Continuous innovation

Ballestra Detergents, Surfactants, Soap and Chemicals R&D Team, based in Milan (Italy), is composed of experienced and committed chemists and engineers, highly motivated to support the company's strategy and to meet the customers’ needs through continuous innovation.  

New Processes and Technologies

The core of Ballestra R&D mission is to develop breakthrough processes, advanced equipment design and differentiating technologies to produce a wide range of surfactants & detergents, applying the consolidated know-how and proprietary technologies in Sulphonation, Ethoxylation-Propoxylation, Esterification, Soap production, Quaternization, Amination, Drying, Extrusion, Liquid & Powder Detergent manufacturing (Non Tower & Spray Drying Route) and through a continuous focus on developing emerging technologies like Reaction intensification, Ozonolys, etc.

Customer support

Ballestra R&D works actively and closely with customers through joint development partnership programs based on strict confidentiality to develop new ideas, reliable processes and products in demanded quality and yield, from initial laboratory study to pilot plant scale-up test until full industrial scale.

Ballestra R&D is committed to supporting customers in starting-up new strategic productions:

  • providing customized designs and advanced technology solutions;
  • improving the quality of the products;
  • optimizing the processes;
  • increasing the manufacturing capacity;
  • contributing to sustainable development programs through the reduction of the environmental impact and of energy consumption.
  • developing feasibility studies and process development of new surfactants:
    • water-free surfactants/high-concentrated surfactants
    • bio-based surfactants
    • sulphate-free surfactants
    • product development (i.e. branched alcohols, ethoxylated/propoxylated alcohols, short-chain alcohols, heavy alkylates, white oils,  enhanced oil recovery surfactants, etc.)

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Laboratory and Pilot Plants

Ballestra R&D team is structured and well supported with laboratory equipment and pilot plant facilities to conduct internal and customer’s tests, to produce samples for new applications, to test new/specific raw materials, to develop new processes and to perform scale-up studies.

Analytical characterization of products and intermediates is a key part of the R&D activities; skilled chemists apply and develop analytical methodologies (HPLC, IC, GC, potentiometry, etc) in order to ensure the best correlation between process and the product specifications.


  • Sulfonation Falling Film Reactor (to treat alcohols, ethoxylated and propylated alcohols, linear alkylbenzenes, heavy alkylates, olefins, Methyl Ester, EO-PO products, …)
  • Methyl Ester Sulfonate re-esterification and bleaching unit
  • Wiped film evaporator and Vacuum Neutralizer
  • Saponification unit
  • Spray dryer and Prilling Tower
  • Agglomeration Unit (powder detergent non-tower route)

Research and Open Innovation

Ballestra R&D team actively collaborates with universities, scientific research institutes and external partners in joint development programs.

R&D keeps a strong external focus on market trends and on most recent developments in science and technology.

The R&D is supported by digital tools, like “physical predictive models” and CFD (Computational fluid dynamics) to strengthen the development activities.

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