A major US lotion manufacturer was struggling to find a solution to their challenges with adding Carbopol to their lotion to achieve their desired viscosity. Carbopol, a water-soluble thickening agent, is a common ingredient in many personal care products such as lotions, creams, and gels. For processors, there is an array of challenges involved with using Carbopol in their products. Carbopol needs to be fully dispersed into products in order to utilize its viscosity modifying capabilities, which can prove difficult because of how quickly the ingredient expands and forms clumps.
The processor was previously using a prop agitator and scrape agitator in a batch tank to mix the Carbopol into the batches of lotion. This process required them to extend mixing times and add additional Carbopol to reach the desired viscosity, because the system could not disperse the powder properly. The processor decided to search for a better solution.
At an industry tradeshow, they learned about Fristam’s FS shear blender. Fristam’s FS shear blender has an intermeshed rotor and stator that allows it to quickly disperse particles into liquid on the first pass. The FS can be added to an existing mixing system to reduce clumps and fisheyes, and improves product consistency. This means that processors do not have to replace their entire mixing system to improve their product quality. The processor decided to add an FS model 3522 after the positive displacement pump on their existing mixing system’s recirculation loop while the agitator is running.
After using the FS to fully disperse the Carbopol, they discovered that the final viscosity of the lotion was higher than they desired because there were no longer ingredients wasted in each batch. Since all the Carbopol was being absorbed into the lotion, they were then able to reduce the amount in each batch by 50 pounds, saving $800 per batch. With the processor producing an estimated 500 batches yearly, this reduction in ingredients saves them $400,000 annually.
Along with the large savings in ingredient costs, the processor also noticed their batches were blending much quicker. They estimate that each batch has shortened its blending time by an hour. They are very pleased with the performance of the FS and continue to benefit from the ingredient and time savings it provides.