Hair Styling Products
The formulation of highly viscous products such as hair gels and waxes involves a wide range of different components, some of which — such as carpools — are difficult to mix and often require high speed agitation. As this can sometimes result in vortex creation and the subsequent production of air bubbles, the downstream bottling process can be challenging.
The traditional solution to this problem was to allow the product to settle in the mixing tank to allow the air to dissipate. However, as these dispersions can be made very quickly, incorporating hours of settling time before bottling could be done is not efficient or cost-effective.
Although it depends on the characteristics of the materials used, hair product dispersions can be processed in two ways: directly in the tank using a helical agitator; or with an inline mixer connected to the tank with the agitator. By eliminating the production of vortices, even at high flow rates, high viscosity products can be dispersed efficiently and bottled without a settling phase. Key advantages include a considerable reduction of manufacturing time (from 4 h to 1 h for a 1000 kg batch), elimination of the settling stage and homogenous end-product manufacturing without air incorporation.
Once mixed, a top pressure of up to 0.5 barg is applied to empty the viscous product from the main mixer. And, to ensure efficient production and transfer to the filling lines, heavy duty agitators, pumps and an inline homogenizer can be integrated into the process line. Further, to prevent blockages and pressure build up, the pipework is designed to be as short as possible with minimum bends.
As hair waxes tend to harden when cooled below 65 °C, GEA specifies that all pipework, pumps and homogenization equipment is insulated with hot water jacketing. This maintains the product temperature at 85 °C or more and ensures free flowing product reaches the filling lines.