Core competence innovation: The R&D department of IOI Oleo GmbH

1. April 2024

IOI Oleo GmbH is known for its high-quality oleochemical specialties and is regarded as a benchmark in many areas. To achieve and maintain this status, continuous work on existing products and innovations is required, as market demands are changing rapidly. For this reason, we have built up a 14-strong R&D team and equipped it with the latest technology in order to be able to react proactively to trends and customer needs.

Inspiration and impetus for new developments arise both from internal processes and dialogue between the specialist departments as well as from exchanges with our customers and partners. We are driven by the continuous analysis and improvement of existing products, while creative workshops and brainstorming sessions generate innovative ideas. Externally, it is the specific requirements of our customers that spur us on to develop customised solutions. Market analyses and trends, which we gain through ongoing communication with industry experts and participation in specialist conferences, are also central pillars that constantly advance our quest for innovation.

Development projects typically have the following stages from the idea to the final product:

  • Initial product idea based on market and literature research

  • Identification of raw materials and suitability assessment
  • Feasibility analysis (100 g to 1 kg scale)
  • Scale-up (15 kg, 150 kg up to product on a tonne scale)
  • Ensuring the specification targets & guaranteeing the performance of the product
  • Impurity profiling from raw material to finished product

Case Studies from our business units:

Our customer’s challenge was to develop a lipid-based formulation in pharmaceutical oral solid dosage forms. We worked closely with our customer to develop a high-purity triglyceride and simulated its processability in preformulations.

To the product

The trend towards greater sustainability has prompted us to revise a tried-and-tested product and develop a more ecological version. As a manufacturer and supplier of raw materials, we are thus helping our customers to reduce their CO2 footprint.

To the product

We have further consolidated our market position in the MCT segment with the development of WITARIX® MCT powder. The R&D department has worked hand in hand with the Nutrition business unit from the concept and market demand analysis all the way to a patented product and production process.

More about the product

Our R&D Department – State of the Art

Our R&D department is not limited to the production of fatty acid derivatives through classical synthesis. The laboratories of our R&D facility are equipped with all the possibilities of organic synthesis and purification. In addition to classical synthesis activities, these also enable accompanying process development, optimisation and scale-up activities. These synthesis and purification concepts include, among others:

  • Classical esterification reactions
  • Catalysis techniques

    • Biocatalysis
    • Heterogeneous catalysis
    • Homogeneous (transition metal) catalysis
  • Pressure reactor syntheses (e.g. hydrogenation)
  • Vacuum and inert gas syntheses
  • Distillations (e.g. short path distillation)
  • Preparative chromatography

If you have any specific questions, your familiar contact persons are available to answer them. We are happy to discuss your individual needs and offer you customised solutions.

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Tanja Freichel

Dr Tanja Freichel studied chemistry at the University of Frankfurt, before moving to Düsseldorf to work on her PhD thesis at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry. During her thesis, Tanja broadened her experience in interdisciplinary fields by investigating the structure-activity relationship of synthetic biomimetics in biological applications. In 2019, Tanja joined IOI Oleo GmbH as a research chemist in the R&D team. She has been leading the R&D laboratories and mini pilot plants, developing and investigating new innovative products and sustainability-driven technologies with her team since 2020. In her free time, Tanja likes to travel to explore new countries and culinary cultures. Furthermore, she enjoys good live music and loves spending time with her family and friends.