Liquid Detergents & Fabric Conditioners

Liquid detergent and fabric conditioner manufacturing consists of a broad range of processing operations. GEA has the knowledge to design and build best-in-class hygienic plant to deliver manufacturing solutions covering every application, from small-scale batch plant for niche products to high volume products for wider consumer use.

Mixing and Blending Solutions

Fabric conditioners or softeners, sometimes available as crystals or dryer sheets, are most commonly offered as liquid formulations that prevent static cling and/or make fabrics softer to the touch. Mainly used in washing machines during the rinse cycle, fabric conditioners work by coating cloth fibres with a thin layer of electrically conductive, lubricant chemicals. 

Often desirable properties include color retention and stain protection, the reduction of creases and wrinkles during and after the wash, and providing a fluffed up or pleasant-smelling laundry. Key criteria for the consumer are that the products are both safe to use and cost-effective, kind to the environment and that the results are aesthetically pleasing. Consumer testing plays an important role in the design, formulation and development of new products for this market, which must be both affordable and effective. 

Although the production of any liquid detergent varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, especially with the recent introduction of more concentrated liquid products, the process generally begins with raw material selection: issues such as cost, ingredient compatibility, environmental impact, functionality and the final form of the end-product must all be taken into consideration.

Both batch and continuous blending processes are used to manufacture liquid detergent products. Stabilisers may be added during production to ensure the uniformity and stability of the finished product. In a typical continuous process, in which dry ingredients are mixed with liquids, GEA is at the forefront of achieving completely homogenous mixtures using dynamic or static inline mixers.

For many years, GEA has been a world leader in providing technically advanced hygienic mixing systems for the home and personal care sector for both batch and continuous processing. What’s more, it has the experience, understanding, process knowledge and group know-how to integrate these best-of-breed technologies to build world-beating plants for its customers.

Single Pot, Batch and Inline Processing

Single-pot processing is often the easiest and least expensive way of producing a homogenous product in a high shear or no shear environment with complete flexibility and batch traceability. Technology from GEA enables you to effectively produce a uniform product without the need for recirculation loops, thereby reducing processing time, saving energy and optimizing the CIP cycle. A key feature is the use of a vacuum to allow the introduction of powder from below the liquid surface; this technique achieves the instant wetting of ingredients even with difficult to process, high viscosity products.

Single Pass and Continuous Processing

Continuous mixing technology for the home and personal care sector provides large volume repeatability, but usually requires a bespoke design approach. Because every application is different, GEA employs all its design and integration experience, with its fundamental knowledge of the GEA product range, to identify ‘best of breed’ technologies and bring them together to optimize processes and develop individual plants that perfectly match their purpose.

Hygienic and Aseptic Technology

Pumps and valves are core components in all piped process plants. GEA’s range of products has an enviable reputation for hygienic reliability, efficiency, easy maintenance and low lifecycle cost. By using its experience, understanding, process knowledge and group know-how to integrate these market-leading technologies at the design stage or as retrofit components, GEA is able to build and maintain world-beating plants for its customers.

All GEA technology is designed from the outset to work together to aid fast plant development, bring products to market quickly and thereby open up new marketing opportunities for processors, ensuring both product quality and consistency.