We have been asked many times
if our tanks are water jacketed, they definitely are. We
have also been asked why.
We have also been asked why we
do not make “Direct Heat” tanks.
Why are your tanks water or
(liquid) jacketed? By liquid, this can also be oil or a
Here are some of the reasons:
What does “Direct Heat”, referring to
a tank mean?
If it doesn’t have a Liquid
Jacket….It is a Direct Heat Tank. There is no
other way around it. Direct heat is where there
is no liquid jacket surrounding the inner tank
of a double jacketed melting tank.
Basically Direct Heat tanks have
two jackets or tanks. One inside the other. Some
are square, some are round.
Direct Heat tanks have heating
coils, band heaters, etc. surrounding the inner
tank. These coils or bands are attached to the
inner jacket in some manner. They generally have
some insulation surrounding the coils.
This direct contact of the
heating coils can create “Hot Spots” that can
burn your oil or product.
85% of our customers are involved in
making some type of body care product.
Body care products should not be
made in a “Direct Heat”, (No liquid jacket). You
are asking for trouble.
At some point in the heating and
making of the product you will get hot spots
along the perimeter of the tank.
Any liquid, such as a vegetable
oil, lotion, herbal tincture, etc. that may come
in contact with direct heat surface can get
overheated, scalded, burned. Once this happens
there in no going back and your product has now
There are certain tried and true
methods that cannot be cheapened or disposed of
in handling, natural, organic, or vegetable
This is why your how-too books
and formulas online require you to use a Double
Boiler for balms, liquid soaps, lotions, etc. A
double boiler is a good start for beginners to
make small batches and it helps eliminate the
possibility of “Overheating”
Direct Heat tanks have a much
higher incidence of fire hazard. Coils and band
heaters can burnout. This can result in
Direct Heat, is more energy
efficient…< not true >. It may heat a little
faster (about 27% faster) but requires more
energy to stay warm and looses heat much faster
Where would you use one of these
direct heat melters?
Candle wax is okay to use with
one. Caution must be used if a band or coil
burns out and sparks.
They cool down quickly so they
work well for short runs. Not so well for day
after day use because you have to heat the air
space around the tank and actually some heat is
lost on the outer shell. A liquid jacket tank
with an insulation jacket can stay warm for
many, many hours, definitely overnight.
Petroleum products would do well
Heating water, mixing
fertilizers, chemicals unaffected by hot spots,
etc. would be fine in a direct heat tank.
You can, with constant stirring,
get by using these tanks for delicate materials.
Just make sure you do not stop until the process
Make no mistake about it….if it does
not have a “Liquid Jacket, then it is a “Direct Heat” melter.
And, if you are going to be making any
M&P, CP, HP soap, lotion, balm or body care product where you
care about the quality of….Do Not use a Direct Heat melter.
Air compressors can be noisy. Ideally it is best
to have a room such as a storage room, stock room, etc. to place
your air compressor in. You can run as much air line or hose as
you want. Distance is not a problem with airlines. Insulated
walls between you and your compressor will also reduce noise.
If you can’t place it out of a respectable
decibel range, you can do one of two things or both; purchase a
low decibel air compressor and/or build a sound box to absorb
some of the sound. A simple search on the web for “low decibel
or quiet air compressor” will give a lot of selections.
A box made of 1x4s or 2x4x and plywood can be
made. 3½” fiberglass insulation tucked in the studs will do a
good job of absorbing the sound and is inexpensive. The Air
Compressor needs air so you will want to put an opening in the
box to allow air in. A simple register vent from the lumberyard
will work and looks good.
Build your box with at least 6” (15cm) of space
all around the sides and 12” (30cm) above. Your Air Compressor
puts off heat and needs air space around it. Caution: if you are
running your compressor for hours at a time, do not enclose it
in a box. It may build up too much heat. The bigger the tank on
the compressor the less it will need to run. Of course this
costs more money, takes up more space and can be louder.
When setting up your compressor look ahead to
expansion and get one large enough to handle everything. A
compressor with 90 psi (6.12 atm) and 2 cfm (57 lpm) will handle
any of our equipment and multiple pieces running at the same
time. You can get a 3-way manifold to run hoses to different
pieces or actually pipe to each using steel pipe. Each drop
having a valve and connector. A local handyman or plumber can
help with the piping.
Does your soap making equipment
work only with Cold Processed soap?
No. Most of our equipment crosses over in to
other uses. For example the Pot Tipper can be used for Cold
Processed as well as Hot Processed, lotions, Melt and Pour,
butters, etc. Our Oil/Wax Heaters for Hot Processed, Liquid
Soap, lotions, CP soap, almost every product requiring heating
oils and materials carefully.
How does one
determine the batch size?
With our custom soap
making equipment and soap molds, the batch
is determined by the type of cutter used, the bar size and
finding the most efficient mold configuration to match that bar
size. We will provide you with a very close estimate of your
batch size to start with and will help you in sizing your batch
ingredients. We offer excellent software for this very thing; it
is free with each Professional Soap Cutter.
Can you also tell us
about electricity requirements on your soap making equipment so we can
calculate local electricity cost to us. I use 220 voltage,
common in Africa
The Air Soap Cutter™ runs off of a small Air
Compressor that will take about 1500 watts. The
65 Gallon Oil
Heater takes 5000 watts and the lye tank
3000 watts. Your scales
and mixing drill is very little. My guess is that you will need,
when making 20,000 bars a week, about, 50 kilowatt hours a day.
This includes some for lighting, computers, etc. You will have
to get the cost of a kilowatt hour from there.
When we talk about
number of bars per week, is it a 5 day week, 6 day week or 7 day
We base the production on "pour days" and "cut
days". One experienced person can measure, mix and pour, 10
molds (approximately 350 bars per mold) in one day if they have
an efficient system. They can cut this in one day if they have
an Air Soap Cutter™ and a
racking system that is easy to stack bars
on. Remember you will have packaging, shipping, etc. to
Do you have any idea
about water consumption needed to make about 20,000 bars a week?
Using 100 grams bars, 20,000 a week, about, 600
liters. Around 30% of a bar is water.
3.5 oz bars, 20,000 a week, about 132 gallons of
water (U.K) or 158 gallons water (US)
What do you recommend
is a good bar size? I have never made soap before and don't know
which bar size is best.
A nice size that fits well in the hand and is
popular in most markets is a 100 gram bar (3.5 oz). When
cured, this bar would be about 5.4cm x 8.7cm x 2.4cm
or 2.125 in x 3.425 in x .944 in. The wet-cut weight would
be approx. 110 grams (3.88 oz).
At what temperature
should soap be mixed?
There are many opinions on this. We always
poured between 90F and 100F, usually trying for 95F. Had one
failed batch in hundreds of 89 pound batches poured. However,
many experienced Soapmakers pour at around 80F and 85F, some
having decades of experience and producing 100's of thousands of
There are some schools of thought that you must
pour at much higher temperatures, 120 and up. We have found that
high temperatures can create problems not encountered at the
lower temperatures, especially when working with some Fragrance
oils, certain Essential oils, honey and beeswax.
To each their own; try different temperatures.
Experiment and find what works for you. Write everything down,
taking notes on temps, times and conditions.
Why is the shipping
on this cutter blade so much? It was more than the blade.
quick note to acknowledge your question regarding shipping.
There are a couple of things worthy of note:
(1) We do not have a minimum order amount even though we
probably make very little to nothing on orders of this size by
the time we pay for the accounting - need to enter the order
into our books and record the payment; get the order to
shipping. Shipping has to pull it and then pack it. Not having a
minimum order is our way of trying to help our customers,
trusting they will come back to a site where they have received
good service and good products.
(2) If you had ordered several items, the shipping per pound
would be much less. UPS has a minimum shipping charge, which was
already more than the cost of your item.
(3) The shopping cart defaults to residential, since most of
our customers are in this category. If you are in a Rural area
then that adds some regardless if residential or commercial.
We appreciate your business and trust that this explanation
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