Manufacturer of Industrial Cleaning Products Designs Winning Packaging Solution with Goldfire
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) or trash are generated annually, of which 12 percent or almost 31 million tons is plastic -- a non-biodegradable material.
With a decades-long commitment to developing eco-friendly products, solutions and processes, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial cleaning products sought to overhaul its existing commercial detergent and sanitizer dispensers. The goal: improve dispenser performance, safety and ease-of-use, while also reducing the packaging waste clogging landfills.
To help make their environmentally-friendly product dispensers, the commercial cleaning manufacturer turned to Goldfire, the optimal decision engine.
The Manufacturer’s product development team sought to create a more intelligent dispensing system for highly-concentrated detergents and sanitizers. Existing ‘bulk’ dispensers offered little competitive differentiation and resulted in product misuse and enormous waste - in plastics, transportation costs, and in warehouse space. Alternatively, wall-mounted systems were identified as being too costly – requiring hardware, installation and connection to plumbing, as well as routine service and parts replacement.
The ideal dispensing system would eliminate the need to connect the dispenser to plumbing, be easy to use (dispensing the correct ratio or product to water and account for product viscosity and water flow), be produced at a low cost and would minimize packaging waste.
The Manufacturer’s engineers had made great strides in designing a smarter dispensing system, but in testing found that the check-valve element in the dispenser was collapsing at high back pressures. To help navigate this problem, the team used Goldfire, the optimal decision engine.
Goldfire knowledge-enables innovation workers – giving them unprecedented access to the internal and external content such as patents, journals, scientific libraries, competitor’s websites, the ‘Deep Web’, and more.
With Goldfire’s easy access to relevant knowledge and proven innovation tools and methods, engineers and scientists can more rapidly solve problems, seize market opportunities and generate optimal solutions.
Using Goldfire, the Company’s engineering team first built a Root Cause Analysis model to identify the core issue(s) with the dispenser and the failing check-valve, in particular. Analysts have estimated that 50-80% of system downtime is spent diagnosing the root cause of an error or outage. Goldfire’s Root Cause Analysis ensures a thorough identification of vents and conditions affecting the underlying problem.
Once the Manufacturer’s engineers had identified the core problems, the team then used Goldfire to build a function model – a graphical representation of a system’s functions such as activities, actions, and processes - to conceptually explore solutions to the root problem. The check-valve function model proved instrumental in helping the team more fully understand how the dispenser system operated and the exact configuration of useful and detrimental functions within the check-valve system.
Once the team fully understood the issue with the check-valve system, they were able to explore solutions to this problem. Using Goldfire’s knowledge base builder, the Manufacturer’s engineers indexed a check-valve supplier’s public website to research the check-valve technology. The team then researched suppliers’ patents using Goldfire and identified a technology of interest which became the basis for a productive licensing discussion with the check-valve supplier.
Based on the results of their Goldfire Root Cause Analysis and Function Modeling exercises in Goldfire, the team developed a series of lab tests to further research non-linear dispensing with increasing water flow. With the findings of the lab tests and the research and analysis done in Goldfire, the team was not only able to fine tune the dispensing system to resolve the check valve issue, but also identified a food-safe gear lubricant.
As a result of the robust problem analysis, research and ideation the Company did with Goldfire, the Manufacturer launched the industry’s first maintenance-free dilution-control dispenser. This revolutionary low cost, disposable dispensing platform features compact, portable containers of concentrate with built-in dispensers – designed to address the issues that traditionally surround dilution control. The new dispenser system arrives ‘ready to dispense’ - customers need only plug an ordinary hose into the back of the container. The unique dispensing head mixes the concentrated product and tap water at precise dilution ratios. In addition to greater dilution accuracy, the new dispenser platform reduces end-users costs by as much as 80% over traditional dispensing systems – offering the Manufacturer a tremendous competitive advantage. And, because the container acts as the dispenser, the new system reduces packaging per end-use gallon and is 100% recyclable.
The new easy-to-use dispense system has been a strong commercial success for the Company, generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue in the first five years alone.