The working principle of this plant foresees the in-line and intimate mixing of all the components inside a forced loop where the freshly added components are dispersed into a stream of product recirculated at a larger rate than the added stream of components. The mixing is ensured by a multi-stage pump and a specially designed high-shear mixer. This assures very efficient and constant mixing, homogenisation while temperature control is obtained through a proper heat exchanger.

Due to the short residence time of the product inside the mixing loop, it is of utmost importance to provide an accurate and prompt measure and correction of the pH. A double pH-meter, acting on different component flows, is fitted at the outlet of the high-shear mixer, just before the final heat exchanger for the control of the temperature of the product before being sent to final storage and ultimately to the filling lines.

Production viscosity is continuously controlled by an in-line viscometer connected with the dosing system of specific components added as rheology-modifiers.

Both the batch and continuous processing routes allow the production of a wide variety of liquid formulations. The choice between the two depends mainly on the required production capacity and the range of product to be manufactured.

A simplified and indicative comparison of the two systems is shown here below: in general, a Continuous Process is appropriate for high production capacity and a limited number of products, while the Batch Process with the option of multiple parallel lines is best suited for lower capacities (up to 5 t/hr) and for manufacturers that plan to produce a wide range of products and need frequent product changeover.

Batch vs Continuous route

Ballestra LIDET plants, either based on Continuous or Batch Process routes, offer the following advantages:

  • a wide range of production capacity
  • automatic operation
  • reduced area for installation
  • no environmental emission
  • high production flexibility
  • guaranteed production consistency
  • possibility to neutralize acidic (actives) components

When planning a liquid detergent factory, the process unit indeed represents only a small, even if very important, part of the overall installation. Ballestra can provide the overall know-how necessary to correctly plan the new factory, which is of critical importance to optimise the investment, thus avoiding bottlenecks (which are very frequent in these factories) and to allow a rational flow of the raw materials, of the intermediate and finished products and the packaging materials.