24/7 production of laundry detergent pods and dishwasher tabs

How exactly should laundry detergent be dosed so that the laundry is completely clean, without the environment suffering? Does the dishwasher detergent compartment have to be filled completely in order to achieve streak-free cleanliness? But then it might not be possible to close the drawer properly? These are just a few of the questions that are frequently discussed on the Internet for example. These considerations are being eliminated, as laundry and dishwashing detergent is available in pre-dosed packages, so-called pods or tabs. Their application ensures that only the right quantity of detergent recommended by the manufacturer is used per wash cycle. Environmentally harmful overdoses are avoided. And the laundry is not over exposed.

ViscoTec Hygienic Dispenser

ViscoTec hygienic pumps are used for filling viscous cleaning agents into these pods or tabs. For example, in cooperation with the machine builder Harro Höfliger, highly industrial production and packaging equipment is developed that enables 24/7 production and operates fully automatically. There are a number of points that need to be considered during the manufacture of the tabs and pods: In order to obtain the useful pads, the detergent is dosed onto a water-soluble film, which then dissolves in the washing machine or dishwasher. “Companies come to us with a design where the shape, number of chambers and filling material is already specified,” explains Jürgen Luka, Engineering & Innovation Services (EIS) department at Harro Höfliger. “For example, they would like a pouch with three chambers containing 15 grams of powder, five grams of gel and five grams of liquid. Both the gel and the liquid can be applied with the ViscoTec pumps.”

Detergent pods

The material to be dosed for the detergent pods has a gel-like, viscous texture and poses no real challenges for ViscoTec’s dosing pumps. However, there are two special advantages of using progressive cavity pumps for dosing: On the one hand, they are easy to clean automatically, and, on the other hand, they have a particularly short cycle time, which is achieved by only employing high-quality materials. ViscoTec hygienic pumps and dispensers can be thoroughly cleaned within the dosing process without the need to dismantle them (CIP). Automatic rinsing is particularly advantageous when changing the color of the dosing material, for example. It saves time and downtimes are greatly reduced.

Dishwasher tabs

Rendering ViscoTec Hygienic Dispenser when filling dishwasher tabs

Particularly abrasive suspensions are dosed into dishwasher tabs. One challenge here is to counteract sedimentation of any solids during the entire dosing process. ViscoTec has met this challenge by circulating the dosing material within the complete system. It remains in constant motion. Filling takes place within the flow movement. This concept is made possible by integrating a bypass into the dosing pump. In this bypass, the material can be kept in constant motion during the dosing process and also when the system is at a standstill. This also prevents sedimentation in the pump feed. The dosing pumps comply with the requirements of the GMP and FDA guidelines. The complete filling system consists of a storage container with agitator, an RD hygienic feed pump and several hygienic dispensers. A further challenge is the abrasiveness of the materials to be dosed: The abrasive dosing materials usually cause above-average wear in filling systems. Thanks to the stainless steel/elastomer pairing in the rotor and stator of the ViscoTec dosing pumps, particularly long service lives are achieved in contrast to steel/steel combinations in piston pumps. By adopting the endless piston principle used in the ViscoTec products, the materials are dosed or filled purely volumetrically and almost wear-free. A decisive benefit of this technology lies in the resulting conveying chamber, whose volume remains absolutely constant during movement.

Tab or pod filling system with ViscoTec filling pumps
Tab or pod filling system with ViscoTec filling pumps
Tab or pod filling system with ViscoTec filling pumps

Detergent dosing: ViscoTec as system supplier

As a system supplier, ViscoTec not only supplies the dosing pumps and components, but also the engineering and design of the complete gel filling station. With its large design department, ViscoTec is a competent partner for machine builders and offers customer-specific solutions – even for difficult applications.

In the field of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), ViscoTec has made a name for itself worldwide over the past 22 years. Numerous dosing and filling applications of liquids and pastes in the fields of cosmetics, food, cleaning agents etc. have been successfully implemented. With ViscoTec products, shorter cycle times and various volume quantities are possible with constant high precision and repeatability. The automatic, programmable suck-back at the end of the dosing cycle guarantees absolute drip-free dosing. This prevents contamination of the sealing surface, for a high quality end product.

About Harro Höfliger

Harro Höfliger develops and manufactures production and packaging systems for customers all over the world. In addition to pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, the extensive portfolio is also aimed at manufacturers of consumer goods. With its market segment “Portion Packs”, the company offers technology platforms for the production of pre-dosed packs, including those for dishwashers and washing machines.  The services cover product optimization and all production steps – from forming the web material to filling, sealing and cutting. Many years of experience meet the spirit of innovation. For example, the company relies on patented water sealing for sealing, which results in a hard-wearing and narrow sealing seam. All processes developed in the laboratory phase can be transferred to small series and high-speed production machines.