CLEANING TABLETS OR WATER-SOFTENING TABLETS AND

&
(19)
(11)
EP 1 651 747 B1
EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION
(12)
(45) Date of publication and mention
(51) Int Cl.:
C11D 17/00 (2006.01)
of the grant of the patent:
15.07.2009 Bulletin 2009/29
C11D 1/66 (2006.01)
(86) International application number:
PCT/GB2004/003339
(21) Application number: 04767963.4
(87) International publication number:
(22) Date of filing: 30.07.2004
WO 2005/012473 (10.02.2005 Gazette 2005/06)
(54) CLEANING TABLETS OR WATER-SOFTENING TABLETS AND THEIR MANUFACTURE
REINIGUNGSTABLETTEN ODER WASSERENTHÄRTUNGSTABLETTEN UND DEREN
HERSTELLUNG
PASTILLES DE DETERGENT OU PASTILLES D’ADOUCISSANT D’EAU ET LEUR FABRICATION
(84) Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR
HU IE IT LI LU MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR
(30) Priority: 01.08.2003 GB 0318038
(43) Date of publication of application:
03.05.2006 Bulletin 2006/18
(60) Divisional application:
(74) Representative: Bowers, Craig Malcolm et al
09075241.1
(73) Proprietor: Reckitt Benckiser (UK) Limited
Slough,
Berkshire SL1 3UH (GB)
• SMITH, Carl Richard c/o Vincent Processes Ltd.
Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2NT (GB)
• COOK, Steven Kenneth c/o Vincent Processes
Ltd.
Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2NT (GB)
• HOUGH, Kerry Anne c/o Reckitt Benckiser
Corporate
Hull HU8 7DS (GB)
Reckitt Benckiser
Corporate Services Limited
Legal Department - Patents Group
Dansom Lane
Hull
HU8 7DS (GB)
(72) Inventors:
EP 1 651 747 B1
• DUFFIELD, P.J.,
Reckitt Benckiser Corp. Serv. Ltd.
Hull HU8 7DS (GB)
(56) References cited:
EP-A- 1 081 219
DE-A- 10 134 309
DE-A- 19 848 024
DE-A- 4 010 533
DE-A- 19 649 565
Note: Within nine months of the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent
Bulletin, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to that patent, in accordance with the
Implementing Regulations. Notice of opposition shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been
paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).
Printed by Jouve, 75001 PARIS (FR)
EP 1 651 747 B1
Description
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
[0001] This invention relates to a method of making a cleaning composition tablet or a water-softening tablet, and to
such a tablet itself.
[0002] The current, conventional, method of making cleaning tablets is by compressing the cleaning components in
particulate form. The particulates are fed into the cavities of, for example, a rotary compression apparatus, which compresses them into a self-supporting form. This could be the final tablet, but consumers have come to expect tablets to
have two or more distinct layers and/or a separate insert, for example a so-called "pill". To produce a tablet with multiple
layers further steps of supplying cleaning particulates and effecting compression are undertaken, layer by layer. This
can lead to over-compression of the base layer, which can in turn lead to retarded dissolution, in use. When an insert
is introduced this is typically done by forming a cavity in the upper face of the tablet, and setting the insert into the cavity,
for example by means of an adhesive. This introduces the need for an entirely different type of manufacturing step, with
its own equipment. Furthermore the formation of the cavity and/or the introduction of the insert may cause over-compression in the base region of the tablet, under the pill.
[0003] It will be appreciated that nowadays enormous numbers of cleaning tablets are manufactured. Whilst big
improvements in manufacturing efficiency have taken place, the formation of cleaning composition tablets in individual
moulds is not prima facie a very efficient starting point. However no other method has gained widespread acceptance
and so the individual compression method remains the method of choice.
[0004] Extruded detergents compositions are described in DE-A-40 10533 and EP-A-1 081 219. Cleaning tablets
prepared using an extrusion step are described in DE-A- 101 34 309, DE-A-196 49 565 and DE-A-198 48 024.
[0005] One attempt to provide an extrusion process for the manufacture of cleaning tablets is described in EP-A814152. In the process of this patent application a premix of cleaning particulates, also containing a plasticiser and a
lubricant, is pressed through perforated dyes at pressures between 25 and 200 bar (2.5-20 MPa).
The pressure is 120 bar (12 MPa) in the single example. Immediately after emerging from the perforated dye the strand
is cut to the pre-determined size of cleaning composition granules by means of a cutting device, prior to being pressed
into tablets. In between cutting the pressing the chopped strand portions may undergo a rounding step.
[0006] It will be appreciated that the method described in EP-A-814152 is a hybrid one. This extrusion is simply a way
of making particles which, it is suggested, are good feedstock materials for the later pressing step.
[0007] WO 01/02532, in describing its own state of the art, mentions a prior method which involves plasticising a
premix under high pressure and extruding it through holes, after which it is formed by cutting. This is said to employ an
extrusion pressure of 100 bar (10 MPa) and to produce compact particles or pieces, of reduced internal hollow volume.
[0008] WO 01/02532 goes on to describe its own invention as being the formation of cleaning tablets by use of a pair
of counter-rotating rollers to pull a shapeable material towards an outlet opening, the resulting strand being separated
into the individual tablets. A much lower pressure is used, less than 40 bar (4 MPa). Preferred pressures are lower still.
For example preferred pressures of under 10 bar (1 MPa) and under 5 bar (0.5 MPa) are mentioned. In this method it
is stated that the exiting strands are cut and allowed to harden.
[0009] As a general comment it may be stated that the practicalities of such methods are discouraging. Cleaning
particulates are in the main hard, crystalline, abrasive materials. Extrusion is a widely used process for the formation of
strands from material whose mechanical behaviour is described by the term "plastic" - including polymeric materials,
ductile metals and pasty materials - but not for hard particulates. When we attempted in experimental work to effect
extrusion of such materials at the low pressures recommended by WO 01/02532 - in fact in the range 8-14 bar (0.8-1.4
MPa) - the results were poor. On the other hand higher pressures - somewhat against the teaching of WO 01/02532,
being outside the favoured range - would introduce an enhanced risk of abrasive wear of extruder parts.
[0010] It is an object of the present invention to devise an improved method of making a cleaning tablet.
[0011] It is a further object of the present invention to devise an improved method of making a water-softening tablet.
[0012] In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of making tablets of a
cleaning composition or of a water-softening composition or tablet precursors therefor, wherein:
a premix is made of cleaning or water-softening composition particulates and a lubricant;
50
the premix is fed into a feed port of an extruder; and
the resulting mixture is extruded;
55
wherein the extrusion is of one or more strands which are separated into tablets or scored into tablet precursors, shortly
after their extrusion, either as-extruded or after post-extrusion enhancement, wherein a binder is fed into the extruder
downstream of the feed port, the binder being a solid at room temperature but being mixed with the cleaning or watersoftening composition particles as a liquid or becoming a liquid inside the extruder.
2
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
[0013] Cleaning composition particulates are also called cleaning particulates herein; there is no difference in meaning.
Likewise cleaning composition tablets or precursors are also called cleaning tablets or precursors herein; water-softening
composition particulates are also called water-softening particulates herein; and water-softening composition tablets or
precursors are also called water-softening tablets or precursors herein.
[0014] In accordance with the first aspect of the invention the extrusion pressure is not defined. It can be whatever is
required to carry out the method in an efficient manner. Suitably it is in excess of 0.3 MPa, preferably in excess of 0.5
MPa, and more preferably is in excess of 0.8 MPa. More preferably still it is in excess of 1.2 MPa. Yet more preferably
the pressure is in excess of 2 MPa. Most preferably (and also in accordance with the.first aspect) it is in excess of 4 MPa.
[0015] A low shear configuration of the extruder may be achieved by using low shear elements on the extruder screws
and by providing only a small amount of overlap between the screws (a large amount of overlap means narrow spaces
between screws, which in turn means high shear forces. Alternatively or additionally a low shear configuration may be
achieved by using transport screws, suitably having an even pitch and predominantly forward pitch. Preferably a low
shear configuration in this invention means there are no or only insubstantial reverse screw portions and/or no or only
an insubstantial mixing zone, in each case preferably shortly downstream of a position where a binder is added to the
extruder (if added separately). Preferably the barrel extruder length is short, preferably not more than 75 cm, to minimise
shear forces.
[0016] A forming (or paste) extruder may be, for example, a single screw extruder in an oversized barrel, or (preferably)
a twin screw extruder in which the screws do not overlap, or a twin screw extruder in which there is one screw and one
"blank", for example a cylindrical body instead of a second screw. Shear forces are thereby low.
[0017] A twin-screw extruder may be used in the invention, preferably configured for low shear operation.
[0018] In a twin screw extruder of any aspect of the present invention, the screws preferably counter-rotate.
[0019] The one (or more) strands are separated into tablets, or partially separated, shortly after their extrusion. If
partially separated (for example formed with score lines) they may later be separated, for example by the consumer
breaking them apart. Thus, the invention does not involve the separation of the one or more strands into small pieces
which are then rounded, and compacted with other pieces, into a cleaning or water-softening tablet.
[0020] The one or more strands are separated into tablets shortly after their extrusion, as-extruded or after postextrusion enhancement. In experimental work we have found that simply by extruding and cutting, tablets of good quality
are obtained, having an outer skin or shell of smooth or glassy appearance, and a core which, when the tablets are
broken into two pieces, has the appearance of a consolidated particulate material. This is a good structure because the
tablet’s external appearance is of a type which has consumer acceptance, and may be low dusting, pleasant to handle
and "finished-looking", whereas the granularity of the core may aid good break-up and dissolution in wash water.
[0021] Cutting is preferably effected by a sliding cut, for example by a sliding cut, preferably by a reciprocating or
rotating knife. The cutting tool may have teeth, so as to effect a saw cut. An alternative cutting method is a straight down
"push-cut" e.g. guillotining. Cutting may take place when strands have cooled to ambient temperature (which may be
naturally or by blowing ambient air or by use of cooled air) or when they are in an intermediate state between extrusion
and ambient temperature, between "just extruded" (normally somewhat pasty and so with a risk of smearing and/or
deforming), and fully set/cooled (normally somewhat rigid and so with a risk of crushing and/or crumbling). Preferably
cutting is carried out from 1 minute to 20 minutes after extrusion, preferably from 2 to 10 minutes.
[0022] As noted above, consumers often expect cleaning tablets of this type to have visually distinct zones, for example
achieved by having different layers, inserts or the like. To a certain extent such effects can be achieved through the
extrusion process itself, but other effects may be achieved by steps taken between extrusion and separation into tablets.
Examples of ways in which a tablet may be made, in accordance with the present invention, yet with zones of different
properties, will now be described.
[0023] In one simple example there may be co-extrusion, side-by-side extruders extruding strands of different materials
(preferably two, three or more). The two or more strands may be brought together during or shortly after their extrusion
to form a consolidated strand of two or more-layer or side-by-side form. Preferably, however, a tablet of the present
invention is extruded through a single die. Multiphase extrusion, though not excluded, is not preferred in this invention.
It is considered preferable to effect any enhancement which is required by a post-extrusion step or steps, for example
to give two or more zones.
[0024] Another way in which two zones can be achieved is by post-extrusion enhancement of a strand or strands.
[0025] One way in which post-extrusion enhancement could be carried out is by laying a separately-formed insert
body onto or into a surface, typically an upper surface, of a strand. Typically the strand will be able to keep its own shape
yet will be somewhat soft when it comes out of the extruder. An insert body, which could be a strip, could be pressed
against or somewhat into the strand. Furthermore if the insert body were thinner than the strand, so that the strand had
either one or two lateral "wings" extending beyond the insert body, the or each wing could be folded over the insert body
in order to form an envelope structure (like a sausage roll).
[0026] Another way of effecting post-extrusion enhancement is to deposit a "pill" on a strand, at intervals. The strand
advance rate would be constant. The pill deposit rate can be made constant, and the line can be set up so that tablets
3
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
are separated in the regions between adjoining pills.
[0027] Another way of effecting post-extrusion enhancement is by partially or wholly coating the or each strand with
a settable liquid composition. The coating could be partial, for example of an upper or lower region only, or it could be
complete. The selection may depend on the aesthetics required and/or whether the coating delivers active cleaning
components, and if so in what amounts such components are required.
[0028] Another possibility for post-extrusion enhancement is to take two or more strands, preferably from separate
extruders, and twist them about each other or, preferably, to plait them.
[0029] In another embodiment strands could be twisted individually before being pressed together, at a time when
they are firm enough to be pressed together without their twisted shape being flattened, yet still with some plasticity, to
enable them to stay together.
[0030] It will be appreciated that using an extrusion method it is easy to produce tablets which have a through-bore.
Into such a through-bore, a second material could be inserted. In fact, this could be by post-extrusion enhancement, of
the type mentioned above, shortly after extrusion, or by a later insertion of the material. Alternatively such a cavity could
be left open. This could be for aesthetic reasons, but the provision of such a cavity, though which the wash water can
easily flow, may be expected to improve the tablet’s dissolution rate.
[0031] In another embodiment a strand could be cut and each cut part formed into a shape, for example rolled in a
ballformer, of the type used in the confectionery industry. With suitable texturing and/or colouring the tablet could be
made to denote a different article, for example a fruit, e.g. an orange or lemon, a football or a bottle, or any other shape
having an axis of symmetry about which the article may be turned, without yielding any visible change of orientation.
Ball forming could be applied to solid strands and to hollow strands.
[0032] There are certain materials which may prove to be difficult to extrude because of their degradation under typical
extrusion conditions. Examples might be expected to include oxygen bleaching compounds, and enzymes. It will be
appreciated that post-extrusion enhancement which involves the addition of a separate material to the extruded strand
or strands, offers a way of incorporating such compounds, without risking their degradation. Even if extrusion is effected
at an elevated temperature which a particular material may not tolerate, the temperature of any strand will fall quickly,
such that a temperature sensitive compound may soon be added. With the method described herein there is not thought
to be any difficulty in the retention of efficacy of oxygen bleaches or enzymes, when incorporated into extruded strands,
in the manner described.
[0033] Preferably the or each strand issues from the extruder in a self-supporting but plastic condition. At this point it
may be manipulated into other shapes.
[0034] Preferably the strand which issues from the extruder hardens over a sufficient time span to allow for any postextrusion enhancement which is required to take place, and the separation into tablets. Typically the strand material
changes from being plastic to non-plastic. The interval for this change is preferably less than 12 minutes, preferably less
than 8 minutes, under ambient, still conditions. The interval may be substantially shorter under assisted cooling conditions,
such as provision of a draught and/or cooled air, for example in a cooling tunnel.
[0035] For the purposes of this definition we regard the transition from plastic to non-plastic as taking place when a
strand portion 30 cm in length subjected to bending between a person’s hands fails in fracture, rather than bends.
[0036] Preferably the temperature of the material within the extruder does not exceed 95°C, preferably 85°C, at any
time. More preferably it does not exceed 80°C. Still more preferably it does not exceed 75°C. Most preferably it does
not exceed 70°C. However, it is desired that the temperature of the material exceeds the ambient air temperature.
Preferably the temperature of material within the extruder is at least 40°C, more preferably at least 45°C, and most
preferably at least 50°C.
[0037] Once the or each strand has issued from the extruder it may be permitted to cool under ambient conditions.
Alternatively cooling may be assisted. One way in which this may be done is by employing a cooled metal belt onto
which the or each strand issues. Another way in which this may be done is by using a cooled fluid, preferably cooled
air, downstream of the extruder. Another way is by blowing a fluid, preferably air, across the or each strand. One or more
of these methods may be used. In one embodiment all of these methods are used together, in that cooled air is blown
across the or each strand immediately downstream of the extruder, and the or each strand advances onto a cooled
metal conveyor belt.
[0038] Preferably the or each strand is separated into tablets, during the manufacture.
[0039] Although the tablets are preferably separated by cutting, other separation methods, for example twisting, are
not ruled out. A method may be envisaged whereby the strand is twisted at intervals when still plastic, to form "sausages",
which can be separated by breaking the connections, once they have become more brittle. Partial cutting or pressing
or nipping or perforating (all such methods collectively called "scoring" herein) to form frangible separation webs, may
also be employed, to form tablet precursors. Separation of the precursors to produce tablets may be effected during
manufacture or by the consumer, manageable lengths being provided from which the consumer breaks or twists off
tablets as required. A tablet precursor may be, for example, a straight row of tablets, to be broken off as needed.
[0040] Preferably strands are separated or scored from one side of the strands to the other, suitably transversely to
4
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
their length, and preferably substantially perpendicularly to their length.
[0041] The tablets may be like a box in shape and proportion. However they may also be cylindrical. Such shapes
are suitable when the tablets are intended to be consumed in one cleaning operation.
[0042] The tablets may alternatively be intended to last through several washes of a ware-washing machine, preferably
at least three washes; and preferably up to eight washes, especially up to eight washes. Such tablets may suitably be
in the form of a stick or rail in shape.
[0043] Preferably the tablets weigh at least 10g, and more preferably at least 15g.
[0044] Preferably the tablets weigh up to 60g, more preferably not more than 45g, most preferably not more than 40g.
However if the tablets are in the form of a stick or rail, which is intended to last through several washes of a ware-washing
machine, they may weigh up to 300g, preferably up to 150g.
[0045] Preferably the volume of each tablet is at least 8 cm3, more preferably at least 12 cm3.
[0046] Preferably the volume of each tablet does not exceed 40 cm3, and more preferably does not exceed 35 cm3.
However in the case of tablets intended to last through several washes of a ware-washing machine, for example tablets
in the form of a stick or rail, they may have a larger volume. The volume of such tablets may suitably be up to 250cm3,
preferably up to 120cm3.
[0047] The definitions of weight and volume given above refer to a final tablet, as-extruded or after post-extrusion
enhancement, as applicable. If the post-extrusion, enhancement adds weight, the values include the weight of the
additional material.
[0048] The lubricant is used in the premix to aid the flow of material into the extruder. A preferred lubricant is a liquid.
In principle many materials are suitable as a liquid lubricant. One preferred class of materials is sucrose esters. Preferably
the ester moiety thereof has 8 to 24 carbon atoms, more preferably 12 to 22. Preferably the ester moiety is linear.
Preferably the ester moiety is aliphatic. Preferably it is saturated or has one double bond. The compound may be
alkoxylated (preferably ethoxylated) but preferably is not. Examples include sucrose esters, for example selected from
sucrose palmitate, sucrose laurate and sucrose oleate. Other suitable materials include sorbitan esters, for example
selected from sorbitan oleate and sorbitan laurate. Preferably the ester moiety thereof has 8 to 24 carbon atoms, more
preferably 10 to 20. Preferably the ester moiety is linear. Preferably the ester moiety is aliphatic. Preferably it is saturated
or has one double bond. They may be alkoxylated (preferably ethoxylated) but preferably are not. Especially preferred
are sorbitan monooleates, whether alkoxylated (preferably ethoxylated) or non-alkoxylated. Particularly good results
have been obtained using a combination of non-ethoxylated sorbitan mono-oleate and ethoxylated sorbitan tri-oleate.
Other promising lubricants include adducts of low molecular weight polyalkylene glycols and fatty acid esters, for example
PEG 600 mono-oleate, and PEG 600 mono-laurate
[0049] Certain materials useful as lubricants also have beneficial detergency properties. These include sorbitan esters
and sucrose esters.
[0050] Preferably the lubricant is present in an amount of at least 0.5% w/w, more preferably at least 1% w/w, and
most preferably at least 1.5% w/w.
[0051] Preferably the lubricant is present in an amount up to 4% w/w, more preferably up to 3% w/w, and most
preferably up to 2.5% w/w. These amounts are based on the content of the lubricant compound(s) in the total weight of
the material which is eventually extruded.
[0052] Preferably the lubricant is a liquid at room temperature (eg 20°C) so that no heating is effected, prior to its
mixing with the cleaning composition powder components. However, the use of a lubricant which requires heating before
addition to the premix is not excluded. Nor is use of a lubricant which provides lubrication in the solid state.
[0053] Suitably the lubricant is provided as an aqueous dispersion, emulsion or, preferably solution.
[0054] Sucrose esters have proved to be especially effective as lubricants. We are not aware of these compounds
having been used as a lubricant for cleaning composition particles, or any other particles.
[0055] Preferably the premix is still a flowable powder after mixing with the lubricant. It may, however, have a slightly
damp feel.
[0056] The binder is a material which is a solid at room temperature but which has a melting point at a moderate
elevated temperature. Preferably the melting point is at least 30°C, and more preferably 40°C. Preferably the melting
point does not exceed 70°C, and more preferably does not exceed 60°C. Such a binder fluidises the material in the
extruder and helps it to advance, in the right physical condition to give a good-quality, consistent, extruded strand; yet,
as the strand cools, it solidifies and helps to bind the material together.
[0057] By "room temperature" in this specification we mean 20°C.
[0058] Suitable materials for the binder are glycols, especially polyethylene glycol (PEG). Preferred is PEG having a
molecular weight in the range 1000-10000, more preferably 1200-4000, and especially 1500-3000. One favoured grade
of PEG is PEG 1500. This has a melting point of 47°C.
[0059] Preferably said binder is present in an amount of at least 2% w/w, preferably at least 3% w/w, preferably at
least 4% w/w, more preferably at least 6% w/w, and most preferably at least 7% w/w. Preferably said binder is present
in an amount of up to 18% w/w, more preferably up to 15% w/w, and most preferably up to 12% w/w. These amounts
5
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
10
15
20
25
are based on content of the binder compound(s) in the total weight of the material which is extruded.
[0060] By the use of the term "cleaning composition" we mean a mixture of at least two or more ingredients selected
from: surfactant, builder, filler, bleach (optionally containing also bleach activator and/or a bleach catalyst) and enzyme.
The cleaning composition may contain other minor ingredients such as dye, fragrance and optical brighteners.
[0061] By use of the term "water-softening composition" we mean a mixture of a water-softening active(s) with other
compounds selected from those mentioned in the previous paragraph, or elsewhere in this specification.
[0062] By the use of the term "particulate" we mean that feedstock for the premix contains a proportion of ingredients
that are solid at 20°C and are in the form of particles. Preferably the particles are of no greater average size than 1500
Pm, 1200 Pm, 1000 Pm, 800 Pm and 700 Pm. Preferred lower limits of average particle size are greater than 50 Pm,
100 Pm or 150 Pm. In these definitions particle size is the d50 particle size (the median weight particle diameter, at
which 50 wt% of the particles are greater than and 50 wt% of the particles are smaller than the d50 particle size).
[0063] Proportions of particulates present in the premix that are solid at 20°C are greater than 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%
or 60% w/w; maximum levels are less than 95%, 90%, 75% and 60% w/w.
[0064] It is a surprising feature of the present invention that particulate materials, typically hard crystalline materials
of high melting point, may be extruded efficiently, even with a small proportion of liquid and/or liquefied materials, without
causing premature damage to the extrusion equipment.
[0065] Preferred proportions of particulate that remain in the solid state during the operating pressure and temperature
of the extrusion machine are greater than 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% w/w, ideal maxima less than 95%, 85%, 75%
and 65% w/w.
[0066] Cleaning or water-softening tablets herein in granular form typically limit water content, for example to less
than 7% free water, for better storage stability.
[0067] Examples of cleaning particulates that remain in a solid state during the operating pressure and temperature
of the extrusion machine are materials that undergo brittle fracture under compression. Examples include inorganic
compounds such as zeolites, silicates, phosphates, carbonates and bicarbonates (sometimes called builders when used
in washing compositions).
[0068] Examples of water-softening particulates may include
A) homo or co polymers of the following monomeric units or salts thereof - acrylic acids, maleic acids, sulfonic acids
or phosphonics acid; and/or
30
B) citrate salts, for example alkali metal citrates, and especially sodium citrate.
[0069]
[0070]
Preferably a compound of class A) and a compound of class B) are both present in a water-softening composition.
Additional beneficial compounds in a water-softening composition include one or more of:
35
(1) ion exchange agents, including alkali metal (preferably sodium) aluminosilicates, either crystalline, amorphous
or a mixture of the two;
40
(2) ion capture agents - agents which prevent metal ions from forming insoluble salts or reacting with surfactants,
such as polyphosphate, monomeric polycarbonates, such as citric acid or salts thereof, EDTA, algins, alginates; and
(3) anti-nucleating agents - agents which prevent seed crystal growth, such as polycarbonate polymers, such as
polyacrylates, acrylic/maleic copolymers, and acrylic phosphonates, and sulfonates.
45
50
55
[0071] If the tablet is for use in laundry washing, it may typically comprise, for example, a bleach, stain remover, watersoftener, enzyme or fabric conditioner, in addition to the cleaning composition. The tablet may be designed to release
components at different times during the laundry wash. For example, a bleach or fabric conditioner is generally released
at the end of a wash, and a water-softener is generally released at the start of a wash. An enzyme may be released at
the start or the end of a wash.
[0072] If the tablet is for use in dishwashing it may comprise, for example, a water-softener, salt, enzyme, rinse aid,
bleach or bleach activator. The tablet may be designed to release the components at different times during the wash
cycle. For example, a rinse aid, bleach or bleach activator is generally released at the end of a wash, and a watersoftener, salt or enzyme is generally released at the start of a wash.
[0073] The components of a cleaning tablet depend on its intended use. Generally, the tablet may contain surface
active agents such as an anionic, non-ionic, cationic, amphoteric or zwitterionic surface active agents or mixtures thereof.
[0074] Examples of anionic surfactants are straight-chained or branched alkyl sulfates and alkyl polyalkoxylated sulfates, also known as alkyl ether sulfates. Such surfactants may be produced by the reaction of sulfates with higher (e.g.
C8-C20) fatty alcohols.
6
EP 1 651 747 B1
[0075]
Examples of primary alkyl sulfate surfactants are those of formula:
ROSO3-M+
5
wherein R is a linear C8-C20 hydrocarbyl group and M is a water-solubilising cation. Preferably R is C10-C16 alkyl, for
example C12-C14, and M is alkali metal such as lithium, sodium or potassium.
[0076] Examples of secondary alkyl sulfate surfactants are those which have the sulfate moiety on a "backbone" of
the molecule, for example those of formula:
CH2(CH2)n(CHOSO3-M+) (CH2)mCH3
10
wherein m and n are independently 2 or more, the sum of m+n typically being 6 to 20, for example 9 to 15, and M is a
water-solubilising cation such as lithium, sodium or potassium.
[0077] Especially preferred secondary alkyl sulfates are the (2,3) alkyl sulfate surfactants of formulae:
15
CH2(CH2)x(CHOSO3-M+)CH3
and
20
CH3(CH2)x(CHOSO3-M+)CH2CH3
for the 2-sulfate and 3-sulfate, respectively. In these formulae x is at least 4, for example 6 to 20, preferably 10 to 16.
M is cation, such as an alkali metal, for example lithium, sodium or potassium.
[0078] Examples of alkoxylated alkyl sulfates are ethoxylated alkyl sulfates of the formula:
25
RO(C2H4O)nSO3-M+
30
35
wherein R is a C8-C20 alkyl group, preferably C10-C18 such as a C12-C16, n is at least 1, for example from 1 to 20,
preferably 1 to 15, especially 1 to 6, and M is a salt-forming cation such as lithium, sodium, potassium, ammonium,
alkylammonium or alkanolammonium. These compounds can provide especially desirable fabric cleaning performance
benefits when used in combination with alkyl sulfates.
[0079] The alkyl sulfates and alkyl ether sulfates will generally be used in the form of mixtures comprising varying
alkyl chain lengths and, if present, varying degrees of alkoxylation.
[0080] Other anionic surfactants which may be employed are salts of fatty acids, for example C8-C18 fatty acids,
especially the sodium or potassium salts, and alkyl, for example C8-C18, benzene sulfonates.
[0081] Examples of non-ionic surfactants are fatty acid alkoxylates, such as fatty acid ethoxylates, especially those
of formula:
R(C2H4O)nOH
40
45
50
55
wherein R is a straight or branched C8-C16 alkyl group, preferably a C9-C15, for example C10-C14, alkyl group and n is
at least 1, for example from 1 to 16, preferably 2 to 12, more preferably 3 to 10.
[0082] The alkoxylated fatty alcohol non-ionic surfactant will frequently have a hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB)
which ranges from 3 to 17, more preferably from 6 to 15, most preferably from 10 to 15.
[0083] Examples of fatty alcohol ethoxylates are those made from alcohols of 12 to 15 carbon atoms and which contain
about 7 moles of ethylene oxide. Such materials are commercially marketed under the trademarks NEODOL 25-7 and
NEODOL 23-6.5 by Shell Chemical Company. Other useful compounds of this type include NEODOL 1-5, an ethoxylated
fatty alcohol averaging 11 carbon atoms in its alkyl chain with about 5 moles of ethylene oxide; NEODOL 23-9, an
ethoxylated primary C12-C13 alcohol having about 9 moles of ethylene oxide; and NEODOL 91-10, an ethoxylated C9-C11
primary alcohol having about 10 moles of ethylene oxide.
[0084] Alcohol ethoxylates of this type have also been marketed by Shell Chemical Company under the DOBANOL
trademark. DOBANOL 91-5 is an ethoxylated C9-C11 fatty alcohol with an average of 5 moles ethylene oxide and
DOBANOL 25-7 is an ethoxylated C12-C15 fatty alcohol with an average of 7 moles of ethylene oxide per mole of fatty
alcohol.
[0085] Other examples of suitable ethoxylated alcohol non-ionic surfactants include TERGITOL 15-S-7 and TERGITOL
15-S-9, both of which are linear secondary alcohol ethoxylates available from Union Carbide Corporation. TERGITOL
15-S-7 is a mixed ethoxylated product of a C11-C15 linear secondary alkanol with 7 moles of ethylene oxide and TERGITOL
15-S-9 is the same but with 9 moles of ethylene oxide.
7
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
[0086] Other suitable alcohol ethoxylated non-ionic surfactants are NEODOL 45-11, which is a similar ethylene oxide
condensation products of a fatty alcohol having 14-15 carbon atoms and the number of ethylene oxide groups per mole
being about 11. Such products are also available from Shell Chemical Company.
[0087] Further non-ionic surfactants are, for example, C10-C18 alkyl polyglycosides, such as C12-C16 alkyl polyglycosides. These are especially useful when high foaming compositions are desired. Further surfactants are polyhydroxy
fatty acid amides, such as C10-C18 N-(3-methoxypropyl) glycamides and ethylene oxide-propylene oxide block polymers
of the Pluronic type.
[0088] Examples of cationic surfactants are those of the quaternary ammonium type.
[0089] The total content of surfactants in the tablet is desirably 60 to 95 wt%, especially 75 to 90 wt%. Desirably an
anionic surfactant is present in an amount of 50 to 75 wt%, the nonionic surfactant is present in an amount of 5 to 50
wt%, and/or the cationic surfactant is present in an amount of from 0 to 20 wt%, by weight of tablet.
[0090] The tablets, particularly when used as laundry washing or dishwashing tablets, may also independently comprise
enzymes, such as protease, lipase, amylase, cellulase and peroxidase enzymes. Such enzymes are commercially
available and sold, for example, under the registered trade marks ESPERASE, ALCALASE and SAVINASE by Nova
Industries A/S and MAXATASE by International Biosynthetics, Inc. Desirably the enzymes are independently present
in the tablets in an amount of from 0.5 to 3 wt%, especially 1 to 2 wt%, when added as commercial preparations they
are not pure and this represents an equivalent amount of 0.005 to 0.5 wt% of pure enzyme. As mentioned above they
can be incorporated after extrusion if wished.
[0091] The tablets may, if desired, comprise a thickening agent or gelling agent. Suitable thickeners are polyacrylate
polymers such as those sold under the trade mark CARBOPOL, or the trade mark ACUSOL by Rohm and Haas Company.
Other suitable thickeners are xanthan gums. The thickener, if present, is generally present in an amount of from 0.2 to
4 wt%, especially 0.5 to 2 wt%.
[0092] Tablets used in dishwashing independently usually comprise a detergency builder. The builders counteract the
effects of calcium, or other ion, water hardness. Examples of such materials are citrate, succinate, malonate, carboxymethyl succinate, carboxylate, polycarboxylate and polyacetyl carboxylate salts, for example with alkali metal or alkaline
earth metal cations, or the corresponding free acids. Specific examples are sodium, potassium and lithium salts of
oxydisuccinic acid, mellitic acid, benzene polycarboxylic acids, C10-C22 fatty acids and citric acid. Other examples are
organic phosphonate type sequestering agents such as those sold by Monsanto under the trade mark DEQUEST and
alkylhydroxy phosphonates. Citrate salts and C12-C18 fatty acid soaps are preferred. Further builders are: phosphates
such as sodium, potassium or ammonium salts of mono-, di- or tri-poly or oligo-phosphates; zeolites; silicates, amorphous
or structured, such as sodium, potassium or ammonium salts.
[0093] Other suitable builders are polymers and copolymers known to have builder properties. For example, such
materials include appropriate polyacrylic acid, polymaleic acid, and polyacrylic/polymaleic and copolymers and their
salts, such as those sold by BASF under the trade mark SOKALAN. The builder is desirably present in an amount of up
to 90 wt%, preferably 15 to 90 wt%, more preferably 15 to 75 wt%, relative to the total weight of the tablet. Further details
of suitable components are given in, for example, EP-A-694,059, EP-A-518,720 and WO 99/06522.
[0094] The tablets can also optionally comprise one or more additional ingredients. These include conventional cleaning
composition components such as further surfactants, bleaches, bleach enhancing agents, builders, suds boosters or
suds suppressors, anti-tarnish and anticorrosion agents, organic solvents, co-solvents, phase stabilisers, emulsifying
agents, preservatives, soil suspending agents, soil release agents, germicides, pH adjusting agents or buffers, nonbuilder alkalinity sources, chelating agents, clays such as smectite clays, enzyme stabilizers, anti-limescale agents,
colourants, dyes, hydrotropes, dye transfer inhibiting agents, brighteners, and perfumes. If used, such optional ingredients
will generally constitute no more than 10 wt%, for example from 1 to 6 wt%, of the total weight of the tablets.
[0095] Tablets which comprise an enzyme may optionally contain materials which maintain the stability of the enzyme.
Such enzyme stabilizers include, for example, polyols such as propylene glycol, boric acid and borax. Combinations of
these enzyme stabilizers may also be employed. If utilized, the enzyme stabilizers generally constitute from 0.1 to 1
wt% of the tablets.
[0096] Preferred dishwashing tablets are adapted to be used in automatic dish washing machines. Due to their specific
requirements specialised formulation is required and these are illustrated below.
[0097] Amounts of the ingredients can vary within wide ranges, however preferred automatic dishwashing cleaning
composition tablets herein (which typically have a 1% aqueous solution pH of above 8, more preferably from 9.5 to 12,
most preferably from 9.5 to 10.5) are those wherein there is present: from 5% to 90%, preferably from 5% to 75%, of
builder; from 0.1% to 40%, preferably from 0.5% to 30%, of bleaching agent; from 0.1% to 15%, preferably from 0.2%
to 10%, of the surfactant system; from 0.0001% to 1%, preferably from 0.001% to 0.05%, of a metal-containing bleach
catalyst; and from 0.1% to 40%, preferably from 0.1% to 20% of a water-soluble silicate. Such fully-formulated embodiments typically further comprise from 0.1% to 15% of a polymeric dispersant, from 0.01% to 10% of a chelant, and from
0.00001% to 10% of a detersive enzyme, though further additional or adjunct ingredients may be present.
[0098] Non-ionic surfactants useful in ADW (Automatic Dish Washing) tablets of the present invention desirably include
8
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
10
15
20
surfactant(s) at levels of from 2% to 60% of the composition. In general, bleach-stable surfactants are preferred. Nonionic surfactants generally are well known, being described in more detail in Kirk Othmer’s Encyclopedia of Chemical
Technology, 3rd Ed., Vol. 22, pp. 360-379, "Surfactants and Detersive Systems", incorporated by reference herein.
[0099] Preferably an ADW tablet comprises at least one non-ionic surfactant. One class of non-ionics are ethoxylated
non-ionic surfactants prepared by the reaction of a monohydroxy alkanol or alkylphenol with 6 to 20 carbon atoms with
preferably at least 12 moles, particularly preferably at least 16 moles, and still more preferably at least 20 moles of
ethylene oxide per mole of alcohol or alkylphenol.
[0100] Particularly preferred non-ionic surfactants are formed from a linear chain fatty alcohol with 16-20 carbon atoms
and at least 12 moles, particularly preferably at least 16 moles, and still more preferably at least 20 moles, of ethylene
oxide, per mole of alcohol.
[0101] According to one preferred embodiment the non-ionic surfactant additionally comprises propylene oxide (PO)
units in the molecule. Preferably the PO units constitute up to 25% by weight, preferably up to 20% by weight and still
more preferably up to 15% by weight of the overall molecular weight of the non-ionic surfactant. Particularly preferred
surfactants are ethoxylated mono-hydroxy alkanols or alkylphenols, which additionally comprises polyoxyethylene-polyoxypropylene block copolymer units. The alcohol or alkylphenol portion of such surfactants constitutes more than 30%,
preferably more than 50%, more preferably more than 70% by weight of the overall molecular weight of the non-ionic
surfactant.
[0102] Another class of non-ionic surfactants includes reverse block copolymers of polyoxyethylene and polyoxypropylene and block copolymers of polyoxyethylene and polyoxypropylene initiated with trimethylolpropane.
[0103] Another preferred non-ionic surfactant can be described by the formula:
R1O[CH2CH(CH3)O]X[CH2CH2O]Y[CH2CH(OH)R2]
25
wherein R1 represents a linear or branched chain aliphatic hydrocarbon group with 4-18 carbon atoms or mixtures
thereof, R2 represents a linear or branched chain aliphatic hydrocarbon rest with 2-26 carbon atoms or mixtures thereof,
x has a value between 0.5 and 1.5 and y has a value of at least 15.
[0104] Another group of preferred nonionic surfactants are the end-capped polyoxyalkylated non-ionics of formula:
R1O[CH2CH(R3)O]X[CH2]kCH(OH)[CH2]jOR2
30
35
40
wherein R1 and R2 represent linear or branched chain, saturated or unsaturated, aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbon
groups with 1-30 carbon atoms, R3 represents a hydrogen atom or a methyl, ethyl, n-propyl, iso-propyl, n-butyl, 2-butyl
or 2-methyl-2-butyl group, x has a value between 1 and 30 and, k and j have values between 1 and 12, preferably
between 1 and 5. When the value of x is ≥2 each R3 in the formula above can be different. R1 and R2 are preferably
linear or branched chain, saturated or unsaturated, aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbon groups with 6-22 carbon atoms,
where groups with 8 to 18 carbon atoms are particularly preferred. For the group R3 H, methyl or ethyl are particularly
preferred. Particularly preferred values for x are from 1 and 20, preferably from 6 to 15.
[0105] As described above, when x ≥2, each R3 in the formula can be different. For example, when x=3, the group
R3 could be chosen to build ethylene oxide (R3=H) or propylene oxide (R3=methyl) units which can be used in every
single order for example (PO) (EO) (EO), (EO) (PO) (EO), (EO) (EO) (PO), (EO) (EO) (EO), (PO) (EO) (PO), (PO) (PO)
(EO) and (PO) (PO) (PO). The value 3 for x is only an example and bigger values can be chosen whereby a higher
number of variations of (EO) or (PO) units would arise.
[0106] Particularly preferred end-capped polyoxyalkylated alcohols of the above formula are those where k=1 and j=1
originating molecules of simplified formula:
45
R1O[CH2CH(R3)O]XCH2CH(OH)CH2OR2
50
[0107] The use of mixtures of different non-ionic surfactants is particularly preferred in ADW formulations for example
mixtures of alkoxylated alcohols and hydroxy group containing alkoxylated alcohols.
[0108] A tablet disintegrant could be present in the tablets, for example a water-swellable cellulosic compound.
Preferably, however, a disintegrant is not present.
[0109] The invention will now be further described, by way of example, with reference to the following example sets.
Example Set 1
55
[0110]
This example set relates to the preparation of detergent tablets for an automatic dishwasher.
9
EP 1 651 747 B1
EQUIPMENT
5
10
15
[0111] A Clextral BC45 twin screw extruder with a 500 mm barrel was assembled with a small degree of screw overlap
and a screw geometry with predominantly forward pitch elements and low shear elements. An end plate has a polypropylene die with a single slot, of size 27mm x 14mm.
[0112] About the die slot there was a threaded part into which was screwed a piece of copper pipe, angled to feed
the extruded strand gently onto a take-off conveyer.
[0113] Liquid PEG 1500 was injected via its own inlet port at the feed end of the barrel using a Watson Marlow 503S
peristaltic pump. The PEG was maintained in liquid form by keeping it in a stainless steel tank within a temperature
controlled water bath. The amount of PEG in Example Set 1 was 11% w/w of the final composition.
[0114] The extrusion pressure was 5.1 MPa. This was measured by a GENTRAN TUFFGAGE GT-90-15M strain
gauge device, employing a mechanical diaphragm measuring device. The probe was located in the centre of the extruder
barrel 50 mm upstream of the upstream side of the die, in line with the die opening.
MATERIALS
[0115] The formulation of the powder mix (particulates) was as stated in the table below. The mixes were prepared
using a planetary mixer and a batch size of 15 kg (mixing time of 15 minutes).
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
Ingredient
Parts by weight
Sodium tripolyphosphate
3
Sodium carbonate
3
Sodium sulfate
2
Sodium silicate
1
[0116] The lubricant was sucrose oleate (formulated as 40% active, in water). The sucrose oleate was heated to
reduce its viscosity, weighed out, then introduced into the planetary mixer. The oleate was added at two levels, 4% and
5% w/w of its aqueous composition (equating to 1.6% w/w and 2% w/w sucrose oleate compound) and blended in well,
giving a moist feel to the particulates. This premixing appeared to make the extrusion process much more controllable
and to allow throughput to be significantly increased.
RESULTS
[0117] Samples were first produced using a powder that had been pre-lubricated with 5% w/w sucrose oleate composition (i.e. 2% w/w sucrose oleate compound), at throughputs of 66kg/hr and 78kg/hr respectively. The flow of extrudate
was extremely steady and yielded good quality products. We can describe these as single strands with smooth surfaces
and more granular, but consolidated, cores.
[0118] Further samples were produced using a powder premix lubricated by 4% w/w sucrose oleate composition (i.e.
1.6% sucrose oleate compound). The throughput was gradually increased to 144kg/hr. In all cases the extrudate was
very smooth and there was no surging through the die. The die head temperature gradually increased from 48 to 60°C
over the course of this work and it was felt that the extrudate became smoother as the head became warmer. The
operating screw speed was held constant at 75 rpm. Cooling was applied to the feed end of the barrel in order to keep
the extrudate temperature as low as possible, consistent with avoidance of blockages.
[0119] These examples were allowed to cool in ambient air until they were warm to the touch, but not fully cooled,
and then separated into tablets by transverse cuts, produced by a rotating circular saw.
Example Set 2
[0120] This example set relates to the preparation of detergent tablets for an automatic dishwasher.
[0121] The same equipment described in Example Set 1 was employed, and the same extrusion pressure. The cleaning
composition particulates, and the binder (PEG 1500) were the same as used in Example Set 1, and in the same amounts.
The tablets prepared were for use in an automatic dishwasher. The only difference was in some of the lubricants employed.
[0122] The lubricants were as follows:
CRILLET 4 - ethoxylated sorbitan monooleate, available from Croda
10
EP 1 651 747 B1
GLUCATE DO - a glucose dioleate ester, available from D F Anstead
TWEEN 85 - ethoxylated sorbitan trioleate, available from Fisher Chemicals
5
Sucrose oleate composition - 40% active sucrose oleate compound in water
SPAN 80 - non-ethoxylated sorbitan monooleate, available from Sigma Chemicals.
10
15
20
[0123] Sample A was made by mixing sucrose oleate composition with the liquid PEG binder (4% sucrose oleate
composition i.e. 1.6% sucrose oleate, and 11% PEG 1500, both by weight/weight of final composition). Extrusion was
steady, with a relatively low throughput of 54 kg/hr. The density of this extrusion was measured at 1.49 g/cm3, compared
with a density of 1.48 g/cm3 for a commercial product (Registered Trade Mark "FINISH").
[0124] Sample B was made by mixing CRILLET 4 with the liquid binder (1.1% CRILLET, 10% PEG, both by weight/
weight of final composition). The temperature of the extruder barrel was raised to just under 70°C and maintained using
a water bath. Screw speed was 80 rpm and a reasonable extrudate was obtained, albeit a little sticky.
[0125] Sample C was similar to Sample B, but the 1.1% w/w CRILLET 4 was replaced by 1% w/w of GLUCATE DO.
Steady extrusion was achieved, provided that throughput was not set too high.
[0126] Sample D was similar to Sample B, but the 1.1% w/w CRILLET 4 was replaced by 1% w/w of SPAN 80.
Throughput was measured at 51 kg/hr, and a good steady flow was achieved. However the material felt a little sticky.
[0127] Sample E was similar to Sample B, but the 1.1% w/w CRILLET 4 was replaced by 1% w/w of TWEEN 85.
Experiments were run at throughput rates of 54 kg/hr and 75 kg/hr and gave steady extrusion. The strands obtained
were considered to be of good quality. The density of the higher-throughput material was measured at 1.59 g/cm3.
[0128] These examples were allowed to cool in ambient air until they were warm to the touch, but not fully cooled,
and then separated into tablets by transverse cuts, produced by a rotating circular saw.
25
Example Set 3
[0129]
30
This example set relates to the preparation of water-softener tablets, for use in an automatic washing machine.
EQUIPMENT
[0130] The same equipment as described in Example Set 1 was employed, except that a circular extrusion die, 15
mm in diameter, was used. The pressure at the die head was in the range 4.1-4.8 MPa. The operating temperature was
held at 66-70°C along the barrel.
35
MATERIALS
[0131] The formulation of the components was as stated in the table below. The mixes were prepared using a planetary
mixer and a batch size of 15 Kg (mixing time of 10 minutes).
40
Ingredient
45
50
55
Parts by weight (%)
Ex.3A
Ex.3B
Ex.3C
Ex.3D
Trisodium citrate dihydrate (particulate)
56.0
56.1
56.3
56.3
Polyacrylate homopolymer (particulate)
22.5
22.5
22.6
22.6
Sodium sulfate (particulate)
8.3
8.3
8.3
8.3
PEG 600 Monolaurate (lubricant)
3.8
3.8
3.8
3.8
Sucrose palmitate (lubricant)
1,9
1.9
1.9
1.9
PEG 1500 (binder)
4.6
4.3
4.1
4.1
PEG 6000 (binder)
3.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
[0132] The lubricants are believed to be aqueous compositions containing 40% w/w of the active lubricant compounds
named.
[0133] The PEG 6000 monolaurate is warmed to liquify it, and the sucrose palmitate is blended with it.
11
EP 1 651 747 B1
[0134] As in the case of Example Sets 1 and 2 the lubricants were blended well with the particulates before feeding
the resulting premix to the extruder; and the binder was injected as a molten liquid, into the feed end of the extruder barrel.
RESULTS
5
10
[0135] A series of runs were carried out, at extrusion rates of 54 Kg/hr, (Ex. 3A tablet density: 1.43 g/cm3), 66 Kg/hr
(Ex. 3B tablet density 1.47 g/cm3), 90 Kg/hr (Ex. 3C tablet density 1.44 g/cm3) and 102 Kg/hr (Ex. 3D tablet density 1.48
g/cm3).
[0136] All materials extruded smoothly through the die.
[0137] These examples were allowed to cool in ambient air until they were warm to the touch, but not fully cooled,
and then separated into tablets by transverse cuts, produced by a rotating circular saw.
Example Set 4
15
[0138]
This example set relates to the preparation of water-softener tablets, for use in an automatic washing machine.
EQUIPMENT
20
[0139] The extrusion equipment and conditions were as described above for Example Set 3, except that the die head
opening was a plastics plate with a slot-like aperture, of size 27 mm by 7 mm, and the operating temperature across the
barrel was 64-76°C.
MATERIALS
25
[0140]
The materials were as follows:
Ingredient
30
35
40
45
50
55
Ex. 4A
(p/w)
Ex.4B
(p/w)
Trisodium citrate
dihydrate (particulate)
56.3
62.4
Polyacrylate homopolymer
(particulate)
22.6
25.0
Sodium sulfate
(particulate)
8.3
0
PEG 600 Mono-laurate 40%
active (lubricant)
1.9
2.1
Sucrose palmitate 40%
active (lubricant)
1.9
2.1
PEG 1500 (binder)
7.1
6.2
[0141] Tablets were formed as described above with reference to Examples Sets 3 and 1.
[0142] Example 4A employed a throughput of 96 Kg/hr. The tablets were of density 1.32 g/cm3. Example 4B employed
a throughput of 84 Kg/hr. The tablets were of density 1.2 g/cm3.
[0143] The dissolution characteristics of the tablets were assessed using a water bath fitted with a heating element
and a temperature probe. Four glass 1 litre beakers sit in the water bath. The device has a mechanical arm which is
connected to the four platforms. A tablet rests on each platform. The arm, when activated, "dunks" (i.e. lowers then
raises) the platforms, and thus the tablets are in and out of the glass beakers.
[0144] The tablets were assessed at three different temperatures. Firstly the beakers were filled with cold tap water
(∼ 18°C) and the heater was not used. Secondly the beakers were filled with warm tap water (∼ 45°C). The heater was
on low, so that the temperature fell only to 38°C over 47 minutes. Thirdly the beakers were filled with hot water (- 75°C)
and kept at that temperature for 47 minutes.
[0145] The results are set out in the table below.
12
EP 1 651 747 B1
5
Example
Dissolution at 18°C
Dissolution at 40°C
Dissolution at 70°C
Ex 4A
18.2% after 150 minutes
Complete after 47 minutes
Complete after 10 minutes
Ex 4B
22.2% after 150 minutes
Complete after 47 minutes
Complete after 9 minutes
[0146] The slow dissolution rate of the tablets in cold water may be a useful property. Such a tablet (including a bar)
may be suitable in effecting water softening over an extended period, in a cold water cleaning environment.
10
Example Set 5
[0147] This example set also relates to the preparation of water-softening tablets, for use in an automatic ware-washing
machine. The tablets had the following formulation.
15
Ingredient
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
Ex. 5
(p/w)
Trisodium citrate
dihydrate (particulate)
56.4
Polyacrylate homopolymer
(particulate)
22.6
Sodium sulfate
(particulate)
8.3
PEG 600 Mono-laurate
(lubricant)
3.8
Sucrose palmitate
(lubricant)
1.9
PEG 6000 (binder)
7.0
[0148] The extruder barrel and die head temperature were 90°C. In three runs, the throughput was 68, 90 and 110
Kg/hr, and in each case yielded a strand with a very smooth surface, which was separated into tablets by a guillotinelike chopping action. The tablet manufactured at a throughput rate of 90 kg/hr was subjected to cold water dissolution
testing as described above in Example Set 4. The results are shown in the following table.
Time (mins)
Cumulative loss in weight (%)
10
4.0
20
5.5
30
6.4
40
8.1
50
9.8
60
10.5
90
12.7
120
14.8
150
17.8
180
18.3
210
20,6
240
21.8
270
23.7
13
EP 1 651 747 B1
(continued)
5
Time (mins)
Cumulative loss in weight (%)
300
25.7
Claims
10
1.
a premix is made of cleaning or water-softening composition particulates and a lubricant;
the premix is fed into a feed port of an extruder; and
the resulting mixture is extruded;
15
wherein the extrusion is of one or more strands which are separated into tablets or scored into tablet precursors,
shortly after their extrusion, either as-extruded or after post-extrusion enhancement, wherein a binder is fed into the
extruder downstream of the feed port, the binder being a solid at room temperature but being mixed with the cleaning
or water-softening composition particles as a liquid for becoming a liquid inside the extruder.
20
2.
A method as claimed in claim 1 wherein the extrusion pressure is in the range from 0.3 MPa to 10 MPa.
3.
A method as claimed in claim 2 wherein the mixture is extruded at a pressure in excess of 1.2 MPa, more preferably
in excess of 4 MPa.
4.
A method as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the extruder is a twin screw extruder with screw overlap,
configured predominantly for extrudate advancement and not for mixing or shearing the extrudate.
5.
A method as claimed in any preceding claim wherein a strand is subjected to post-extrusion enhancement and / or
cooling.
6.
A method as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the temperature of the material in the extruder is in the range
from 40 to 95°C, preferably from 40 to 85°C.
7.
A method as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the lubricant is a liquid at room temperature.
8.
A method as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the lubricant comprises a sucrose ester, such as sucrose
oleate, or a sorbitan ester.
9.
A method as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the binder is a material which is solid at room temperature but
which is molten under the extrusion conditions, such as polyethylene glycol.
25
30
35
40
45
Patentansprüche
1.
50
55
A method of making tablets of a cleaning composition or of a water-softening composition or tablet precursors
therefor, wherein:
Verfahren zum Herstellen von Tabletten einer reinigenden Zusammensetzung oder einer wasserenthärtenden Zusammensetzung oder von Tablettenvorstufen dafür, wobei
eine Vormischung aus Partikeln der reinigenden oder wasserenthärtenden Zusammensetzung und einem Schmierstoff hergestellt wird;
die Vormischung in eine Einfüllöffnung eines Extruders gefüllt wird und
die entstehende Mischung extrudiert wird;
wobei die Extrusion in Form eines oder mehrerer Stränge erfolgt, die kurz nach ihrer Extrusion, entweder in ihrer
extrudierten Form oder nach einer im Anschluss an die Extrusion erfolgenden Weitergestaltung, zu Tabletten separiert oder zu Tablettenvorstufen gekerbt werden, wobei stromabwärtig von der Einfüllöffnung ein Bindemittel in
den Extruder gefüllt wird, wobei das Bindemittel bei Raumtemperatur ein Feststoff ist, jedoch mit den Partikeln der
reinigenden oder wasserenthärtenden Zusammensetzung als Flüssigkeit vermischt wird oder im Extruder zu einer
Flüssigkeit wird.
14
EP 1 651 747 B1
2.
Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei der Extrusionsdruck im Bereich von 0,3 MPa bis 10 MPa liegt.
3.
Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei die Mischung bei einem Druck von mehr als 1,2 MPa, besonders bevorzugt
mehr als 4 MPa, extrudiert wird.
4.
Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Extruder ein Doppelschneckenextruder mit
Überlagerung der Schnecken ist, der vornehmlich zum Extrudatvorschub und nicht zum Mischen oder Scheren des
Extrudats ausgestaltet ist.
5.
Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei ein Strang einer im Anschluss an die Extrusion
erfolgenden Weitergestaltung und/oder Abkühlung unterzogen wird.
6.
Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Temperatur des Stoffs in dem Extruder im
Bereich von 40 bis 95°C, bevorzugt von 40 bis 85°C liegt.
7.
Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Schmierstoff bei Raumtemperatur eine Flüssigkeit ist.
8.
Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Schmierstoff einen Sucroseester wie etwa
Sucroseoleat oder einen Sorbitanester umfasst.
9.
Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Bindemittel ein Stoff ist, der bei Raumtemperatur
fest ist, der aber unter den Extrusionsbedingungen geschmolzen wird, wie etwa Polyethylenglycol.
5
10
15
20
25
Revendications
1.
Un procédé pour faire des tablettes d’une composition de nettoyage ou d’une composition d’adoucissement de l’eau
ou un précurseur de tablette à cette fin, où
un pré mélange est fait de particules d’une composition de nettoyage ou d’adoucissement de l’eau et un lubrifiant ;
le pré mélange est mis dans un orifice d’introduction d’une extrudeuse ; et
le mélange résultant est extrudé ;
où l’extrusion est faite dans la forme d’un ou plusieurs brins qui sont séparés en tablettes ou entaillés en des
précurseurs de tablettes, peu après leur extrusion, soit dans leur forme à l’extrusion ou après développement post
extrusion, où un liant est introduit dans l’extrudeuse en amont de l’orifice d’introduction, le liant étant un solide à
température ambiante mais étant mélangé avec les particules de composition de nettoyage ou d’adoucissement
de l’eau en tant que liquide ou devenant un liquide dans l’extrudeuse.
2.
Un procédé comme revendiqué en revendication 1 où la pression d’extrusion est dans la fourchette de 0,3 MPa à
10 MPa.
3.
Un procédé comme revendiqué en revendication 2 où le mélange est extrudé à une pression de plus de of 1,2 MPa,
de préférence de plus de 4 MPa.
4.
Un procédé comme revendiqué dans l’une des revendications précédentes où l’extrudeuse est une extrudeuse à
double vis avec chevauchement de vis, configuré de manière prédominante pour l’avancement de l’extrudat et non
pour le mélange ou le cisaillement de l’extrudat.
5.
Un procédé comme revendiqué dans l’une des revendications précédentes où un brin est sujet à développement
post extrusion ou refroidissement.
6.
Un procédé comme revendiqué dans l’une des revendications précédentes où la température du matériau dans
l’extrudeuse est dans la fourchette de 40 à 95°C, de préférence de 40 à 85°C.
7.
Un procédé comme revendiqué dans l’une des revendications précédentes où le lubrifiant est un liquide à température
ambiante.
8.
Un procédé comme revendiqué dans l’une des revendications précédentes où le lubrifiant comprend un ester de
30
35
40
45
50
55
15
EP 1 651 747 B1
saccharose comme l’oléate de saccharose ou un ester de sorbitan.
9.
Un procédé comme revendiqué dans l’une des revendications précédentes où le liant est un matériau qui est solide
à température ambiante mais qui est fondu sous conditions d’extrusion, comme le glycol polyéthylénique.
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
16
EP 1 651 747 B1
REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION
This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader’s convenience only. It does not form part of the European
patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be
excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.
Patent documents cited in the description
•
•
•
•
•
DE 4010533 A [0004]
EP 1081219 A [0004]
DE 10134309 A [0004]
DE 19649565 A [0004]
DE 19848024 A [0004]
•
•
•
•
•
Non-patent literature cited in the description
•
Surfactants and Detersive Systems. Kirk Othmer’s
Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. vol. 22,
360-379 [0098]
17
EP 814152 A [0005] [0006]
WO 0102532 A [0007] [0008] [0009] [0009]
EP 694059 A [0093]
EP 518720 A [0093]
WO 9906522 A [0093]
Download PDF