Contract Manufacturing

by Wayne Willis on September 7, 2013

We took a tour today of a contract manufacturer who may be given the contract to make Luminse® products -- our shampoos and conditioners.  We visited Precious Cosmetics in Lodi, NJ.

(L to R) Buford Lemon, Marc Danielczyk, Michael Zasloff, Sami Mikhail, Wayne Willis

(L to R) Buford Lemon, Marc Danielczyk, Michael Zasloff, Sami Mikhail, Wayne Willis


After talking through the various scenarios of how to produce the different products, we found one that we like:  First, because we have to synthesize our own XO-70, Michael Zasloff and Buford Lemon will do that as a separate process at a "toll manufacturing facility."    Buford is a 10-year veteran of Dow Chemical, with a PhD in Chemical Engineering; he will oversee the entire process from ordering and testing the precursors to executing the sequence to "cook" the XO-70 and ensure quality and purity of the end product.

XO-70™ is a solid at room temperature

XO-70™ is a solid at room temperature

Because pure XO-70 is a solid at room temperature, it needs to be heated and agitated when it is dissolved and mixed into the shampoo, adding complexity to the bottling process.  To avoid that problem, Buford and Michael will add solvents while the XO-70 is being made and ship it (or store it) as a liquid in a "tote."

Two totes, stacked

Two totes, stacked

A tote is a heavy-duty plastic bin in a metallic cage.  Some are arranged to hold liquids and some are arranged to carry solids.  Here is a liquid one.  Notice the holes at the bottom for where a forklift would go.

All the ingredients for the shampoo would be shipped to the contract manufacturing facility in advance -- the totes with XO-70 in solution, the glycerin, the fragrance, etc.   We'd also ship the pre-labelled bottles, caps, and boxes.

Sami has his own water purification system, shown here. Because cosmetics can sit on the shelf for months, it is very important that there be no microbial activity which can spoil the cosmetics.

Water purifier.
Water purifier.

 When it comes time to prepare and create bottles of Luminse Shampoo, the XO-70 from the totes will be added to kettles, two of which are shown here, a group of smaller ones and one larger one.

300 gals5000 pound with heat

After blending the liquid shampoo or conditioner will be put into a machine which will fill our bottles. The line that was running that day was making small, wafer-sized tins of different "blush" products. Like this:

In this case, the little tins were glued into plastic cases. Here's the plastic cases getting the tins:

In our case, the machine will be a bottle filler. The bottles will be filled and the caps put on.

We are also planning to add a foil seal that will be part decorative and part tamper-proofing. Here is a tamper proofing seal being placed on the blush packages; ours will be quite different, but applied the same way:

Then the finished products are placed in packing boxes.

plant floor

Sami has a large warehouse area behind the plant floor -- it holds the ingredients as they arrive for a bottling run, and they hold the finished products while they are being tested for compliance with specifications and for safety. (Every batch is biologically tested to make sure it's safe.)

Once everything checks out, we will ship pallets of finished products to our distribution warehouse in Springfield, VA.

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