CT for cosmetics and luxury packaging

Date
February 14, 2023

Cosmetic packaging is carefully designed to transport and and dispense cosmetic products under exactly the right conditions, all while delivering a satisfying user experience. Intricate pumps, multifaceted assemblies, and chemical compounds of varying viscosities need to work together seamlessly to exceed customers’ high expectations.

Though this packaging is often elegant and simple in appearance, a lot can go wrong on the inside. We used our industrial CT scanner to study some of the astonishing mechanisms inside three beauty products. Along the way, we pinpoint flaws that could have been caught with the help of x-ray vision.

This hydrating serum from Drunk Elephant comes in a sleek angular bottle. Instead of a lid, you twist the top, and a pump pops up—ready to deliver the product. CT scans show an intricate snap-fit engagement between the pump casing and bottle, a higher-density metal spring, and threading where the pump screws into the serum reservoir. Unfortunately, this threading is misaligned, and there’s a gap that causes the pump to wobble and not dispense the serum properly. The sizing of the components may need to be adjusted, or the manufacturing process might require review to fix this problem. 

We also scanned a mascara container to determine the source of a noticeable leak. Slicing on both the X and Z planes of our CT scans reveals a clear leak path. It seems the rubber wipers that prevent the brush from picking up too much mascara aren’t fully sealing around the wand, allowing mascara to escape the well and accumulate in the threads, causing further interference.

In our CT scans of this eyebrow pencil, the tight connections between all of the interlocking parts are visible. At one end, we see the metal coil of the spoolie brush. At the other end, we discover the root of this product’s failure. There’s nothing wrong with the assembly that extends and retracts the wax stick, but the stick itself has broken. Just like the graphite in a mechanical pencil, you’d be left hopelessly twisting until the mechanism tightens completely to either extreme.

These are just a few of the ways industrial CT can guide inspection during the quality control stage of product development. Incorporating the insights of CT earlier on in the process, however, can help engineers and designers avoid issues like these before they even arise.

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