New Molecule Helps Spray Cleaners Work 3 Times Faster
2/20/15 8:53 AM
Launching an innovative cleaning product is no quick task—it requires years of scientific research and tons of cash. Just look at collaborators Nyco Products and Eastman Chemical Company. In late 2014 they released the OM1 Series, Powered by Omnia™, a trio of green household cleaners that scrub testing showed cleans surfaces up to three times faster than leading brands. It took Nyco and Eastman three years to make their dream a reality for a reason—they had to identify an entirely new molecule.
Where It Started
In the 2000s, the green cleaning movement brought environmentally-friendlier cleaning products to store shelves. But consumers began speaking out against the products, finding them less effective because solvents were removed, according to Carol Perkins, Industry Manager for Eastman’s household and industrial cleaning market.
"The perception almost became, 'Wow, it's green. It doesn't work as well,'" Perkins said.
In response, Eastman, a global chemical producer based in Kingsport, Tennessee, set out several years ago to develop a unique deep-cleaning molecule that wouldn't harm the user or pollute air or water. Eastman hadn't developed a new cleaning solvent in 20 years.
"It's a multi-million dollar endeavor," Perkins said. "It's just so expensive to do it, and you have to validate the market need and at least be fairly confident that you're going to be successful to embark in such an investment."
In January 2011, Eastman's chemists and toxicologists began researching computer models of many different molecules—3,000, to be exact. From there they narrowed the options down to 10 they found safe and effective. They physically synthesized those molecules.
Nyco and Eastman took three years to develop the OM1 Series for a reason—they had to construct an entirely new molecule.
The Perfect Match
Around November 2012, Eastman began interviewing cleaning product manufacturers to find a partner who had market insight and could help choose the best molecule. Eastman found expertise in Nyco, based in Countryside, Illinois.
Nyco weeded out Eastman's candidate molecules that it didn't think would work, and together they chose one. But upon further examination, they found the molecule didn’t meet the California Air Resource Board’s low vapor pressure criteria. Eastman’s scientists returned to the list and found another candidate: Omnia.
Behind the scenes of developing the Omnia molecule at Eastman Chemical Company's labs
Omnia met CARB's standards, and designed to work in formulations with a neutral pH, it wouldn't irritate skin. Unlike most solvents, Omnia alone was versatile enough to tackle a range of messes including soap scum, greasy dirt and tar. Less than two years later, Nyco’s OM1 Series hit the shelves.
Right now the OM1 Series—available in restroom cleaner, multi-surface cleaner and degreaser—is just sold as a ready-to-use formula, and free samples are available through the OM1 Series website. Nyco CEO Bob Stahurski hopes to release OM1 concentrates this year.
"We wanted to go RTU (first) so that people could see the technology in the proper dilution and we can build a strong fanbase," said Stahurski.
Companies are free to develop products of their own with the Omnia molecule.
"I think the sky is the limit because this is such a unique little molecule and it's so safe, yet so effective," Perkins said.
Bob Stahurski, CEO of Nyco Products, strums a Nyco-branded guitar in 2013. Stahurski said he has been playing guitar for 43 years, learning to play in 7th grade by wrapping rubber bands around a cough drop box and picking up a book titled "Learn to Play the Guitar in 1 Hour." Stahurski spent the last couple years working closely with Carol Perkins at Eastman Chemicals Company to develop the Omnia OM1 Series.