Saponification: what it is and its applications

It is the chemical process known as saponification that produces soap

There is a chemical process – known for thousands of years – behind the production of all the detergents we use daily for household chores and personal care. The chemical reaction we are talking about is a hydrolysis known to most by the trade name saponification; in fact, this is what those working in the soap and detergent making industry call the series of operations carried out within the plant to arrive at the finished product. 

Although we all use detergents of various kinds every day, very few people are familiar with saponification or, if they have heard of it, know how it works. And no wonder; the industry that deals with the production of soap and all products derived from it is undoubtedly one of the most specialised and technologically advanced there is

If you too have wondered at least once how the liquid soap that always sits on your bathroom sink or your favourite laundry detergent are made, you have come to the right place. In the following paragraphs we will try to briefly explain what the saponification process consists of and how it is used.

How saponification works and how it is used in the manufacturing industry

The first thing to make clear when trying to understand how saponification works is that it is not a single process, but a series of steps that leads raw materials to be transformed into liquid soap, technically neat soap. The raw materials in question can be fatty acids, neutral fats or the combination of the two. 

Another element to always keep in mind is that the processes to be carried out in a plant vary depending on the end product to be obtained. In particular, one will follow a Full Boiled process if one wishes to extract glycerine from the substances obtained from the saponification of neutral fats, while if one prefers to keep the glycerine inside the soap one proceeds with a process called Half Boiled

Saponification plants can also choose to go down two distinct routes, either batch saponification or continuous saponification, depending on the type of production they are responsible for. The main difference between the two production methods is that in the former the starting substances are processed in batches, while in the latter the process knows no interruptions, which is why it is important that plants of this type are equipped with very sophisticated dosing machinery so as not to make mistakes. 

As we were saying, it is precisely from saponification plants that come all those products that we could no longer do without because they facilitate our daily activities in so many ways and allow us to always maintain a high level of hygiene.

Soaptec and the saponification process

The Italian company Soaptec is an international leader in the design and manufacture of saponification machines. If your company needs to equip itself with crutches for the Half Boiled process, soap boilers for the Full Boiled process and all the rest of the equipment employed in a soap making plant, Soaptec is the business to contact. 

In fact, all the products we make available to our customers are not only state-of-the-art, but also designed down to the smallest detail to best meet each customer’s needs. 

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