Aug 8, 2019
Innovative icon Persil
Innovations are a major growth driver. They are the reason why Persil has developed into a leading brand since its invention in 1907. This year has seen four new members of the Persil family – most notably the new Persil DISCS with four powerful chambers. But what is behind these innovations? Which new technologies and formulations? In short: How does cutting-edge research & development turn into an innovative product?
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Persil DISCS – state-of-the-art R&D technology in four chambers
Every innovation poses a challenge to research and development – this especially applied to the new Persil DISCS. Generally speaking, some of the key ingredients of a good detergent are not always optimally understood. One example: The enzyme cellulase, which helps to smooth the surface of the fabric and prevent fading, is not very compatible with another enzyme called protease. So, these two ingredients are kept separate from each other by the chamber system. It is only during the wash cycle that the ingredients combine and are immediately able to take effect. Another innovation is the special “bonding” effect between the individual chambers and water. The dosage of the water droplets must be so precise that the “seams” between the chambers remain closed during transport and storage, but quickly dissolve in the wash cycle along with the entire film. Each pre-measured disc combines powerful stain removal, long-lasting freshness, superior fabric care and deep cleaning. There are product variants for white as well as and color washes. This makes the job of doing the laundry even easier.
The Persil innovations – inside the lab
Persil for deep cleaning: In order to achieve this, Henkel scientists have developed a formula with a modified enzyme mix. The active substances of the new Persil go deep into the fibres of the clothing, thus removing even the toughest of stains. Every good detergent contains various enzymes such as protease, amylase and cellulase. However, there are also other enzymes that eliminate certain stains. One of these is found in the new Persil deep clean product: Pectatylase. This enzyme is particularly powerful and goes deep into the fibres, ensuring that certain stubborn stains, such as fruit stains, are thoroughly removed even at 30 to 40 degrees.
Persil against unpleasant odors: The all-new Persil with its unique odor-neutralizing technology fights all kinds of unpleasant odors. For a start, the product neutralizes odors via its carefully formulated scent. This is not as easy as it sounds. This is because it depends on the active ingredients of the scents, and only a special formula ensures that any unpleasant odors are neutralized. At the same time, additional scents are used to eliminate bad odors. Combining both technologies in this innovative way fights undesirable odors directly during the wash cycle and gives clothes a long-lasting feeling of freshness. This is particularly true for fabrics made from synthetic fibres and blended fabrics, which are particularly susceptible to odors.
Persil Ultra Concentrate for the e-commerce market: Specifically for online sales, the concentration of ingredients was further increased in order to be able to offer smaller packaging. This cuts down plastic waste, reduces carbon dioxide emissions during transport due to the reduced volume, and is more cost-effective. Persil is also available in SIOC (ships in own container) packaging. This means that Henkel dispenses the product into special containers. The online retailers then only have to stamp the packages and forward them immediately to customers. This saves on outer packaging, padding and other packing materials and, of course, labor.
“To stand still is to go backwards” – three questions for Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Head of Research and Development for Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care unit
112 years of Persil. Is it even possible to come up with anything new?
There’s no need to worry. As long as consumer desires exist, we will continue to develop innovations. As the consumer is placed at the heart of our business and – thanks in particular to digitalization – we are becoming ever closer to our target groups, we are constantly gaining new insights into lifestyle, consumer habits and consumer demands. Take new eating habits, for example: More and more people are buying ready meals. These contain certain consistency agents, also known as thickeners. These consistency agents make food stains stick extremely stubbornly to your laundry. This is where enzymes can help. To be able to remove these stains even more effectively, we have, for instance, specially adapted the enzyme mix for Persil to provide a deep clean.
How has research and development changed over the past few years?
Research has changed a lot, it has become very fast-paced, multidisciplinary and complex. Engineers, chemists and other roles such as marketing, sales, production and logistics work closely together from the outset. The range of requirements has grown, especially in terms of collaboration with innovation partners. Take the new Persil DISCS, for example. The machine needed to manufacture the discs cannot be bought anywhere in the world, so we had to develop a prototype in collaboration with a specialist machine manufacturer. And the packaging of detergents: Packaging has to be designed to be more robust in order to be able to withstand transport in terms of e-commerce without damage. And the changes in ingredients: Even more concentrated, and therefore more powerful.
So many Persil innovations already in the first half of the year – where do you start with all these new ideas?
In research, to stand still is to go backwards. We started a long while ago and we are already working on the next innovation and the one after that. You’ll be surprised.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Head of Research and Development for Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care unit
A brand travels around the world
Today, Persil is available globally in more than 50 countries and on five continents. First introduced in Germany in 1907, today Persil is also highly successful outside Europe: for example, in South Korea, Mexico, the Middle East and North America. In some countries, however, consumers do not find Persil on the shelves. The key is the name: Persil is also known under the brand name “Le Chat” in France, “Wipp Express” in Spain, “Dixan” in Italy and Greece and “Nadhif” in North Africa.