What is innovation?

Written on: April 1, 2024 by Patrick Heskins

On April 17, the British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA) will host our 6th face-to-face Innovation Day at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, UK. It has grown from a relatively humble event back in 2017 to become an important date for us at BAMA. It gives us not only the opportunity to think about how the aerosol industry can progress for the future, but also a chance to come together, catch up with old friends and make new ones.

The question often posed to me is What is innovation? Having worked as an Innovation Manager for a major blue chip company, I have come to realize that this is a very open and subjective question. For some, innovation is groundbreaking, cutting-edge technology, pushing the limits of science, engineering and manufacturing. It can also be finding a new application for a well-known, mature technology. For others, innovation is simply something you don’t know about.

Capturing innovation from all corners
At BAMA’s Innovation Day, we try to put together a mixture of different ideas to attract as many people from across the industry as possible. We like to bring in engineering companies, chemical suppliers and formulators, consultants who can help develop new products—from concept through to manufacturing—and we deliberately ask for presentations concerning technology that could be used as an alternative to a pressurized aerosol dispenser.

The 2024 event is sponsored by Jago-Pro, a filler and formulator based in Poland. Jago-Pro picked up the baton on innovation many years ago and it continues to push the boundaries of what aerosol technology can do. Their team once presented me with a tinplate can that, bizarrely, had an actuator on either end. This turned out to be a single can with two bag-on-valve (BOV) systems inside—one that contained a depilatory product, while the other contained a skin moisturizer for use after depilation. It was a very simple application of existing technology applied in a completely unique way. I haven’t yet seen anything on the market using this idea; some products are ahead of their time.

Achieving net-zero through aerosol innovation
In 2017, we were given a talk examining fundamental research into the production of aerosol propellant gases from waste. In 2023, we had presentations on the scale-up of production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and dimethyl ether (DME) at a semi-industrial level from waste. These are the sorts of developments that will help our industry meet our net-zero targets while retaining the product performance liquified gases offer.

The program for 2024 is pretty much set. We have new developments in equipment for aerosol components and filling lines, new ideas on how to process and recycle aerosols and a consultant who helps transform off-the-wall ideas and turn them into new products.

The latest developments on plastic aerosols, and a non-aerosol twist spray, will feature alongside presentations on one-piece tinplate containers, advice on how to develop sustainable product formulations and a dive into future trends for the aerosol industry.


This year’s speaker program once again reflects the broad and varied interpretations of what innovation is. If any of these subjects look to be of interest, we would love to see you in Leeds. The event is free to attend; we just need to know if you are coming to make sure there is enough food and drink to keep everyone going throughout the day.
For more information on this year’s Innovation Day, please visit: bama.co.uk/event/91. SPRAY