How to Scale the Production of Emulsions

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David Shechter
Apr 28, 2016
min read
How to Scale the Production of Emulsions

Emulsions comprise many of the products we enjoy every day, from cosmetic lotions to salad dressings, all the way to cutting fluids for metalworking. Yet every company that produces these types of products had to start in the laboratory by first making the emulsion, then incorporating it into a product of choice, and finally scaling it for consumer distribution. Here we provide a ‘how-to’ for emulsion scaling, centered around efficiency for both time and finance, while maintaining a high quality product.

Determine which mixer and company to use

When you enter the market for a mixer, the equipment used to produce emulsions, you will quickly find that there are various types. Blenders, inline mixers, millers, homogenizers, and grinders are just a sampling of the more well-known processes; of these, homogenization is one of the more easily scalable processes. Once a process has been selected, it is important to carefully research the companies that manufacture the necessary equipment. Certain companies will offer equipment that is a better fit for your lab, in addition to the support, warranty, and customer service associated with the purchased product.

Isolate a successful emulsion production technique

Regarding composition, an emulsion is typically comprised of two immiscible phases, oftentimes water and oil. The key to an emulsion is that these phases are mixed into a single solution, and a stable emulsion will remain that way. At least one surfactant is also required to facilitate droplet detachment and stabilize the mixture. Using a laboratory mixer (see above step for guidance), you can now isolate a technique that produces the emulsion of your dreams.

Scale without changing conditions

While few struggle with laboratory optimization of emulsion formulation, scale-up to industrial production may require significant troubleshooting. Using the formulation that was successful in the lab, with similar concentration of ingredients, is usually not the problem. Yet maintaining the same intensity of forces like shear and cavitation can be more limiting, and should be carefully considered. (1)

Pion: Homogenizers Made For Emulsions

Emulsion production and scaling to industrial production involves high pressure mixing, most commonly in the form of homogenization. Homogenization is the preferable method due to its ability to reduce particle sizes more significantly than other blending methods. The first step in synthesizing a w/o or o/w emulsion is purchasing equipment that will achieve small and consistent particle size distribution. One such example is the high pressure homogenizer by Pion. Our products are trusted by pharmaceutical researchers and lab managers around the world for key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions, dispersions, and suspensions; importantly, this equipment can achieve consistent particle sizes at or below 100 nm, a key benefit for researchers & corporations that synthesize pharmaceutical products.

In addition, Pion offers homogenizers for all parts of the scaling process. From laboratory homogenizers to pilot-plant machines and finally, to industrial units, these products make the scaling transition more seamless and less error-prone.

Learn more about BEEI’s industrial homogenizers and how they can help your scale-up process by contacting us today!

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