Interview I Léa Mazières, the life of an aerosol expert
We’re speaking to packaging and aerosol professionals to give us their vision on the future of packaging, and to discuss their experience at ADF&PCD and PLD Paris. Today, Léa Mazières tells us more about her life as a Packaging Project Leader, R&D Packaging and aerosol specialist at Fareva.
Can you tell us about your background? What was the first project you worked on? Which one are you most proud of?
I completed a degree in chemistry at Clermont-Ferrand. In my second year, I took the materials module, which allowed me to get my foot in the door of the packaging world. I had a passionate teacher who passed on to me his passion for packaging; he really had an impact on my choice of career path. I then completed my masters at ESEPAC (Ecole Supérieure Européenne de Packaging) in Le Puy-en-Velay. I took the work-study route and worked for two years at La Ruche at Guerlain, in the HQCP department (Packaging Design Quality Approval). This experience sparked my interest in the technical side of packaging and the complexity that lies behind a finished product – the formula can have an impact on our packaging and vice versa, the two are complementary.
During my work placement, my first project was to set up a database of compatibilities/incompatibilities between the different raw materials present in cosmetic formulas and the different materials used in our packaging. It was with this project that I saw, learned and understood all the complexities that can be hidden behind a simple pack.
The project I’m most proud of is still in development, so I can’t say too much about it at the moment! It’s a big project. Ultimately it will benefit the whole group and should radically change our packaging approach to managing customer projects.
What is a typical day for a Packaging Project Leader at Fareva?
There is no typical day in this job, but that’s what makes working at Fareva so interesting.
We work on all types of packaging (roll-on, bottle, tube, aerosol, jar, case, etc.), with different suppliers and different customers for different projects. One day we may have to look for packaging according to a customer brief, a few minutes later we may be analysing test results, or having to manage a stoppage of a packaging item at a supplier’s. We can also urgently manage a problem at the time of an industrial test on site, a request for support on the design of a secondary packaging, a RCV (vertical compression resistance) calculation, the implementation of a new test protocol, or carry out 3D printing or the cutting of a label prototype… And all this in the same day!
What is the validation process for an aerosol?
The validation process of an aerosol in R&D is done in close collaboration with our formulators. Indeed, all the elements that make up the aerosol are dependent on the formula contained inside, and the desired spray.
First of all, we start with the can. What type of varnish is most suitable for good compatibility? What capacity do you want? What type of gas to use? What shape, what material, what internal pressure? etc.
Then we focus on the valve and the diffuser. We have master valves and diffusers according to the types of formulas. We use them first because we have a good knowledge of them. We will then refine our choice by carrying out various tests such as flow rate, sprayability and restitution tests. All this is done in close contact with our suppliers to get their expertise if necessary.
The last step is the choice of the cover, in a range of standard models or developed in-house with our plastic injection partners.
How would you describe your job in 3 words? What is the most exciting thing about it?
I have a challenging job that requires a lot of organisation, but it is very rewarding!
The most exciting thing is to see our projects validated, industrialised and finally marketed.
What is the aerosol of the future for you?
In the context of the circular economy, most of our packaging is changing. They are becoming more eco-designed by reusing recycled material, reducing their weight, becoming reusable, etc. For me, the aerosol of the future should be reusable or refillable.
As Fareva is a major player in the aerosol industry, the packaging team in which I work in tests, validates and implements the innovative or alternative solutions that our partners present to us. At the same time, the team works to develop its own innovations.
Can you name a product that has stood out for its brilliance, innovation, etc.?
As a packaging engineer, it’s often the smallest details that amaze us. All year round, our partners send us new products, technically incredible innovations, but for me, the most brilliant thing is most often the simplification of a product thanks to a technique that is so simple that you feel guilty for not having thought of it before. I couldn’t name one product in particular because packaging engineers are so creative and ingenious! It’s in the DNA of the profession.
What about the ADF&PCD and PLD show, what was your experience of it?
I like this show a lot for different reasons. The first is that you can finally put faces to the voices on the phone and to e-mail exchanges. It gives a more human side to this job. Secondly, in general, as we work on all types of packaging at Fareva, this show is perfect for keeping us informed of the latest trends and innovations.
It’s also an opportunity to see old acquaintances – there’s a real network that’s created and that’s what I like about this sector.
Where do you see yourself in three to five years time?
We are in the process of setting up an aerosol training unit in order to capitalise on our knowledge but above all to train all the aerosol actors of the Fareva group throughout the world with the greatest efficiency.
I would like to be able to manage this department and pass on my passion for aerosols in the cosmetics and household industrial sectors.
What is an innovation for you?
An innovation should not only be technically smart, it should also meet criteria that will allow it to be in line with the new packaging world we are building. Good packaging should have the smallest possible environmental footprint and the most positive emotional footprint possible!
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