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Process equipment for Detergent powders

Manufacturing detergent powders involves various process stages. This can vary from preparing powdery ingredients, to agglomerating ingredients or half compounds, to post-blending final formulations or to manufacturing the complete formulation.

The wetted porous agglomerates are almost completely dust-free, and the flexibility (in terms of number of powdery ingredients, varying bulk densities, flow behaviour, etc) and high liquid-to-powder ratio of the Hosokawa system enables a wide range of formulations to be made.

Local requirements in detergent usage such as washing temperatures, water softness, washing frequencies and environmental restrictions have made the detergent market a highly competitive one. As a result, manufacturers invest in complex formulae for different combinations of water softeners, surfactants, bleaches, enzymes, brighteners, fragrances, etc., and demand in turn, innovative processing solutions.

Hosokawa Micron values these investments and has developed an energy-saving, cost-effective solution to help manufacture these complex detergents: the Flexomix continuous agglomeration system.

Continuous agglomeration process

Detergents have to fulfil one main requirement: they have to clean things in water. In order to do this in a powder form, they need to undergo some form of drying. One of the most prevalent methods for manufacturing washing powders and cleaning powders is spray drying. In a spray drying process, the mixtures start off as liquids, before a drying process takes place.

With the Flexomix continuous agglomeration process initial mixing starts off with dry media, saving energy and cost. Next, watery and fatty solutions can be added into the premix. A small dose of water/binder solutions is used to form wet agglomerates which are subsequently captured in a fluid bed dryer. This over-wet mixture is dried off, resulting in free-flowing, dust-free agglomerates. These agglomerates can be compounds needed for the complete detergent formulation or the final product. If it is a compound, the remainder of the detergent formulation is mixed afterwards.

Flexomix compared to spray towers

By mixing in the powdery phase, the Flexomix has to dry off less water, thus requiring considerably less energy. In an independent study by the Ontario Ministry of Energy, a 4 t/hr detergent Schugi® Flexomix manufacturing line was compared to a spray drying process with the same capacity. It showed an energy saving by the Flexomix of 42.5%. The purchasing investment for the Flexomix was also approximately 20% less than traditional spray dryers, making it a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendlier solution.

Advantages

Over the years, Flexomix technology has proven itself for the production of detergent powders. The large number of Flexomix detergent powder production plants around the world speaks for itself. The advantages of the Flexomix technology include:

  • 100% NTD
  • Produces porous, dust-free agglomerates
  • Bulk density 300-1000 g/l
  • Cost-effective (both CAPEX and OPEX)
  • Suitable for a wide range of formulations / ingredients
  • Uses > 35% less energy, compared to spray tower
  • > 100 plants in operation worldwide

Try before you buy

At Hosokawa Micron we have our own testing and process development centre in Doetinchem, the Netherlands. It offers unique possibilities for testing your product to determine the most efficient process, system or plant prior to final design. We can provide laboratory-level as well as production-sized trials.

Whether you wish to test a single machine or a complete powder processing system, the same skilled and experienced staff are here to help ensure that your requirements are met, and that you are entirely satisfied with the results.

From pilot plant to production scale

We offer process equipment and technologies from individual units to large scale bespoke system solutions. Our principle is to deliver high performance yet affordable solutions that meet our customers' demands and long term challenges.

How can we help you?

To learn more about our powder process equipment, contact us:

Related Process Equipment

Hosokawa Micron B.V. is a process machinery supplier, providing mixing, drying and agglomeration equipment and systems for the powder and bulk processing industry.

Flexomix agglomeration system

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