Global Chemical Company: Reducing analytical lab budgets during the assessment process to eliminate design of experiments

Knovel helped reduce analytical lab budgets at a specialty chemical company.

A global chemical company wanted to create new materials for its polymer platform and tasked chemist James Elmont with the project. The project involved finding and evaluating high performance, cost-effective and biodegradable polymers within budget.

Global specialty chemical company


Elmont’s goal was to accelerate the development of biodegradable applications in order to find high-performance, cost-effective products to add to the company’s portfolio. So he needed to identify potential materials for new biodegradable polymer products, compare a range of key properties side by side and then assess each idea for technical feasibility. We wanted to look at the competing materials in the biodegradable space, Elmont said. I needed to collect reliable information and present my input to Management and Business so they could make quick product development decisions, he said. Elmont also hoped to find opportunities during the assessment process to eliminate design of experiments (DOEs) for technologically infeasible materials and thereby reduce the costs of testing materials.


Knovel gave Elmont instant access to the properties for more than 35,000 organic substances and more than 5,000 inorganic substances and elements — all in one place. It saved him from using Google and other websites to painstakingly piece together the properties of the materials he was considering. If you don’t have Knovel, you have to look through all these different sources of information, and sometimes it isn’t reliable, Elmont observed. If it isn’t reliable, you end up having to do experiments in the lab.

Using Knovel also enabled Elmont to better guide technicians and analysts about which DOEs should be conducted, based on the side-by-side comparisons Knovel provided. I used Knovel’s interactive table to compare the key properties and applications of various materials. This allowed me to zero in on substances I wanted to run DOEs on and eliminate those I was not going to move forward with, significantly reducing the number of experiments, Elmont explained.

Global specialty chemical company lower image

Knovel helped me find critical pieces of information from a reliable source, which saved me from spending unnecessary time in the lab.

James Elmont, Chemist


Knovel helped Elmont make key decisions early in the idea discovery process. We were able to make quick decisions where to play and where not to play, Elmont said. The whole product development process is governed by technological insight, and we use Knovel to generate that insight. Knovel is a big part of our everyday toolset. We are actually able to get all the data from Knovel and then table our internal data or interactive data. We value that a lot. As a result, Elmont’s team was able to focus on just 20 percent of the most feasible materials ideas, which streamlined DOEs and reduced lab time. In all, using Knovel allowed Elmont to slash his analytical lab budget significantly, saving his company $250,000.

*Name has been changed to protect rights to innovation

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