ITL Group partner with UK innovators DAME for design and development of new re-usable tampon applicator

A new re-usable tampon applicator is set to spark a revolution for millions of women who don’t just seek menstrual products that are comfortable and discreet but that are kind to the planet too.

Alec Mills and Celia Pool, founders of UK start-up DAME linked up with design and manufacturing partner, ITL Group, to develop a pioneering reusable tampon applicator designed to work with a range of organic tampons that are free from rayon, bleach and pesticides. The new product D, the latest in a series of innovations, launches today, 28 February, 2018.

DAME initially launched as a monthly subscription service, delivering tampons and sanitary towels direct to customers’ doors, but the brand has now set its sights higher, with a plan to disrupt the tampon industry by tackling the amount of plastic waste it creates, and the language of secrecy and discretion used to market menstrual products.

Alec Mills, commented: “DAME came to ITL with a very clear vision and a very basic prototype.  Whilst we knew what we wanted, it was clear that we were going to need them to bring our idea to life.

“Whilst it would have been great to have had female engineers working on this female product, we’re delighted to hear ITL have started a recruiting drive to get more women on board.

“There were distinct requirements of the device and it was clear from the start that ITL understood the challenges. With their support, we have been able to bring our new applicator to market, which for the first time in decades, gives women real choice.

“The DAME reusable applicator is the first tampon innovation since 1933. Not only is it kinder to the planet but is designed to work with our organic tampons – free from rayon, bleach and pesticides.

“Women use about 12,000 tampons during their menstruating life. Disposable plastic applicators are overwhelmingly the most popular with seven billion thrown away every year globally.

“We create as much waste from menstrual products as we do plastic cutlery and cups, which tends to get all the attention. In our view, why throw away seven billion pieces of plastic when you can keep one. Our applicator, designed with the help of ITL, delivers that solution.”

Tom Cole, CEO, ITL Group, added: “We were delighted to have played our part in the launch of the new DAME applicator. It was a great project to be involved with and it’s great to see all the hard work come to fruition.

“DAME had contacted ITL Group initially to further develop their prototype to produce a more ergonomic design suitable for mass production following a marketing study.

“The company saw the potential for the device in the US market and we were able to produce a detailed report that highlighted the FDA classification of menstrual tampons and provide examples of materials used within approved devices.

“The final prototypes clearly highlighted the changes made to the initial design, providing valuable insights that will be fed into the next phase, bringing DAME’s concept to manufacture.

“If there is one thing that we would have loved to have had during this project is the involvement of more female engineers working on this project. There is a real shortage out there and we’re doing all we can to address it.

“I hope projects like this will help inspire more women to look at engineering as a rewarding career – ideally with us.”

The DAME project was a perfect fit for ITL with its engineers providing excellent understanding of the requirements for plastic mouldings and similar techniques.  The initial design was remodelled into ITL’s CAD system and several iterations of the design were created.

Design improvements included: Introduction of finger scallops for better grip of the applicator; enhanced structural ribbing to improve insertion; reduced taper angle to improve comfort; revised string routing to reduce string and knot release issues; altering the petal design to improve release of the tampon.

The prototypes incorporated material simulants and finishing processes to create polished concept models that were as realistic and robust as possible, without excessive investment in tooling for this phase of the process.  The models included a variety of colours and material hardness allowing the client to test a variety of finishes before advancing to production.

To help their mission, DAME will launch a campaign on, the B-Corp certified crowdfunding platform with a corporate charter to support do-good projects. DAME’s funding target is to raise £20k, which will comprise of customer pre-orders of the new D, as well as a supply of DAME organic cotton tampons.

DAME’s Kickstarter campaign launches on 27 February 2018. For more info, visit

To arrange an interview with DAME or request media information on the brand and products, contact Nell at Essence PR on 0207 7739 2858. For questions about ITL Group contact Becky Lipscombe on 01233 655323 Mob: 07342 881574 or Lee Winter at Pillory Barn by email: [email protected] on 01622 524 087 or 07872 030431.

About D from DAME

DAME is built on the belief that women and the planet deserves better. The new reusable applicator D is the latest innovation from the British organic tampon company.
60 per cent of women prefer to use tampons with applicators. But with nine used plastic applicators for every kilometre of UK beach, DAME think it’s time to bleed red, think green.

About ITL Group

Over the past 40 years ITL Group has been at the forefront of medical device design and manufacture, with a reach that now extends across the globe from mainland Europe to the United States and China.

The ITL Group supports other companies with the design and manufacture of medical and diagnostic instruments, offering full design capability, including expertise in research and development and design for manufacture.

Over the decades, engineers have worked on helping the big idea become a reality: from multi-functional point of care devices to wearable heart monitors that are helping to save lives world-wide.
ITL Group is working to further grow its business internationally over the next three years, including the launch of new products and the growth of its manufacturing operation in the United States.