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Dispensing

Flawless Foundation for P&G

Brief

Procter & Gamble (P&G) approached Cambridge Consultants to help it understand how spray technology could be applied in its products to deliver a consumer benefit. In response, Cambridge Consultants conceived and engineered the SK-II Air Touch product which delivers flawless foundation cream on to the skin. By electrostatically charging the crème to 15,000V, the SK-II delivers a superbly even finish and has formed the basis of a business worth $400m to P&G.

Approach

Applying our robust concept generation process together with technical experts from across our business, including our fluid technology experts, we created and selected the initial idea, characterised the underlying technology, designed a system architecture and delivered a proof-of-principle prototype, before undertaking detailed electronic and mechanical design for the end product.

The Air Touch device is underpinned by a 2-stage flyback converter that transforms a 3V battery up to 15,000V which is used to atomise and drive the liquid from the dispensing tip to the user’s face which acts as earth. A major advantage of the technology is that if a drop lands on a non-conducting surface, it temporarily charges up that surface, thereby repelling other drops. This avoids overspray on to other surfaces and means the drops avoid hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.

Benefit

By applying our skills to this personal care product development, Cambridge Consultants helped P&G to create a unique, protected luxury product which met the needs of female consumers for a better way to apply foundation. The superior performance and unique experience of the SK-II led to $10m sales in Japan in the first month.

Consumable as part of consumer product development

Rowena Pullan, director of research and development for global personal healthcare at P&G at the time, said: “Today the worldwide SK-II cosmetic business is worth over $400m in sales. The Air Touch foundation product was a critical initiative in this business, whose objective is to meet the needs of the highly discerning cosmetic consumer."