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Detergents are cleaning agents that help remove dirt and grease from porous and non-porous surfaces. Dirty substances are generally related to hydrophobic fatty materials that are insoluble in water. However, detergents are amphiphilic, meaning they contain both non-polar hydrophobic (water-hating) and polar hydrophilic (water-loving) ends. This dual nature allows the detergent to grab the oily-greasy dirt stains and wash them away.

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As surfactants or a mixture of surfactants, detergents have the ability to decrease the surface tension of water. This function facilitates to the formation of dispersions, emulsions, suspensions. The most common detergent is soap, a sodium salt of fatty acids. In order to increase the solubility, modern detergents contain alkyl-benzene sulfonates. In fact, these compounds (polar sulfonate group) are more soluble in hard water than soap (polar carboxylate group). Polar sulfonate is less likely to bind to calcium and other ions of the hard water than polar carboxylate.

Detergent manufacturing process

Cleaning agents contain not only surfactants but several other ingredients, responsible for important characteristics. Water softeners for example are important for the removal of calcium and magnesium in hard water. Other ingredients just as important are rinsing aids to avoid stain on glassware, enzymes for protein-based dirt removal, and fine sand in dishwashing agents which is essential to remove hard deposits.

Detergent manufacturing involves mixing the raw materials in large tanks and the manufacturing process can be in batch as well as continuous. Raw materials are selected based on the form and properties of the desired end product. It is essential to mix all ingredients thoroughly, to ensure that the chemicals are evenly distributed in the detergent. Fillers, surfactants, disinfectant agents, and chemical agents are usually used as ingredients in the detergent manufacturing process. To give color, powdered pigments can be added. In hand soap production, for example, the addition of a preservative is critical to prevent the proliferation of bacteria if the soap is exposed to a substandard environment.

Wet granulation for dust-free washing powder production

Zeolites are ion-exchangers used a lot for softening water. When hard water passes through the zeolites, they exchange calcium and magnesium ions of hard water to sodium ions. The smaller the particle size (5-micron zeolite powder), the faster and more effective the hardness removal. However, working with such a fine powder involves high dust formation, so to cope with this problem is generally used granulation with surfactant liquid. For example, during wet granulation, beads of a 2 mm diameter average can be formed. After continuous fluid drying/cooling a product with excellent solubility is obtained, so the zeolites escape immediately from the granules to be available for its hardness-binding effect in the washing machine.

Purification of vegetable oil using a thin film evaporator

Before using pressed vegetable oil, it is necessary to purify it because it contains impurities that can cause fouling. One of the most commonly used purification methods is evaporation. The atmospheric boiling point of oils is quite high, so in order to avoid decomposition at high temperatures, vacuum distillation is used. Thin-film evaporators are ideal for materials with high boiling points and high viscosity, working at low temperatures. The material is fed from the top of the machine and flows down by gravity where there is a rotor. The centrifugal force evenly distributes the material over the heating surface, forming a thin circular turbulent ring. This creates good conditions for the evaporation of volatile components that are expelled to be condensed.

Packing your detergent products

When it comes to detergents, the packaging process depends on whether the detergent comes in liquid or powder form. For liquid detergents, a filling system pumps the liquid product into plastic bottles where a weighing device controls the correct filling level. After filling, a capping machine seals the bottles. For powder detergent, the packaging process begins by creating the bag or the pouch from a flat carton or laminated film. Then the selected container will be filled with powder detergent and sealed.

Detergent making videos

Detergent filling machine

Detergent capping machine

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