Wet Wipe Machine: The Complete Guide
Investing in high quality and reliable wet wipe machine is a good idea.
But knowing the right specifications, working principle, application, components, and technology is even more important.
The market for personal hygiene wet wipe products is actually booming!
And today’s guide will help venture and take advantage of the existing opportunity by investing in the best wet wipe machine.
Let’s get started.
What is a Wet Wipe Machine?
As hinted by the name, wet wipes machine is industrial machinery that helps in the processing of nonwoven fabric to produce hygienic wet wipe.
It moistens the nonwoven cloths, cut it into desired sheets and then folds and wrap them for convenience.
The machine produces wet wipes for various uses including alcohol wet wipes, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, and chlorhexidine wipes among other specialty use wet wipes.
The production of the wet wipes by the machine begins by preparation of a cleansing solution, which you prepare by adding relevant ingredients to demineralized and sterilized water.
The special treatment of the water is crucial to keep the constituents free from pathogens.
The prepared wetting solution will get transported to the wet wipe machine where it will be used to impregnate the nonwoven fabric.
After that, the machine automatically folds and cuts the wet tissues.
Consequently, the go to the conveyor belt the equipment flow packs them.
Most wet wipes machines have colored touchscreen, PLC control systems and their operation can either be semi-automatic or fully automatic.
Wet wipe making machine – Photo courtesy: Zhauns
The having wetting system that pre-setting and dose automatically coupled with a pump reflux cleansing solution level control.
Typically, most wet wipe machines run on servo motor and their body made from stainless steel.
Applications of a Wet Wipe Machine
As the name suggests, wet wipes machines help in the manufacture of wet wipes.
These hygiene products can serve several personal and household purposes.
Even though marketed mainly for wiping the bottom of infants when changing diaper, you can as well use wet wipes to clean toilet seats, floors, and other surfaces around the house.
Let’s look at some of the hygiene products that can be produced by wet wipes machine.
1. Baby wipes
Baby wipes are wet wipes you use to clean infants’ sensitive skin.
Manufacturers normally saturate them solutions ranging from alcohol-based ‘cleaners’ too gentle cleansing ingredients.
Baby wipes are usually different pack counts (spanning from up to 80 or more sheets in each pack) and come with a means of dispensing.
2. Cleansing pads
Cleansing pads are fiber sponges previously soaked with alcohol, water and other active constituents for a specific intended purpose.
The pads are ready to use hygiene products offering simple and convenient solutions to get rid of dirt or other unwanted materials.
The beauty industry offers different kinds of cleansing pads namely:
- Anti-spot treatments pads
- Make-up removing pads
- Anti-acne pads
They commonly comprise of vitamins, menthol, salicylic acid, and other treatments.
Make up removal pads
Usually, you will find cleansing pads meant for preventing infection saturated with alcohol and stacked in sterile packages.
You may disinfect hands and instruments using these pads while dressing or treating wounds.
Often, you will find disinfecting cleansing pads included in first aid kits primarily for this purpose.
3. Pain relief pads
Pain relief pads are hygiene products you can manufacture using wet wipes machines.
Typically, the pads get saturated with benzocaine and alcohol.
Pain relief pads
The pain relief pads are effective for treating insect bites, minor burns, and scrapes.
They do this by disinfecting the injury and easing the itch and pain.
4. Healthcare wet wipes
You can find medical wet wipes for various uses.
These comprise of alcohol wet wipes, poricidal wipes, and chlorhexidine wipes (for disinfecting noninvasive medical devices and surfaces).
Health care wet wipes
You can use medical wet wipes to inhibit the spread of pathogens like the Clostridiumdifficile and Norovirus.
5. Industrial wet wipes
These are industrial-strength cleaning wipes.
Manufacturers normally pre-impregnate the wet wipes using powerful cleaning fluids that can cut across the dirt as the fabric absorbs the unwanted elements.
Industrial wet wipes
You can use industrial wet wipes to clean a broad range of tough elements from tools, surfaces, and hands.
The tough substances constitute of grease, adhesives, grime, silicone and acrylic sealants, tar, epoxy, poly foam, oil- and water-based paints, among others.
6. Personal hygiene wet wipes
These are the common types of wet wipes.
You will find them often constituted as part of a standard sealed cutlery package provided in hotels and restaurants or along with airline meals.
You will find these wet wipes included as part of a standard sealed cutlery package offered in restaurants or along with airline meals.
Personal hygiene wet wipes
Most places with public use such as service stations, toilets of restaurants, doctors’ offices, among other places will commonly these type of wet wipes dispensers.
Wet wipes have as well found use among outdoor music festival goers, specifically those who camp, as an option to communal showers.
Most people opt for wet wipes in situations of communal amenities, for which there exist long queues.
7. Pet care wet wipes
Today you can get wet wipes for pet care.
Pet wet wipe
For instance, dental, ear, or eye cleansing pads one can find wet wipes for pet care, for example, eye, ear, or dental cleansing pads ( having boric acid, sodium borate, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate) for birds, horses, dogs, and cats.
Types of Wet Wipe Machine
At the moment, there are so many wet wipe machine available in the market.
All you have to do is choose an appropriate machine.
Broadly, you can choose from any of the following:
· Semi-automatic Wet Wipes Machine
The construction of most semi-automatic wet wipes machines is 304 stainless steel with the surfaces getting in contact with typically made of 316 stainless steel.
The machine offers modest speed folding of Nonwoven fabric products including industrial-strength wet clothes, personal hygiene products, baby wipes, and other items.
The wet wipe machine provides exceptional accuracy in operation and provides flexibility in fold styles.
Semi-automatic wet wipe machines allow for the creation of numerous fold styles comprising of “Z,“ “C” and specialty folds.
Cutting is by a circular saw, with a servo controlled cut length having running adjustments for compensation of length because of wetting.
This feature gives the ability to offer exceptionally exact product lengths.
The wet wipe machine has a bath type wetting system, which is an automatic filling, sensor controlled liquid tank.
It has a sensitive liquid dosing system and does wetting online with actuator valve and flow meter.
The machine can convert web widths 20″ to 80″ to almost any fold size and cut length.
The rates of production rely on the number of lanes running and the width of the machine.
The production rates can go beyond 6000 pieces each minute on the broader semi-automatic machines with multiple lanes.
The reel changing of the machine is semi-automatic and sensor controlled, with the stacking station and conveyor delivering up to 100 stacks of finished wet wipes per minute.
The touch screen control panel displays the web speed, product counts, wetting saturation rate, production rate, among other data.
· Fully Automatic Wet Wipes Machine
The design of fully automatic wet wipes machines ensures top performance, efficiency, and versatility, ranging from 10-25 lanes.
The wet wipes machine can produce wipes in a broad range of dimensions with regards to width and length.
The machine is capable of producing a wide variety of wet wipes including adult wipes, car cleaning wipes, baby wipes, flushable wet toilet papers, wet tissue, cleaning and household wipes, industrial wipes, and heavy-duty wipes.
Fully automatic wet wipes machine allows for easy change over between different products.
This makes it exceptionally flexible and responsive to the needs of the market now and days to come.
“Perfect stack formation, outstanding overwrapping.”
Fully automatic wet wipes machine manufactures flat pack wet wipe items with feeding into the packaging unit done automatically.
Fully automatic wet wipe machine – Photo courtesy: RUIRUN
In this system, you need no human input during the entire manufacturing process.
Having exceptional hygienic properties with high capacity, this type of wet wipe machine is a worthy investment for your business.
The machine also enables the operator to carry out easy change-overs among various products.
Moreover, a precise impregnation system facilitates application of the wetting solution onto the nonwoven fabric with minimal deviation.
The output capacity of fully automatic wet wipes machines typically ranges from -15000 wipes per minute.
The machine has a user-friendly interface that allows for fully automatic and non-stop operation with high efficiency.
It offers a broad variety of product dimensions and folding options with a high level of hygiene and safety.
Fully automatic wet wipes machine produces minimum product waste and requires little human input with an upgradeable design to cater for future needs.
Components and Parts of a Wet Wipe Machine
As you have seen earlier, a wet wipe machine is an assembly of various components and accessories.
Although this section may not capture all the components, it will focus on the main parts.
Wet wipe machine parts – Photo courtesy: Packing machinery
i. Folding Machine
The nonwoven folding machine has a unique design for folding various types of wet wipes.
The average speed of production is up to 120 pieces per minute.
The equipment has a counter having interval controller installed in it.
ii. Slitter Rewinder
The design of the machine enables it to cut and rewind substances such as nonwoven fabric, both spun-laced and spun-bond.
It features a shaftless winding system and surface wind system, both having pneumatic actuated rider roll system.
Moreover, its PLC system fitted with HMI screen helps to program the process recipes.
Other features of the slitter rewinder system include:
- Unwinder having traction belts to maintain a precise and modulated loading of the material
- Lateral adjustment having power screws
- Pneumatic security chucks found on the unwinder
- Load cells necessary for tension control having a closed loop
- Tapper nip and tapper tension system
The equipment uses a palletizing robot which performs three roles.
It lifts a pallet and transfers it into position.
Secondly, it raises a slip sheet and positions it on top of the pallet, and finally lifts the designated amount of cases depending on the pattern of the pallet you are using and places them in a layer on top of the pallet.
The robot employs a vacuum gripper to pick up the cases and pallet and applies suction cups for the slip sheet.
The wet wipes palletizer has one primary control panel and uses HMI and PLC to modulate all the robots.
iv. Horizontal Form-Fill and Seal Machine
This is horizontal flow-rapping equipment that generates up to 100 packs per minute with hermetic seals out of a flat reel of heat seal packaging material.
The machine has a design specifically meant for modified atmospheric packaging (M.A.P).
v. Top loader case packer
The equipment automatically erects, feeds and encloses wrap around wet wipes boxes.
Here are some of the features of the top loader case packer:
- Flap-sealing of the cases using hot-melt tape or glue
- Large size range
- Easy and fast changeover for varying case dimensions
- Compact and accessible case packing machinery
- Case packer in a position to handle different packaging models
- Wrap around having shortened flaps
- Full wrap around
vi. Vertical Form-Fill and Seal Machine
The machine is an automatic line, modeled for packing of wet wipes in a single package.
The machine folds separate in packages, wets, and packs the wipes by a complete automatic cycle.
A thermo-regulator and programmable controller manages the cycle.
vii. Wet Wipes Packaging Line
The packaging line consists of a horizontal packaging machine and film preparation unit.
The packaging machine has automatic in-line feeder fitted with calibrating conveyor.
Arrangement of the film preparation unit is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the packaging machine though, you can as well install at the right angle to the front or back, and its components include:
- Double reel holder shaft having an automatic reel splicer.
- Servo driven film die cut unit necessary in creating the pack opening.
- Two labeling machines: one of them is on standby, used for the placing of the package re-sealing label.
- Longitudinal fin seal unit made up of: a set of preheating bars, double sets of different tilting pulling wheels, cold pulling wheels and trimming equipment having mechanical trim rewind.
viii. Camera Quality Control Unit
The unit facilitates continuous analysis of the process of production such as excessive strain on the wet wipes.
The creases or areas with material accumulation, for instance, may have harmful repercussions.
Such defects may result in functional impairment of the absorption capability of the wet wipes.
The camera quality control unit provides a constant evaluation of the forces applied and their graphical depiction shown in a 3D diagram.
The unit has sensors evenly distributed throughout the surface of the wet wipes.
This makes it possible to observe these forces and their distribution on the surface in a resolution of <10 mm.
The technique optimizes parameters of the production process for you for compressible products, if necessary.
ix. Wetting System
The moistening system is a linear automatic liquid filling machine used mainly during the process of wetting the nonwoven fabric rolls.
You can easily adjust the machine to fill several volumes with a high variety of viscosities.
x. Labelling System
Servo and pneumatics systems offer the right solution for applying various kinds of labels to a myriad of wet wipe packages.
The labeling machines can apply any self-adhesive label, for example, paper, transparent, opaque, PE, P, among other materials.
xi. Lid applicator
Modern lid applicators apply the latest technology in their operation.
High-speed lid applicator machines recognize the packaging using artificial vision.
A high-speed robot picks up the lids, and by way of a synchronized movement spread glue to the lid using a hot melt glue gun prior to pressing the lid softly onto the pack.
Using hot melt adhesive, it is possible for the machine to complete label applicating (wide ≤ 60, Length≤300) and lid applicating (size (mm): wide ≤80, Length ≤120).
After the entire process, you follow it with a quality control inspection conducted by artificial vision.
How a Wet Wipe Machine Works
In this section, you’re going to learn how wet wipe machines work.
The process is somehow complex, but I will make it simple and easy for you to understand.
But first, you need to watch this video:
But before that, let me take you through a critical aspect of the manufacturing process:
Raw Materials used in the Machine
You can choose from any of the following materials:
· Non-woven fabric
The material used to manufacture wet wipes is a non-woven fabric the same as the one used to make dryer sheets and diapers.
The manufacture of traditional fabrics is by weaving together fibers of cotton, wool, silk, polyester, and similar materials to create an interlocking matrix of loops.
Non woven fabric for wet wipe
The manufacture of non-woven fabrics, on the other hand, is through a procedure that compresses a sheet of material from a stack of separate fibers.
Some of the fibers that you can use in the process include rayon and cotton, as well as plastic resins comprising of polypropylene, polyester, and polyethylene.
· Cleansing ingredients
The main constituent of wet wipes cleansing ingredients is water, which acts as diluent and carrier of other ingredients.
The wipes also consist of mild detergents blended with fragrance, preservatives, and moisturizing agents.
The commonly used detergents are referred to as amphoteric surfactants, the same as those used in baby shampoos.
Coco phosphatidyl PG-dimonium chloride and Sodium diamphoacetate are the main surfactants used in wipes.
These chemicals do not rid the skin of its natural oils and also reduce the chances of skin irritation.
Mildness is a crucial factor considering that the wet wipe solution may get into contact with delicate skin areas.
To enhance moisturization of skin and inhibit premature drying of the solution, you add humectants like glycerine and propylene glycol.
Additionally, some formulas include oils like silicones, mineral oil, or lanolin that assist in skin softening.
Thickeners, like cellulose derivatives such as hydroxymethyl cellulose, regulate the viscosity of the final product and maintain it in the right consistency.
Other constituents comprise of preservatives like propylparaben and methyl, which make sure the solution does not encourage microbial growth.
To help beat body odors and enhance consumer appeal, wet wipes manufacturers add fragrance.
However, there are also fragrance-free products.
Manufacturers may as well add featured ingredients to boost consumer appeal.
They constitute of natural ingredients which are known to be mild on the skin such as oatmeal extract and aloe vera.
· Packaging components
Packaging utilized in wet wipes should keep them free from contamination while still allowing for easy dispensing.
In addition, the package needs to be able to prevent the wipes from drying out.
Most manufacturers opt for thermo-molded plastic tubs as the packaging choice, with the common design featuring a hinged lid that enables easy access to the wet wipes.
Packaging wet wipes
Production of these tubs is through injection molding by injecting molten polyethylene plastic into a mold.
You then apply pressure on the mold from outside until the plastic cools.
Subsequently, you eject the plastic tub from the mold and store it until when needed for filling.
Now, let’s come to the actual process:
Wet wipe making machine – Photo courtesy: Temcon
Step 1: Non-woven preparation
There are two main techniques for preparing non-woven fabrics: the dry-laid method and the wet-laid method.
Dry Laid Process
Dry laid process is the “meltdown” technique, which is a method used to manufacture non-woven fabrics out of plastic resins.
In this technique, you melt the plastic pellets and then extrude, or force them via tiny holes, by exerting air pressure.
The stream of fiber cools and condenses to produce a sheet.
The fibers then get flattened and bonded together using hot metal rollers.
Wet Laid Process
Wet-laid process typically finds use in softer cloths such as wet wipes, which utilizes cotton blends.
In this wet procedure, using water and other chemicals, you convert the fibers into slurries.
Using rollers, you press the resultant paste into sheets and then dry them to generate long rolls of fabric.
The rolls undergo further processing and then slit cut into narrow widths.
Consequently, the rolls get cut or perforated into individual sheets.
You then classify the finished cloths using their dry weight, which needs to be at least 1.4 oz/in2 (40 g/m2).
Absorbency of the wet wipes is equally an essential requirement.
High-quality wipes should absorb about 200-600 percent of their weight in solution.
Step 2: Cleansing solution preparation
The preparation of the ingredients included in the wipes solution takes place in large batch tanks of the wet wipes machine.
Based on the formula requirements, you pour the first constituent which is usually water, into the tank.
Heating of the tank during preparation may be necessary to enhance the mixing of powders that you should be dissolving or other solid ingredients that need you to need to be melt.
Add the other ingredients sequentially and mix until homogenous.
Step 3: Non-woven treatment
After its preparation, you load the non-woven cloth from storage rolls onto the wet wipe coating machine, where application of the cleansing solution takes place.
There exist several techniques that can you can apply in this procedure.
The wet wipe machine can add the cleansing solution by running the non-woven roll through a trough containing the solution.
On the other hand, the machine may spray the sheets of fabric with the cleansing ingredient from a series of nozzles.
Alternatively, you may pack individual wet wipes in sealed foil tubs.
In this procedure, you load sheets of laminated foil into an automated machine which folds them to form a small pouch.
The equipment subsequently, heat seals the pouch’s three sides to create an open envelope.
Concurrently, a separate conveyor line stuffs the non-woven fabric into the formed pouch.
A liquid feed system, comprising conduits extending via the stuffing bars, injects the cleansing solution into the wet wipes package simultaneously with the stuffing of the wipes material.
The volumetric pump of the wet wipe machinery injects the required quantity of the solution into the wet wipes pack by drawing it from the reservoir.
The fluid varies from one manufacturer to another and is normally taken as a factor of 10-16 liters.
Immediately after this process, the pouch gets heat sealed tightly using a different heater sealer.
Step 4: Packaging operations
Once the wet wipe machine has cut the designated amount of wet wipe sheets, it releases the rolls for packaging.
The machine separates the rolls then packs them automatically.
Courtesy of the motors of the packaging machine, the operator can fold the non-woven fabric according to the limit set on the touch screen of the control panel and cut them into the package.
The wet wipe machine automatically folds, stacks, and transfers the finished wet wipe sheets to their ultimate package.
In one patented technique, the machine folds and stacks the wipes in such a manner that it is possible to remove them one at a time.
It then places the stack in an interior plastic pack, which it subsequently insert into an exterior tub having a hinged cover.
For ease of traceability, the machine automatically gives each production run a code.
The wet wipe machine operates in a sterilized and air-controlled environment.
Technical Specifications of a Wet Wipe Machine
Before you buy a wet wipe machine, you need to consider the following key specifications:
|Control System: PLC controller|
|Control Panel: Touch screen|
|Operation by Photocell-without Photocell|
|Inner wipe motors and outer packaging are stepper motor|
|On-screen digitally adjustable nonwoven size setting and package sizes|
|Easy passage between measures. Unique rail system which can be altered swiftly and with ease between the short time periods.|
Manufacturing of desired wet wipes sizes
|Digital tachometer showing machine’s net capacity per minute|
|Advanced smart system with multi-program ability|
|Special programs to minimize fire that result in printing errors|
|Update of software via internet|
|Digital thermostat having the sensitivity of (+ -) 2 ºC|
|Automatic stop on reaching wanted quantity|
|Tail system capable of swiftly and easily shaping interior towel|
|Ergonomic design facilitating easy operation|
Factors to Consider before Purchasing a Wet Wipe Machine
Although the working principle of most wet wipe machines is almost similar, you should select a machine according to the needs of your factory.
Assuming you own a small factory, you will definitely require a wet wipe machine with lesser efficiency.
This will help you cut on cost.
Complete wet wipe machine
Nonetheless, large scale factories need to buy machines that give higher production outputs per minute.
Apart from the efficiency of a wet wipe machine, there are other considerations that you need to factor in before purchasing one.
For that matter, let’s take a look at some of the key aspects you should put into consideration before you purchase a wet wipe machine.
· Automated solutions
You can either bag the wet wipes single or in a pack.
Therefore, the machine should be very efficient with regards to proper packaging.
This will allow maintaining of the internal moisture of the wet wipes throughout the shelf life.
Additionally, the automation of the process will boost the production speed and reduce the time of packaging substantially.
· Versatile control
The machine should come with a high-quality control panel, which enables users to easily modulate the rate of production and monitor the quality of wet wipes.
The wet wipe machine should have a long lifespan and needs to have the ability to facilitate high production rates without experiencing problems.
A reliable supplier needs to give you a warranty period as a surety of the machine’s long functional life.
· Low maintenance
The best wet wipes machine should be made of industry-grade materials so as to withstand various industrial setups and exposure to chemicals without any complications.
· Ergonomic constraints
Ergonomic aspects are very instrumental when it comes to buying wet wipes manufacturing machine.
For instance, you should ascertain whether it is possible to install the machine in a small room having a low ceiling height.
In addition, operator interaction with the machine is an essential factor.
Therefore, you must consider how and where the operator will work with the wet wipe machine.
Maintaining sufficient space in the workroom is essential.
There exist different designs of wet wipes machines, and each comes with different properties.
Even though their primary role remains the same, their output, efficiency, among other attributes vary.
Thus, you need to buy a machine based on your factory’s requirements.
For you to meet the various tastes and needs of your customers, you should invest in a state-of-the-art production system.
Your machine should be able to produce wet wipes for all conceivable uses.
It should enable the widest and most flexible selections of sheet size, fold configuration, and substrate type.
The wet wipe machine you buy should offer flexibility, efficiency, and high performance.
It should allow you to produce a broad variety of wet wipes in terms of materials, weights, and sizes.