Understanding the Raw Materials is Key to Smart Manufacturing

The knowledge of raw materials, also known as ingredients determine, to a larger extent, the quality and profitability of your product.

Knowing how the ingredients function in a product, will allow a manufacturer to offer a suitable substitutes in case of shortage or high prices for the ingredient in question.

Subsequently, the manufacturer, while substituting the deficit, will circumvent his or her way to achieve the same standards.

Take for example Triethanolamine (TEA) a common ingredient in virtually all products. TEA is a strong alkaline, commonly used i


2019 is the Year of Industrialisation

This is the Year of social and economic change that will transform individuals and families.

It does not really matter the level at which you can realize this. What is important is good advise, little capital, little space and the right knowledge.

“For a very long time, the selfish leadership, lack of information and indulgence of our learning institutions with commercialisation of academic awards at the expense of the learners financial sacrifice has deprived energetic citizens the opportunity to produce consumer products. Only to rely on low salaried employment and cheap imports”. Said Herman, the chief industrial consultant.

Industrialisation, by any means, is taking raw materials and converting them to usable end products. Whether at low or high scale, the gains in manufacturing are tenfold. For example, a school leaver who approaches a neighbor to collect maize cobs after the harvest can take them to a mill and this can be used as Animal feed base. Further incorporation of additives (minerals, protein concentrates etc) would amount to Value Addition of the Feed base, whose retail price would be higher thus income. But who can spare time to teach you this? Even the trade oriented polytechnic won’t do it.

All the big companies in Nairobi and other districts at one time started low. For example, Nice & Lovely started in 48 sq feet cubicle along Kirinyaga road…and many more examples, whose information can be found with motivational speakers who vanish immediately after pocketing Handsome amounts of cash from big attendance.

The families in Kenya must come to the realization that it is with mutual support that a dream of Industrialisation can be born within the unit. Financial support, moral encouragement and space is what a spouse, or the father /auntie or siblings can offer one of their own. Pulling together resources is the best form of insurance.

Many industrial products, starting from artificial Charcoal, Soap, all the way to Foam mattress manufacturing are at the behest of Foreigner investment while our graduates with masters degrees are the low salaried employees.

“This is a tradition we must break away from. At the current world economic times, it is no longer fashionable to get a “white collar job”. Those were pre-colonial and our parents were comfortable with it” added Herman.

“Setting up a, say Foam mattress business, one is able to strike a deal with only Ten schools who can make orders every start of year, and guess what? The manufacturer is able to net Ksh 8 million. (assuming the 10 or so schools are taking 200 pieces each at a cost of 4,000). If your son insists to have a black suit and tie trekking to work every day, encourage the younger siblings or their jobless wives to take up the challenge. The suit wearing Son will soon come back home”. Concluded Herman.

Fear of failure
Unfortunately, the human nature is wired to take precautions. This intuition is magnified especially when they aspire to do what big companies are doing. But knowing this secret, you can deal with it like a common cold. Low scale investors, eg starting up with 10,000 shillings, risk low. But with professional guidance and good background training, failure rate is 0%.

The role of family in the Industrialisation can not be under estimated. The role models in the family-whether the husband or the wife – should take the precedence and set the ball rolling.

Involving the Supreme Authority
God created man (you and me) to worship HIM. Not for any other reason. One way of worshiping Him is to rely totally on HIM. Therefore, dedicating your new project to Him is a way of inviting Him to help you. It is a sign of faith that you are relying upon Him, and therefore He will prove to you that it is Him who blesses you. This means He will enable you to succeed. Else, the unseen enemy will frustrate you, in order to draw you away from Him who he is fighting with. Let us be wise here. Proverbs 16:3 ( Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans ) Deutronomy 28: 8 says that “… The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to…” God is not a man that He can lie. This is the wisdom- whether a Christian or Muslim, or Buddhist.

For aspiring industrialists whose spouses don’t see the sence, begin it, and the other half will see it, since seeing is believing. For more information, Training and consulting, talk to us on WhatsApp no 0723424240. We shall offer career guidance to help you make informed decisions. Do not fear to fail.

Evaluating the cost of Mattress Production in Kenya

Foam Mattress, a common product used in our beddings is a major high income earner for local industries. This household item maintains a balanced steady market for the few manufacturers present in the country, thanks to the millions of consumers who pursue comfort in their homes, schools, hotels and in the upholstery industry.

Unbeknown to the common Kenyans who are relentlessly looking for a workable project to embark on come 2019, the Mattress industry is one big income earner- both to the retailers and manufacturers. The manufacturers carry the biggest chunk of the robust profits.

But what is it with the logistics of the business? As a foam mattress production trainer, I managed to share my experience with a local supplier of the 4 major chemicals used in foam mattress production. And it was an enlightening moment for her when She realised that not only can she supply the chemicals, but she can also venture into the manufacturing business herself. Come 2019 (10 days from today), she will consult me in the formulation techniques, which have been kept a major secrete between the few manufacturers we have in Kenya.

Before I throw a piece of in-depth knowledge on the costing (foam production, Cover sewing, tailoring, etc), let me start by highlighting this: That the foam mattress comes in different sizes and densities. These physical variations make the foam mattress cost differently both at the point of manufacturing and the point of sale. Size wise, the foam mattress (for adults) have one common length-6 feet or 72 inches. That is the standard length of the bed. Therefore, variations in size are in Width (2.5 ft., 3 ft., 4ft, 5ft, and 6 ft.) the hight may range from 2 inches to 10 inches. Different households will prefer different sizes according to individual comfort and the buying power. Nevertheless, whichever size the mattress is, the margin profits will still be impressive for the manufacturer.

The figures I am going to discuss here are based on wholesale prices of the chemicals used in foaming. The cost of production for a small scale foamer (manufacturer) who buys the chemicals from retailers will spend something small on top of the original figures, but all in all, the profit margins are nevertheless big.

A large scale manufacturer will need to spend approximately 300,000 for all the raw materials needed in foaming. The batch size of the medium size mattresses will be 1,113 pieces BUT not all the raw materials will have been spent since in formulation of a mattress block, some major chemicals will be utilized in larger amounts and other chemicals such as the activators, fillers and stabilizers etc. will be needed in extremely small amounts. But it is in buying the whole lot that will cost you the 300k. this therefore means that in subsequent refills, you will not need to buy all the the chemicals. It also means that you may refill several rounds (more than 1000 rounds) without the need to buy the catalysts, fillers and activators that coincidentally are more expensive than the major reactants. In essence, the initial purchase of the raw materials that will cost you 300k, will make a staggering profit of 11 million shillings. The subsequent refills which may cost only 193,000 shillings will make even more profit (over 15 million shillings) since you won’t be buying the catalysts, fillers and activators.

How about the small scale producer?
With approximately Ksh. 28,000, you can start off with a block of 9 HD mattresses, whose retail price is anything between Ksh 9, 800-14,000, per piece. These figures tell us that the initial capital for the production of one piece of a HD standard size Mattress is about 3,000. And with the margin profits of such a piece of mattress ( factoring in the costs of Mattress Cover, Sewing, Labour and transport) being anything between 6,000-10,500 Kes, a small scale manufacturer of mattress will climb the ladder by producing a few batches. Each batch of 9 pieces of mattresses can bring an income of Ksh 108,000!

Herman, a commissioned industrial consultant, says: “This is an opportunity that an individual can grab. The huge local market for the mattress can propel a family to refocus their thinking on starting a family project in Foam Mattress manufacturing” . Herman further advises that if 4 individuals come together, borrow Tala and Mshawari Loan amounting to 40,000, all the group needs is to invest on a cheap wooden molding block, raw materials and a sewing Machine.

The ‘wastes’ or cut offs can be chipped and joined together to make compact blocks of seat cushions-another booming business in the upholstery industry. Generally, there are no wastes in Foam Mattress manufacturing. It is also a low risk business since the start-up capital is relatively low both on Medium and Low scale. Challenges are benign and manageable in case of their emergence.

Betty of Betty Industrial Industries had this advice to other African Nations: Let us industrialize our own Mother Africa. Supposedly, rich big nations like Angola, Mali, Tunisia, Zimbabwe etc. rely on imports of some products which the locals can wake up one morning and make them. It can be noble venture for countries like Burundi, Malawi, and especially Ghana because the market there has a promising future with less competition.

For business proposals, enquiries, training etc., please feel welcome to team up with Cosmetics & Detergents Kenya Institute. Call us on Tel no. +254 723424240. We welcome South Sudan Citizens, Ugandans, Tanzanians and the charges will be local rates. See the video links below for foam mattress making classes

How to Face Challenges in Toilet Seat Stain Removal

The new household headache facing 89% of households in Kenya is sturbon ceramic stain that has defied conventional stain removal products like the traditional toilet Bowl Cleaner (harpic etc). And we are confronted, on daily basis, by detergent manufacturers seeking to improve the quality of their cleaning Detergents which will meet the expectations and needs of their clients.

In our endeavor to train entrepreneurs seeking to make powerful stain removal products, we have introduced Ceramic Stain Remover classes. To understand how the removal of sturbon toilet seat and bathroom floor works, first let us have a brief look at the essential chemistry of staining process.

The ceramic tile staining process depends on chemical and physical aspects of the tile surface and the staining agents.

The chemical aspects essentially concern the capacity of the staining substance to wet the tile surface,
i.e. its chemical affinity with the glaze or the body.

This wettability can be measured in terms of angle of contact, which is related to surface tension: the lower this value the greater is wetting capacity. Aqueous solutions generallyhave values of between 30° and 50°, whereas oily substances have higher values, normally between
50° and 60°. The chemical affinity is expressed by the polar and dispersed component of surface tension.
The physical aspects concern the structure of the tile surface, in particular the presence of minute
irregularities that allow dirt to adhere to the tile.

In general these consist of pores, small projections and undulations that derive from the forming and
sintering process, as well as scratches, cracks and incisions introduced by the polishing treatments or simply through use (for example, abrasion from walking and cleaning operations).

These various microstructural elements can be measured
in terms of roughness: the rougher a surface the more easily it becomes dirty and the more difficult it is to clean. The values of roughness of ceramic tiles vary considerably, from the 0.1 µm of smooth glazes to more than 2 µm of textured surfaces (expressed as average roughness).

Sounds a little complex but it is not. Our Senior consultant avers that the normal Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Liquid multi purpose detergent cannot remove sturbon stain embedded on the ceramic ware, which is commonly made of the porcelain material. More harsher, but user friendly detergent systems can be made to remove the stain. For professional advice and training, please talk to us on WhatsApp no 0723424240 or visit us in person.

See foam mattress making video

Effective Cure for Acne in Kenya

Post by Dr. Herman


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A rather embarrassing skin condition. In my former years of clinical practice, both in Outpatient and Pathology department, I often handled cases of psychological depression from patients who suffered one form of skin condition to another. Indeed the psychological sequel of acne includes higher rates of clinical depression with elevated levels of anxiety, anger, and even suicidal thoughts among adults.

Simply put, the root cause of acne is Oil: Acne starts when oil glands located deep in our skin (also known as sebaceous glands) produce greasy secretions (known as sebum) and end up clogging the pores of the skin. When this sebum clogs the tiny pores of the skin, increased cutaneous and systemic oxidative stress-caused by lipid peroxidation-starts off an inflammatory cascade leading to acne development. Therefore Acne is worse in people with oily skin. Some particular oils used in cosmetics and soaps have tendency to clog skin pores, worsening acne.

In women, Acne lesions are most common on the face, but in male population, they occur on areas with more hair follicles such as the neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. In men, it is the second disturbing skin condition after pruritus ani, a curable skin condition characterized by chronic itch around the anal region.

Acne occurs in both sexes, although teenage boys tend to have the most severe cases. Women are more likely than men to have mild to moderate forms into their 30s and beyond. 20% of all acne cases occur in male adults.

Plugged pores can develop into swollen, tender inflammations or ugly pimples or deeper lumps or nodules. Nodules associated with severe form of acne (cystic acne) clinically present as firm swellings below the skin’s surface that become inflamed, tender, and sometimes infected.

If the clogged openings are large, the clogs take the form of blackheads: (presenting as small, flat spots with dark centers). If the openings stay small, the clogs take the form of whiteheads: (presenting as small, flesh-colored bumps).

How Acne Develops
A triad of cascade comes into play: Hormones, Clogged pores and Bacteria are largely responsible for acne eruption;

Stress can aggravate acne-but clearly does not cause it. Stress leads the body to produce a stress hormone called Cortisol which leads to more inflammatory processes worsening acne.

Testosterone, a hormone produced in both sexes, signals the body to make more sebum. It is this excess sebum that clogs the openings to hair follicles.

Presence of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes bacteria often get trapped into the blocked pores, causing blackheads or whiteheads (also known as comedones ) on the skin’s surface. When sebum clogs the pores it may leak into nearby tissues and form a pustule or a papule, causing what is called inflammatory acne. Larger, tender pustules are called nodules.

Other factors associated with acne development, though not common are diet, contraceptives and steroids-that are taken by body builders.

Acne may be made worse-even when on treatment- by scratching and touching the itchy pimples with dirty or oily hands. Affected people whose profession exposes them to frequent contact with oily soils and detergents e.g. Mechanics and Salonists, can attest of the incidence at which acne bounces back despite sustained efforts in treatment of the same.

Effective Management of Acne
Pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of, and like the false prophets littered in social media, devised a way of cashing in big time from the suffers of Acne by making products that purport to cure acne. These medicaments are poorly compounded and passed off as OTC products. Often, the users of such ‘medicines’ change from one product to another when the previous one has not worked out as anticipated, spending quite some amount of their income on the condition. In USA alone, topical drugs which are used to treat mild acne, accounted for an estimated 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 and within the same period, many pharmaceutical companies hiked the prices of the anti-acne drugs by over 1000%

Like I said earlier, some oils used in skin care preparations, (including soap) have the tendency to plug the skin pores. These oils are known as comedogenic oils. Not only do they worsen, but initiate acne development (especially to Acne-prone persons). It is imperative, therefore to know the types of oils used in cosmetics and soaps when it comes to managing acne. It often becomes a major undoing trying to cure acne while using products that are made of ingredients known to plug the pores.

Oils that do not plug the skin pores are referred to as Non-Comedogenic Oils. Comedogenic (skin plugging) ingredients include synthetic and natural oils, waxes, silicones, detergents and thickeners. Comedogenecity is usually rated on the scale of 0-5. Non-comedogenic oils are rated 0, while the mildly comedogenic oils are rated 2-3. Highly comedogenic oils are rated 4&5. Some people with Acne though, can tolerate natural oils with comedogenic rating of 2.

Getting rid of excess oil through cleansing (i.e. stripping oil off skin) is key to managing Acne. Besides other supportive treatment procedures, soaps that are mildly cleansing are the mainstay to complete elimination of acne. Soaps that have cleansing ability usually contain natural cleansing agents and not chemical surfactants, since surfactants are known to worsen acne. Care must be exercised not to use soaps that contain comedogenic oils. However expensive they are, good anti-acne soaps stay clear of Palm oil (Sodium Palmate), Coconut oil (Sodium Cocoate) and Palm Kernel (Sodium Kernelate). All the said oils are comedogenic.

A popular Anti-Acne soap in Nairobi’s pharmacy stores Elba, has Shea butter, Tea tree oil, Sodium Towlate among other ingredients that open the pores and get rid of dead skin. According to an insert in the soap packet, Elba, contains Potassium Salts– a natural cleanser, which the manufacturer says effects the mild stripping of excess oil from the affected part of the skin, thereby aiding in pore opening (which is necessary for entry of antibacterial medicaments). Glycerol, a humectant with comedogenic rating of 0 is another ingredient in the soap that prevents Anti-acne soaps from excessively drying the skin during the act of cleansing.

Tea tree oil is a naturally proven antibacterial while clindamycin is a potent synthetic antibacterial. Adaplene, found in equally expensive anti-acne gels such as Klenzit C also plays the role of opening the pores. Klenzit C is an antibiotic gels prescribed for the treatment of Acne. Clindamycin in Klenzit C targets Propionibacterium acnes bacteria which causes Acne. Other topical agents with antibacterial actives include Hydroxyl peroxide creams. Sulfur-based soaps like Roberts are also good adjuvants in managing acne. Facial Cleansing Serums and Gels are especially good alternatives to Soaps due to their convenience (can be carried and used in offices or long distance travel). Various brands e.g. AcneLiptogel are accessible over the counter in leading pharmacies across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Systemic (oral) administration of antibiotics that target elimination of P. acnes bacteria is necessary when dealing with severe form acne breakout-such as Acne-Vulgaris. Antibiotics in the class of tetracyclines are preferred for their effectiveness and low incidence of resistance over Propionibacterium acnes. But is probably the mode of working of tetracycline that makes them drugs of choice in treating Acne: Tetracyclines reduce keratinisation in the pilosebaceous units thereby lowering free fatty acid levels in the sebum and as a result, inflammatory reactions are inhibited because of decreased complement activation, reduced polymorphonuclear leucocyte chemotaxis and macrophage phagocytosis

Overall, strict dermal hygiene, timely adherence to oral medications and good control of excess sebum (frequent use of mild acne soaps) are the mainstay to getting rid of Acne for good.

Common malpractices in Managing Acne:
In my short-lived medical practice, I came across individuals who attempted treating Acne with anti-mycotics. Others, due the mere fact that salicylic acid is good at acne management, used Whitefield’s Ointments on their faces. All ointments use oils and waxes that clog pores, exacerbating acne. Acne may also be misdiagnosed for a similar but a more severe condition known as Follicular Occlusion Triad, whose causes include family history of the condition, smoking, obesity, increased humidity, high carbohydrate diet and certain bacterial infections.

Any information provided on this site is also not a substitute for the advice of a licensed medical practitioner, nor is any information included intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Products mentioned in the post are for illustration only and not endorsed by the writer

Using Silicones in Formulating Hair care Products 

A new wave of consumer preference is shifting focus on Silicon-based high-end hair products. Often low in cost of production, hair care products formulated with conditioning ingredients, heat resistant and fiber strengthening ingredients fetch high profit margins. The hair care division of the general Cosmetic Industry takes the highest pie compared to skin products. The heavy users of these products (mostly women) focuss all their attention in physical appearance (especially hair) and can go to greater lenth in securing what seem “perfect-look” in the society
Silicones are actually one of the most effective ingredients in both hair care products.
Silicones work by covering hair with a thin hydrophobic (waterproof) coating and aids in reducing the porosity of the hair, which makes the hair strand (shaft) less likely to absorb humidity (Which is why it’s great for smoothing and straightening!) The hydrophobic property of silicones offer great conditioning benefits to the hair because they reduce moisture loss from the inside of the hair. Silicones also lubricate the surface of the hair making it feel smoother and easier to comb. Hair care products with silicones as ingredients make your hair feel slippery and less tangled. Some silicones like D-Met C coat hair, providing great shine and conditioning to the hair.

Types of Silicones.
Different silicones used in hair care that exhibit different properties. At least four types of commonly used silicones in hair product formulation are popular with high-end brands found in the Kenyan market. Some types of silicones are volatile, which means they evaporate and won’t build up on your hair. These volatile silicones give the hair a silky,smooth feel and leave the hair with incredible slip when wet and are often found in both leave-on and rinse-off products. They are also best used in conditioning shampoos.
Others are water-soluble, lightweight and provide very little build-up. They can comfortably be used in conditioning shampoos.
Silicones that have “amo”, “amine” or “amino” in their name (often categorized as amodimethicones) are a different kind of silicone that are chemically modified to stick to the hair better. That means they condition well but they can also be more challenging to remove.Amodimethicones are commonly used in leave-in conditioners.

Negative Effects
Sometimes use of silicones in your hair products have the negative effects; eg Silicone-buildup and heavy coating which makes the hair more likely to attract dirt and pollutants from the air, occasionally making the hair feel weighed down.
Some silicones (not all) are water insoluble, and therefore can be difficult to remove. However, this property makes them good for formulating hair serums and other leave-on products.

Herman, a medically trained senior industrial formulation scientist advises that the buildup occasioned by some types of silicones can be dealt with by washing hair with a surfactant based shampoo. “On the label of your product, he says, always advice heavy users of your silicone based products (particularly those with dimethicone), to apply copious amounts of shampoo to lather, rinse and repeat”. He continues: “If you want the benefits of silicone without the weight, look for lightweight silicones. These ingredients won’t build up but still give you some conditioning and shine benefits”.

Silicones are very effective conditioners, provide great shine and can help smooth and straighten hair. The best shampoos in the market, Leave-on and Wash-off hair conditioners use silicones in the formulation. Hair serums, sprays and other products that make the hair manageable (like easy combing) are carefully formulated with a variety of silicones that offer such benefits.
For Comprehensive training on high quality hair care products that fetch good net profit, visit us at Nyota Building, Accra road Nairobi city and talk to the experts. You may call us on Tel. No. +254 723424240

Soaps and Skin

One of the common health challenges on average human body is a defective/unhealthy skin.

Being the largest organ on the human body, skin is prone to all manner of superficial infections, external injuries, and even internal ill health manifestation.

Acne, Eczema, Rash, Itch, Baldness, Pimples, stretch marks, hyper pigmentation, wrinkling, dark spots, allergic dermatitis, etc, are some of the commonest skin problems found human adult and children alike. And they often come with an embarrassing sting.

Skin, being an organ, is charged with metabolic activities of the body, besides protection of inner tissues and of course nourishment.

The skin filters harmful cosmic rays, absorbs nutrients and excretes waste. These vital roles make the human skin a very sensitive part of the human body.

When we talk of absorption, the skin is able to absorb drugs, poisons etc deep into the body via capillaries. Similarly, treatment of some common superficial skin anomalies can be effected by agents rubbed gently on the skin containing medicaments.

This is where soap comes in. A soap impregnated with nutritive ingredients, medicinal extracts, emollients etc can be used to manage a number of anomalies on the skin.

Traditionally, rashes, acne pimples and eczema have been successfully treated with special soaps. Thus soaps- being routinely used- and considering they are cheap, places them as best bet in skin care management plan.

Soap as a Skin Care and Healing agent
Bathing is a routine ritual which everyone performs on average 5 days in a week. Therefore, the need to address skin conditions through soap is not only cheap but most affordable to all. Some cosmetic skin products include ethanol as an additive to aid them perform better when certain ingredients are needed to be forced into the body through the skin. Reason being that Ethanol increases the absorption rates of other chemicals present in such products. Actually, Ethanol, which is readily absorbed into the skin, breaks down the skin’s natural barrier and it binds to the molecules of chemicals thereby carrying with it down deep into the skin. Therefore, soaps with a little added alcohol performs better on an ailing skin whose therapy is delivered through use of soap. No wonder why some brands are well liked and highly recommended for facial cleansing and Eczema. Others such as Elba are good for Recurrent Acne.

The manufacturer of Elba brands of soap discloses some very vital information on the soaps’ inserts which can hardly be ignored by those seeking to heal their skin of acne, serboeric dermatitis, dryness, oiliness and black spots. Besides controlling excessive oil production (especially in acne prone individuals), Elba cleanses the skin, opening up blocked pores. Now, this tells you that other undisclosed ingredients in the soap (that are kept as top secret by the manufacturer) are able to penetrate the epidermal layer of the skin. High cost of some of these soaps aside, their benefits far outweigh the their expensiveness.