Application Example: Laundry Detergent Production

The laundry detergent industry recognizes its responsibility to introduce new, cleaner technologies and products and to encourage consumer behavior that will result in an improved environment. This is the motivation for much of the industrys new developments.


Introduction

In the mid-1970's when the additive TAED for low temperature was introduced the wash temperature could be reduced to significantly without loss of performance, thus reducing the amount of energy consumed by households. In addition, there is now a significant trend towards tablets instead of powder. The beauty of the tablet format is the ability to offer an easy to handle product that contains the exact amount of ingredients to provide optimal results.

The main environmental benefit is the substantial reduction of chemical disposal into waste water treatment while ensuring the best wash result. The exact formulation of each tablet is critical and dependent on the performance of the feeding device for each ingredient in the production line.

End Products

Since the end of the 80's detergent compositions have been rich in technical developments: for example the introduction of compact (higher density) powders with activated bleach, color enhancers, the introduction of tablets and more recently capsules. There is also a trend towards the use of concentrated liquids. 

Loss-in-weight feeders are mounted in carousel fashion. These units meter enzymes.  Weigh belt  feeders control the flow of detergent ingredients into the process. Other belt feeders are used as bulk flow meters. Detergent powders, tablets and capsules of different brands are generally packed in bags and boxes of different sizes.

Process

Laundry detergent production is typically a continuous process. There are a large number of ingredients which must be continuously, simultaneously and accurately fed into a mixer or onto a conveyor belt, which in turn supplies the continuous mixer.

Detergent Application using weigh belt feeders and pnuematic conveying

Weigh Belt feeders control the flow of detergent ingredients into the process. Other belt feeders are used as bulk flow meters.

Loss-in-Weight feeders mounted in carousel fashion used to meter enzymes into laundry production process.

Loss-in-weight feeders are mounted in carousel fashion. These units meter enzymes.

 

Feeding of Base Powder and Additives

The base powder is produced from various solid and liquid ingredients. The actual mass flow rate of base powder being produced is metered by a Smart Weigh Belt, mounted at the discharge of either a spray tower or fluidised bed. Next, other loss-in-weight dry feeders add additional minor powder ingredients onto the conveyor belt with the base powder.

The combined ingredients then enter a continuous mixer, where liquid additives such as perfumes are dosed in exact proportion using liquid loss-in-weight feeders or liquid PID control. After mixing, the detergent powder passes through a final sieving and metering stage. In the final step, a Smart Weigh Belt transfers the finished product into the packing operation. There it flows directly to a packing machine, tablet press or into FIBC's for intermediate storage or bulk transport.

Typical Production Process for Laundry Detergent Powder: 

Typical Production Process for Laundry Detergent Powder using Coperion K-Tron Smart Weigh Belt feeders

Typical Ingredients

The powder feeder must handle a wide range of ingredients such as:

  • Sodium carbonate
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Sodium perborate
  • Sodium sulphate
  • Tetrahydrate
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate
  • Sodium silicates
  • Sodium percarbonate
  • Anionics
  • Encapsulated enzymes
  • Colored beads
  • Anti-foaming powder
  • Polymers that release stains
  • Polymers that prevent new stains 
  • Sodium silicates

The liquid feeders supply:

  • Anionics
  • Non-ionics
  • Perfumes  

Smart Weigh Belt Feeder for Base Powder Production

Coperion K-Tron Smart Weigh Belt Feeder - SWB300The Coperion K-Tron Smart Weigh Belt (SWB) feeder is the perfect solution for a compact gravimetric feeder which can handle large volumes of bulk material with different flow characteristics. The SWB feeder offers continuous online taring by using two weigh modules and are available in both 300 and 600 mm belt widths.

Automatic and continuous online taring of the weigh belt reduces costly maintenance, line shutdowns and laborious manual calibration while at the same time substantially improving long term accuracy and stability.

The conveyor is removable from the stainless steel housing via a telescopic support structure. This facilitates thorough cleaning of the feeder.

Learn more: Coperion K-Tron Smart Weigh Belt Feeder

SmartConnex Control

• All benefits of KCM located on the feeder
• On Line Calibration option linked to upstream weigh hopper
• False Tare Prevention

Continuous Online Auto Tare*

• Improves long term stability
• Reduces maintenance/frequency of calibration
• Auto indication that belt cleaning or replacement is required
• Lower feed-rate possibilities
  * Continuous Online Auto Tare is an optional feature

To save or print this article, download PDF:  Application Example: Laundry Detergent Production