MicroCapsules Technologies


 Microencapsulation... A cutting-edge technology in the service of industries



When it was created in 1999, MicroCapsules Technologies (MCT) Society had more than 20 years of experience in the field of microencapsulation. This industrial experience has mainly been acquired in the field of carbonless paper (NCR process), both in terms of research and development, and production.

Our discovery of cationic capsules in 2000

(January 2000: Beginning with cosmetotextiles and gelatin microcapsules.)

It was the result of the combination of our research on carbonless paper and our research on the deposition of these same capsules on textiles.

The demand was there, cosmetotextiles were beginning to develop.

At the time, we worked a lot with Sederma, whose formulations we encapsulated.

Cosmetotextiles were mainly designed for pantyhose with slimming and moisturizing formulas.

This research took us two years of work.

It was at that time that we finalized this method, which is now used in all manufacturing processes that require positive charge capsules.

We almost filed a patent at the time. We had not done so because of our lack of resources as a young company. We should have done it. But that is another story.

This initial research
At the time, we cross-referenced all our previous researches done on carbonless paper for which the subject of positive or negative charge was really important. Put the wrong electrical charge and you get no deposition, you can then flush your capsules down the drain.

In the textile sector, innovation was necessary.

We started by going over the market main formulas that didn’t work well; we then developed our own cosmetic formulations.

During this research on cosmetics, to validate our research, we had the pantyhose carrying these microcapsules tested by cosmetic laboratories outside the company. Once completed, this program opened many new possibilities for our future research.

We had transformed these anionic capsules into cationic capsules. We changed the electrical charge by absorbing a polyquaternium on the microcapsules.

We were then able to observe a much better deposition of microcapsules on textiles.

It was this research that ensured the company’s start-up and its early years of existence.

2000 Research on porous capsules.

We have successfully developed our complex coacervation technology to meet the needs of perfumers.

By reducing wall thickness and adapting complex coacervation formulations, we have succeeded in obtaining porous microcapsules that enable a better use of perfumes.

These capsules are currently used to scent air terminals, in the subway, meeting rooms, hotel rooms, luxury campgrounds, stores, toilets, etc.

Research on the transparency of microcapsules
The great advantage of these capsules is their transparency. It avoids leaving traces on hard floors.

This effect was one of the main factors motivating our research.

Research on microcapsules and phytosanitary products
After the perfumes industries, manufacturers of plant protection products asked us for applications – in view of biodegradability of these capsules and therefore the bioavailability of the products.

This enabled, among other things, to a significantly lower toxicity towards product users – one of the primary focuses for our research center.

This technology is still available and we can even sell it to very large users.

2002/2005: Our second discovery: melamine microcapsules containing perfumes

Over these 3 years, we have adapted the melamine process, used in carbonless copying, to the different flavors on the market.

We quickly realized that the gelatin microcapsules were not sufficiently waterproof in some perfumes. Complex perfumes, for example, did not persist over time. Some scents disappeared very quickly, within a few weeks.

It was therefore a major concern for all perfumers.

Imagine that! At the time, you offered scented stockings to your wife who took them out a month later to discover that you had instead bought regular stockings, not at all scented. The stockings returned to the stores for a standard exchange. Clients were not really satisfied.

The problem to deal with at the time was the persistence of perfumes over time.

Our research topic for the evolution of microcapsules on perfumes
We worked to reduce the porosity of these microcapsules to ensure their longevity. After changing our research orientation we opted for melamine microcapsules.

Melamine microcapsules containing perfumes now have a lifespan of several years.

2002 - Anvar’s contract: Our research work on sunscreens silicone encapsulation

A cette époque de la micro-encapsulation, les recherches étaient concentrées sur la transparence aux ultraviolets de la paroi des microcapsules. Les  microcapsules conventionnelles ne convenaient pas car les produits solaires n’ont pas suffisamment de transparence aux UV. Le filtre solaire devait pouvoir jouer son rôle bien qu’étant isolé de l’extérieur par la paroi de la microcapsule. Cette solution permet d’éviter le contact direct avec la peau.

Le contrat Anvar nous a permis dans la foulée de développer les microcapsules 100 % silicones que nous avons faites breveter par la suite.

Nous avons depuis développé les version cationiques de ces capsules pour les cosméto-textiles.

Ces capsules ne contiennent pas de formaldéhyde (formol) et ont une très bonne affinité pour les textiles ainsi qu’une très bonne tenue au lavage compte tenu des liants qui ont été choisis spécialement pour cela. Le but étant de les lier par des produits jouant le rôle de colle avec différentes résistances en fonction des milieux et des utilisations.

Nous avons maintenant systématisé ces technologies et les avons combinées durant les 3 années suivantes avec les autres technologies dont nous disposions pour aboutir aux microcapsules tenant dans les produits lessiviels.

 

Toutes  ces recherches ont abouti en 2008 au dépôt du brevet français N° 08 57111, qui a été internationalisé depuis. (Microcapsules ayant une enveloppe composée essentiellement d’homopolymères ou de copolymères de silsesquioxane)

2007: Research on melamine/silicone microcapsules for tissues.

Traditionally, we used melamine microcapsules for this application.

One of our clients then decided to start using natural products only. He presented us with the challenge of getting consistent results – something that was not possible when solely using melamine microcapsules.

Our research has led to the development of silicone melamine microcapsules with very constant properties as well as being mechanically more fragile. It was an advantage for this application.

At this point, our research was mainly oriented by the growing demand for the use of natural perfumes such as essential oils and plant extracts.

2010 - Waterproofness improvement, tissues sales increase

We started working on silicone to improve the waterproofness performance of these capsules.

Armed with the knowledge on silicone encapsulation we previously acquired with Anvar’s contract, we tested about sixty different possibilities, we tested about sixty different possibilities and thus resulted in microcapsules used today for this application.

2011 - Construction of the new factory in an industrial zone, operational in December

In order to divide production and research, and thus improve the laboratory, we decided in 2010 to build a new factory in an industrial area of Puiseaux. We then moved from the city center with a surface area of 200 square meters to a modern factory of more than 600 square meters.

The new laboratory has been equipped with a high-performance ventilation system to the latest standards, and equipment to carry out 3 encapsulation tests per day under very good conditions.

The factory’s production capacity has been increased from 10 tonnes to 40 tonnes per month.

A room was created to perform accelerated aging tests, which subsequently became very important for research and production of laundry products.

2012 - Start of MT microcapsules for fabric softeners

(Definition of MT: The name MT came after the MS silicone melamine capsules (for tissues). We thus chose to name them MT to differentiate them from the MS. For us it meant Textile Microcapsules, hence MT for the French “Microcapsules Textiles”)

At that time, we began by comparing the different aging technologies available in fabric softeners at MCT.

We carried out different tests in fabric softeners and obtained the best results with silicone melamine capsules, which have therefore been selected for laundry applications.

We worked on these capsules. At this time of the research, we reoriented our research from melamine/silicone microcapsules to silicones/melamine microcapsules, with an increase in silicone content up to 70 percent while remaining anionic.

This new version for microcapsule creation has allowed us to considerably reduce the formaldehyde content.

Melamine itself has been improved with our research on cross-linking and we have thus arrived at the creation of the 2014 French patent No. 14 50166 – Process for the manufacture of double-walled microcapsules, microcapsules prepared by this process, and their use; delivered on 1/1/2016

The whole problem to be overcome in this research was to improve the fixing of microcapsules from fabric softeners on textiles as well as the aging resistance of these microcapsules. Softeners can be stored in « Hangars in Dubai or other » which can very well be heated to 50 degrees in summer for periods of several months before to be displayed.

Subsequent developments towards cationic microcapsules.
Since then, our research on silicone/melamine microcapsules continued and resulted in the successive development of ST (anionic without formaldehyde), ML (cationic) and finally SU without formaldehyde microcapsules.

MT (Technical Melamine) are still being sold. They are anionic and contain 35% perfume, which is the norm. The developments are mainly due to sales of free fragrance dispersion and microcapsules in a single package.

The problem is that if a housewife opens the bottle, there is no smell if there are only capsules. It is therefore necessary at the “commercial” level to add free perfume.

We now have a complete offer that contains both ingredients dispersed in water.

This dispersion can be now carried out with all the other qualities of microcapsules.

MLs (Low Formaldehyde Melamine) were then developed. They are cationic and contain 40% perfume. This is of significant economic interest compared to standard microcapsules with 35% perfume. This decreases the cost of production/result.

2015 - Installation of the process boiler for the laundry markets

The requests of our clients in production led us to install a boiler dedicated to processes in 2015.

We were then able to combine this new tool with the increase of the production tanks’ capacity.

For our clients, this has brought great flexibility in our production capacities.
This has allowed us to manufacture ever larger quantities and thus meet the demands of the laundry markets.

2017: Lab extension and Atex room (explosion-proof room)


To cope with the increasing quantities of perfumes, we again had to expand our production capacity.

In 2017, we installed a new perfume storage facility in compliance with the regulations.

The development of our research has made it necessary to increase the surface area of the laboratory.

This was done at the same time as the increase of the storage area for perfumes.

Our research development on « formaldehyde free » microcapsules

 

SU (Urea Silicone) were the last to be developed. They are still cationic and contain 40% perfume but also offer a much better aging resistance than what exists on the market and a formaldehyde rate close to zero.

This new technology can be used in liquid detergents (SULL, Urea Silicones for Liquid Laundry) with the same advantages.

These last two technologies allowed us to provide capsules for hyper aggressive environments with serious savings compared to the current solutions on the market.

We now have two specialists who are familiar with these products and can respond to all requests for concrete solutions in these areas.

The evolution of our research towards biodegradable microcapsules for laundry products.
Consumer fears are pushing legislation towards products considered safer.

As legislation constantly evolves, all microcapsules are likely to be classified as microplastics. However, by fixing themselves on the laundry, the microcapsules prevent a large part of the perfumes from ending up in the sewers. They actually have a very beneficial effect on the environment.

Despite this undeniable advantage of microcapsules, it is becoming necessary to find new “greener” technologies more in line with current demands.

Our objective is now focused on research on microcapsules obtained by the complex coacervation of natural products. These microcapsules will obviously not have the aging properties of the previous capsules.

This will certainly be the goal of our future research. We are currently following some leads from our research background on microcapsules.

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