Soap, one of our most mundane items, has a significant history and plays a pivotal role in today’s world. Years ago, people made their own soap, yet today, almost everyone buys commercial soap. The soap that we take for granted is made using the process of saponification, which involves the conversion of fat or oil into soap as catalyzed by the action of an aqueous alkali. Because it is made on a commercial scale, industrial machines are essential in the manufacturing of soap.
A Brief History Of Soap
Humans have used soap throughout the ages, and knowledge of its use dates back to around 2800 B.C. in ancient Babylon. It was also used in ancient China, the Roman Empire, and Medieval Europe. Early on, people realized that mixing fats or oils with specific materials that we now term “chemical bases” would result in a soft substance called bar soap or “toilet soap.”
The Demand for Soap Is Increasing
Because of the COVID pandemic, the demand for soap across the globe is rising. For example, UNICEF is scaling up local access to soap and hand sanitizers in communities at risk for COVID-19 in many places worldwide.
What is the Saponification Process?
Today, soap is primarily made on an industrial scale. Its production entails the saponification of fats or oils. In the saponification process, an alkaline solution such as sodium hydroxide is introduced and mixed with vegetable oils or animal fats (tallow). Saponification can be done cold but is often conducted with the application of heat. Once saponification is completed, the glycerine by-product is removed.
The process results in the formation of soap, which is a salt of long-chain carboxylic acid. During this process, the soap is scraped into “noodles” or flakes, which is the raw base shipped out to soap makers.
Soap noodles are then placed into a soap milling machine where desired color, perfume preservatives, and additives are added. The mixed soap is then fed into the soap-roller, where it gets homogenized. Initially, the soap produced in a molten state is referred to as “neat soap”. The final output is common toilet soap in the form of a thin ribbon, which can then be cut into bars.
The Utility of IEPC Rotormills in Soap Making
A rotormill takes the flakes (or “noodles”) and makes them more uniform to receive dye, perfume, and glycerin. It then creates a homogenous mixture that is easy to use without smearing. The uniform, same-size product rendered by rotormill processing makes industrial production of soap much more manageable and economically feasible.
How Can Prater Help?
Let us know how Prater can serve you. Prater offers a comprehensive line of rotormills in a wide range of sizes and capabilities. Prater rotormills are perfect for your soap-making operations and many other industrial applications you may have in mind. If there is anything specific that you require in a rotormill or other industrial-scale milling machine, we will design and manufacture what you need. Similarly, if you already own one of our rotormills and it requires any maintenance, please contact us for immediate assistance.