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Lipid chemistry, plant extraction… Every operation the business carries out follows a very particular process and is executed using specialist integrated, automated and computerized equipment. Industrial expertise is all part of Gattefossé’s long history.
At the end of the 1930s, Émile Mahler began manufacturing fatty acid esters and new emulsified excipient bases. This would allow Gattefossé to build a new area of expertise in lipid chemistry, which would lead to the company’s expertise in galenic formulation.
The business swiftly acquired the equipment needed to take advantage of this highly promising innovation, and the company made sure it had the production facilities required to succeed in the market.
The unit was fitted out with a number of carefully chosen, 50-liter vitrified cast-iron tanks that could be heated using wood (gentle heat), meaning this was now a good place to carry out the – soon to be essential – process of chemical synthesis.
The “Émiliennes” in 1960: the tanks are heated using wood.
The tanks were called “Émiliennes”, in homage to their first user, and were slowly replaced with 3,000-liter gas-heated tanks after thirty years of use. The replacement of equipment was part of a project to expand and modernize the company’s manufacturing facilities over the course of the 1970s.
During the 2000s, the overall quality of Gattefossé’s industrial equipment took a step up. Security systems were completely replaced, and the company automated the reactor loading process. The business also changed equipment heating devices and introduced computer programs for controlling chemical reactions.
In addition, Gattefossé upgraded the atomization equipment used in the production of powders.
In 2016, the opening of Gattefossé’s winterization* facility reaffirmed the company’s commitment to mastering all stages in the manufacturing process of each of its products.
Gattefossé again had to invest in a targeted manner when it acquired the rights to use NaDES technology (Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents) in the manufacture and marketing of plant extracts for use in cosmetics. In 2017, for example, the company began using a centrifuge to separate solids from liquids, a process that was an essential part of creating the extracts. Gatuline® Link N Lift and EnergiNius® products also soon emerged thanks to this new machine.
Gattefossé also had its own facilities equipped for the manufacture of preproduction models. A scaling-up test was an essential, additional quality assurance measure for batches of products and served to guarantee they could be reproduced in large volumes. This test took place after pilot laboratory testing and before launching an industrial-scale production campaign.
Gattefossé production site (Saint-Priest, France) in 2015.
Finally, it is worth noting that there was a crucial product control stage, which also required specific equipment (chromatographs, spectrometers, etc) and was the essential, final phase in the industrial process.
*This technology stops certain lipid excipients from crystalizing at room temperature, thus making them unsuitable for some applications.