Verisk 3E

Illinois Tool Works Relies on 3E Company’s MSDgen Authoring Software to Forge Accurate, Compliant, and Multilingual SDSs


Courtesy of Verisk 3E


Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW) is a Fortune 200 global diversified industrial manufacturer of value-added consumables and specialty equipment with related service businesses. These businesses serve local customers and markets around the globe, with a significant presence in developed as well as emerging markets. ITW's revenues totaled $17.8 billion in 2011, with more than half of these revenues generated outside of the United States.

ITW is comprised of over 800 decentralized businesses located globally, including 200 businesses operating outside the United States.  Many of the businesses manufacture or use potentially hazardous chemicals, and are required to develop and make available accurate and complaint hazard communication documentation, in accordance with the OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), as well as other regional and country specific regulatory initiatives, including adaptations of GHS for Europe, Mexico, China, and Japan.


Previously, each business was responsible for developing its own Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). Different businesses employed their own varying techniques to develop these critical documents, which resulted in inconsistencies and inaccuracies which could often propagate throughout the entire enterprise.

To reduce the risk of such occurrences, ITW’s management team developed a corporate level program that offers business units access to cost effective in-house SDS authoring software.  The goal of the program is to ensure that ITW’s business units employ best practices when developing hazard communication documentation such as SDSs and labels, while also promoting conformance with the myriad of regulations impacting ITW’s businesses around the globe.

Given the dynamic, demanding, and global nature of its business, ITW partnered with 3E Company, as the solution provider’s award-winning MSDgen enterprise class global regulatory compliance and hazard communication software suite is widely regarded as one of the most user-friendly and feature rich global authoring tools on the market today. The MSDgen system provides ITW with an intuitive and flexible authoring platform that utilizes expert algorithms, integrated regulatory content, and built-in rules logic to provide hazard classifications and automatically generate SDSs, Labels and other HazCom documents in the appropriate regional and country specific formats and languages.  MSDgen allows ITW to produce SDSs in a consistent manner and in standardized formats compliant with the required regulatory initiatives including country and region specific adaptations of GHS (CLP, HazCom 2012, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, etc.), REACH, WHMIS, ANSI/OSHA, and other country specific requirements.


As part of the program, ITW has access to a named user subscription license, as well as regulatory content (Rules/Templates, Ariel data, Phrase/Glossary Libraries) for the Americas, Western/Central/Eastern Europe, and Asia-Pacific.  As new companies come on board, they simply join the existing corporate platform, with a streamlined startup process that allows ITW companies to deploy MSDgen at their sites as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The program is set up as a shared services model to achieve economies and minimize the effort and cost associated with establishing independent solutions at each individual ITW business.  The solution is an ‘opt-in’ program that provides access to an ITW specific instance of 3E’s MSDgen Authoring Platform, which is hosted on 3E’s servers and enables the businesses to author their own SDSs using an automated, rules based system.

ITW businesses using the software simply do so on a company- and user-specific basis.  Each ITW company’s data is segregated from the other ITW businesses’ data to isolate proprietary information, document files, and user settings.  3E applies quarterly updates for the integrated regulatory content and manages system upgrades and maintenance.


Thus far, two ITW companies have deployed MSDgen: ITW PolySpec® THIOKOL® and LPS Labs.

ITW PolySpec® THIOKOL®, a Houston-based manufacturer of polymer coatings, linings, flooring and sealants for construction and corrosion protection for the industrial, institutional, commercial and marine markets, has already deployed MSDgen.

Polyspec is leveraging MSDgen to author SDSs for more than 800 products in Spanish, English and French.  Given the widespread need for multiple language Hazard Communication documents, Polyspec currently has more than 2,000 documents in its catalog. The company previously authored these documents manually, and has realized numerous benefits since deploying MSDgen.

“MSDgen offers us the ability to rapidly author compliant SDSs ourselves,” said Robin Crane, IT Manager, Polyspec. “For Polyspec, authoring in-house with MSDgen is more efficient and more cost-effective than other solutions we examined.  We appreciate the flexibility that MSDgen offers us; it is so easy to modify SDSs as soon as a piece of information changes.”

“In addition, we are confident that MSDgen is providing us with the regulatory information we require to conform to the regulations and initiatives impacting our business.  Authoring SDSs can be quite complex and cumbersome, especially when authoring on a global basis.  MSDgen eliminates much of the complexity by always ensuring that we have access to the regulatory information we require – at the click of a button,” said Ms. Crane.  “As a result, the data on our SDSs has become more reliable, and the quality of our SDSs is more consistent.”

MSDgen’s multi-lingual capabilities are also a tremendous asset for Polyspec.  “MSDgen makes it much easier to author in languages other than English.  When we were researching the many authoring platforms on the market today, MSDgen was definitely the most complete in terms of multi-lingual support and capabilities,” said Ms. Crane.

ITW’s LPS Labs, a value added, premium supplier of consumable MRO chemicals with a global distribution network, has also adopted MSDgen. The platform’s multi-lingual capabilities have proven to be very useful for LPS, which currently authors in English, Mexican Spanish, Canadian French, and French.

“Prior to deploying MSDgen, we were creating SDSs in spreadsheets. The move to MSDgen was done for the convenience it would provide us through access to databases and multiple language translations,” said Elena Badiuzzi, Compliance Manage, LPS.

“Previously, LPS’ biggest challenge was looking up the toxicology information for all of our components and having the Material Safety Data Sheets in the correct format for the different countries we sell to,” said Ms. Badiuzzi.  “MSDgen has been very useful in supplying us with that information and offering access to different SDS formats around the globe.  Other benefits include reliable access to regulatory databases, rapid upgrades from the hosted system architecture, and translation capabilities.”

LPS also appreciates the functionality of the Material Assessment log.  “One of the most useful features in my opinion is the Material Assessment log, which tells us exactly what material is triggering what classification, giving us a chance to verify if we agree with it or not, and if there are exceptions to the rules, we know where to apply them,” said Ms. Badiuzzi.

Both Ms. Crane and Ms. Badiuzzi agreed that MSDgen’s customer support system has been instrumental in streamlining the deployment process.

“3E’s support system was exceptional in getting us going, helping us with any challenges, and providing us with reference sheets that we could go to whenever we needed help,” said Ms. Badiuzzi.

“3E offers extensive training and very useful reference manuals,” said Ms. Crane.  “I appreciate how quickly the MSDgen team replies if we have a question.  Answers come back very quickly, which is very much appreciated when I am working against a deadline.”

MSDgen has also been instrumental in easing both Polyspec and LPS’ transitions to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard 2012.  Both companies have already begun authoring HCS 2012-conforming documents, with excellent results.

“All of our SDSs and labels need to be re-done in order to comply with GHS rules. We are relying heavily on MSDgen for both SDSs and labels,” said Ms. Badiuzzi.

Both Ms. Badiuzzi and Ms. Crane anticipate that more companies from the ITW family will be integrating MSDgen into their regulatory compliance processes.  Wilsonart International, one of the largest ITW businesses, has recently joined the program and is deploying MSDgen for GHS compliance.

“The solution just makes sense,” said Ms. Crane.  “It increases efficiency while enhancing our compliance efforts; I would definitely recommend the platform to any company needing an in-house SDS authoring tool.”

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