ATS Eurofins: an avant-garde analysis laboratory

ATS Eurofins is an independent laboratory that operates in Europe for quality control, analysis, study and consultancy services on non-food products for Europe. Its realm spans from household detergents to personal care products to house-wares to paper. This report describes the analysis procedure carried out for baby diapers and feminine hygiene pads, through a simulation instrument called SCAN3.

Armelle Davy-Bevilacqua - Eurofins ATS

Today, price and quality are not the sole parameters to guide consumer choices, as demonstrated by consumer behaviour in these last few years. Product certification takes on a predominant role and influences purchase choices, and this leads companies to test the validity of their product range. Consumer testing and consultancy are carried out, as well as updating on the latest norms and regulations regarding production processes.

BABY HYGIENE PERFORMANCES – A DEMONSTRATION MANNEQUIN. With SCAN 3, ATS introduces a new generation of usage simulation tools for baby hygiene products. As the previous SCAN 2 version, it is designed to work under conditions close to real usage. This report illustrates a detailed portrait of an actual demonstration, a virtual interview and explanation.

Like its ancestor, SCAN 2, the purpose of SCAN 3 is leak detection, which is the best quality indicator for diaper products.

Likewise, it can set the parameters for realistic use using known criteria:



3.liquid discharge rate;

4.number of micturitions for normal duration of use;


6.positions of use.

But it is in the implementation of these parameters that SCAN 3 goes one step further.


“As you will see, I am a sophisticated demonstration mannequin, highly appreciated for my morphology.

I am a direct descendant of SCAN 2 and I am sought after for the variety of services I can provide.

I meet real, immediate needs. I provide concrete answers and contribute to the research and progress of the humans who invented me.

I have even cleared the last obstacle that separated me from them: I have revolutionary functions enabling me to move!

Through simple programming, I can take the habitual position of my models, and I can do so randomly through time. So, depending on the need, I can work sitting down, standing up (walking for junior size), lying on my stomach, on my back and on the side. Day and night. My ability to change positions brings me a little closer to reality. Now all I need is to be able to speak and say: I'm alive!”

LIGHTER AND EASIER TO USE. The first improvement in the design principle of SCAN 3 is based on a hollow, dual-component mannequin. The shell, made of hardened resin, is covered with a layer of latex whose texture is similar to the skin.

It is light and easy to manipulate, making the problems of mannequins’ weights required for use easy to handle in a relevant, realistic way.

In another important improvement, SCAN 3 is an anatomical mannequin with bending legs. These bending legs also make it easier to position the product, which means increased comfort for the user.

WEIGHT NO LONGER DETERMINES PRESSURE. Lastly, while being light and easy to use, SCAN 3 does not forget a key parameter already taken into account by its predecessor: pressure.

But this model performs the amazing feat of making the pressure variable independent of the weight of the mannequin through the use of a secured arm with vertical mobility. Pressure is still exerted from top to bottom but can now be adjusted for the weight and height desired, providing unequaled precision and flexibility.

Now, corpulence alone dictates the choice of mannequins, with Midi + Maxi + Maxi Plus and Junior + Junior Plus available for baby hygiene application.

An R&D team is dedicated exclusively to the development of performance tests in the hygiene sector: a team of specialized consultants assists in product improvement and recommends technical services adapted to needs; a global offer which may combine technical test reports with hedonic and sensorial panel results.

All these means can be used in two ways:

1. as a “home lab test” service, where test tools, technicians and consultants are available for results with real time comments.

2. as a “Lab share concept” service which takes on a volume of analyses, in conditions of strict confidentiality.

Here again premises, technicians and equipment are available.

FEMININE HYGIENE AND INCONTINENCE: ABSORPTION ON A DEMONSTRATION MANNEQUIN. Heavy mannequins allow us to measure total absorption capacity of the product under examination in different positions. Synthetic plasma is used in these types of simulations, at constant and controlled medium flow rate. This product is ready-to-use and 99% reproducible.

To simulate absorption performance during normal daytime use, a mannequin is tested in both the sitting and standing positions. This test allows to estimate absorption performance in actual pressure conditions.

The sitting position is a more delicate one for the product, given the horizontal and vertical compression constraints that the product is subject to in this position. The standing position entails fewer constraints (just a lateral compression), highlighting the absorption capability and diffusing the trial liquid during the absorption time.

To simulate an absorption performance during night-time use, the mannequin must be subsequently placed lying on its front, on the side and on its back. The most difficult position is the side position, given the small distance that separates the point of impact of the liquid’s arrival on the product from its external border.

Light incontinence products are also tested in these same conditions, through the use of a synthetic liquid at a more sustained flow rate. The trials are carried out in realistic fashion, positioning the mannequin on its back or seated.

In all these cases, the longitudinal diffusion of the liquid and the absorption capacity of the product – important parameter for the consumer – are observed.

BABY DIAPERS, FEMININE HYGIENE PADS AND INCONTINENCE PADS: ABSORPTION TIMES. This test allows to evaluate absorption times of the liquid on the dry and wet product in objective and automated fashion. The distribution procedure of the liquid and the attainment of total absorption are completely automated.

The liquid is chosen according to the use of the product: synthetic urine for incontinence pads and for baby diapers, synthetic plasma for feminine hygiene pads. The quantities of liquids are also adapted according to the size and use of the product.

This test has the purpose of evaluating the absorption capacity of the liquid, mainly considering the efficacy of the surface absorption, its permeability and diffusion capacity.

THE LATEST NOVELTIES. BREATHABLE FABRICS APPLIED TO FEMININE HYGIENE, BABY DIAPERS AND LIGHT INCONTINENCE PRODUCTS. For the past couple of years, baby diapers have been made of more breathable fabric. This novelty has later been applied to feminine hygiene products and/or light incontinence products.

A test to understand exactly what this extra feature represents for consumers has been carried out, reproducing as closely as possible actual conditions of use, and measuring this feature in those areas of the product exposed to the strongest flow.

The product, which had previously received a certain quantity of liquid according to its size and use, is hermetically positioned on a bowl containing trial liquid which has been heated to the temperature acquired by the body during the night. The quantity of liquid actually evaporated is reported, thus deducing the absorption capacity of the product. This allows to define the absorption capacity on a given surface over time. •

Company Profile

Eurofins Scientific is an international biotechnology company providing bioanalytical support services. The Group specialises in delivering analytical testing services to clients from a wide range of industries including the pharmaceutical, food and environmental sectors. The Group is committed to supporting its clients’ objectives of ensuring that their products attain the highest possible quality and safety levels in all the markets in which they operate. Eurofins Scientific intends to continue to develop, acquire or license the most comprehensive range of state-of-the-art analytical techniques in order to support its clients’ increasingly stringent quality and safety standards.

Short History

Eurofins Scientific was formed in 1987 to industrialise and market SNIF-NMR© technology, a patented analytical method to verify the origin and purity of several types of food and beverages in cases where traditional testing methods could fail to detect a sophisticated fraud. Within a 15-year period, the Group grew from a start-up company with 12 employees to become an international network of over 50 laboratories located in France, Germany, the Benelux, Scandinavia, Switzerland, the UK and the USA, employing more than 2,000 staff. With a portfolio of over 5,000 reliable analytical methods and performing more than 13 million assays per year to establish the safety, composition, authenticity, origin, traceability, identity and purity of biological substances, the Eurofins Group is now a leading global provider of bioanalytical services.Since its IPO on the French Nouveau Marché in 1997 and as one of the fastest growing companies in Europe*, Eurofins increased its consolidated sales by approximately 90% in compound average each year to exceed 160 M in 2002. The shares of Eurofins Scientific are now listed on the Nouveau Marché in Paris and on the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt. Belonging to the Euronext Index Next150, Eurofins thus ranks amongst the largest 250 companies listed on the stock exchanges in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon.

Recent Developments

With the acquisition of Medigenomix (in 2001), AgroGene (in 2002) and GeneScan (in 2003), Eurofins has reinforced its expertise and strong position in molecular biology, focusing on genotyping, GMO testing and biochips. Together with GeneScan, Eurofins now has facilities in Brazil as well as Hong Kong. Eurofins has established several competence centres and reference laboratories worldwide. For example in Denmark, Eurofins is the National Reference Laboratory for Chemicals in Soil and Water.

This structure, combined with a broad portfolio and technical expertise has allowed the Group to react quickly to recent food scares such as acrylamide, nitrofen, chloramphenicol or nitrofurans. Eurofins Scientific has developed many new analytical testing methods and has participated in, or led several R&D projects in association with government bodies and universities.

During 2002 and in 2003 to date, the focus of the Eurofins Group has been to integrate the acquired companies into its global laboratory network and to establish its infrastructure.

Future Plans

Eurofins Scientific intends to strengthen its global position as a leading bioanalytical service company for the pharmaceutical, food and environmental industries. The Group aims to become the world market leader in this field of applied life sciences and is pursuing a dynamic expansion strategy to add to both its technology portfolio and its geographic reach.

To achieve this goal, Eurofins will further enhance the post-merger integration process and the development of its Competence Centres, IT & logistics, marketing and cross-selling. The Group will focus on gaining and expanding market leader positions, in order to strengthen its position as a one-stop-supplier for an increasing number of global customers.

* In September 2002, Eurofins was identified as the 4th fastest growing company amongst the Top 500 in Europe.•

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