmetic products that utilize these delivery systems. Columnists refer to FDA actions in the late 1970s, and organizations dedicated to being advocates for the industry appear to have placed combating the decades-old perception regarding the safety of propellants at the top of their “to do” lists. However, the number of new products and innovations, in both what can be delivered and how to deliver, just don’t support the need for this battle any longer. Although pumps do not utilize propellants, innovations and positioning in that sector have been influenced by both the travails and advantages of aerosols.

Consumers understand that the sky is not falling when they spray their favorite cosmetic or personal care item, and, more than ever, demonstrate they value the convenience and efficacy of spray technology. In fact, spray technology seems to be in a renaissance. Cans and bottles no longer look like commodity products—ergonomics are considered, pumps are gaining in sophistication and in aesthetics, applications grow and the possibilities in formula delivery flourish.

Aerosols: The Trick is at the Tip

The aerosol industry not only has survived lingering misconceptions, globally, it produces 10 billion aerosol products annually, according to the Aerosol Association of Australia Inc. In addition to a long shelf life free from contamination, aerosols can dispense a large variety of products—from powders and pastes to gels, foams and liquids. Thanks to the valve and actuator, products can be dispensed in doses as small as 50gm in exact spray patterns and at exact dosage, and manufacturers continue to innovate with custom, locking metal actuators and specialty valve collars.

Bottom line, the format offers unquestionably strong benefits.

Among other worthwhile attributes, aerosols offer an ideal format to co-dispense products, but the process has required separate sources within a can—which require different filling machines—and can co-dispense but not mix.