Sophisticated technology boosts soap-making industry

By Kenias Chivuzhe

THE use of sophisticated technology has improved production capacity at a local soap and oil manufacturing company in Mutare where a soap plant comprising Mazzoni machine from Italy and Millindia from India is producing 10 metric tonnes per hour.

Plant Manager Sajimon Podiyen explains the process that makes use of a fully computerised system.

“In making of laundry soap, the first step is to blend the oil. Oil for making laundry soap is received as Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD),” he said.

“It is then blend with acid oil obtained as a by-product from the edible oil refinery process. The oil is heated with steam from the boiler house and then transferred to the Crutcher Saponification System once the required temperature is attained. Caustic soda solution, brine solution and water are the mixed at certain ratios.

“The process happens in three stages, firstly caustic soda is fed, then followed by blended oil in to the reactor. Addition of water and brine solution is the second stage and third stages respectively. The reaction is sped up by the heating using steam and this is Saponification reaction.”

Soap production requires close control on the process, with caustic, moisture and salt levels being strictly monitored to produce liquid soap which is then dried into bars.

“After the Saponification reaction is complete, the end – product will be in form of slurry. At this stage colour and perfume are then added and then slurry is transferred to drying plant.

“The soap is transferred into drying chamber through spry driers and excess moisture is then extracted by the use of vacuum system. The soap is then left in solid form of desired moisture and quality.

“The soap goes to the plodders for final finishing where it is propelled through the bottom plodder to the electric cutting machine. It is then stamped with a brand name on the rollers and cut into lengths of bars by the electric cutter,” he said.

With emphasis now on increasing output in the local manufacturing sector, modern equipment becomes key in production efficiency.

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