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Phosphates clean up in detergent manufacturing

13 November 2015 15:15


In the world of chemicals, one group of substances is riding high with a boost in sales and a surge in consumption across detergent manufacturing.

Certain phosphates are emerging as the go-to chemical in the detergent manufacturing business with a huge growth in demand in the last year.

Chemical company, Airedale Chemical, has seen a big rise in demand for its range of Airophos phosphates experiencing a 20 per cent increase in production in the last 18 months alone.

It has also observed a growing trend for phosphate chemicals being supplied to the detergent manufacturing industry with a massive 80% of phosphates products sold now going to that sector.

Traditionally, phosphates have been used as ‘builders’ in chemistry helping in the formulation of other products so that less high-activity, high-cost ingredients are required, while improving the efficacy of goods like detergents, which can extend the life of end products. It also helps maintain the efficacy of surfactants such as those anionic compounds found in formulations such as laundry detergents.

In addition to multiple uses in detergents, aiding stain removal and water softening; phosphates are also well utilised in paints and coatings, metal treatment and acrylic applications as well as in some flame retardant products. Phosphates are often favoured as a cost-effective alternative to replacing lead pipework by preventing the metal leaching into water systems.

Danial Marr, group marketing manager of Airedale Chemical, comments: “Phosphates are a really versatile range of chemicals which can quickly and easily enhance the efficiency and cost effectiveness of detergents. So, there is little surprise that this is becoming such a popular option for manufacturers looking to increase their profit margins.

“Of our ‘Airophos’ range of phosphates it’s the ‘K18’ formulation which has proven to be most popular due to its breadth of uses. This particular product is primarily used as builder and buffering agent of liquid detergents including hard surface cleaners, rug and carpet shampoos, machine dishwashing and car washing products. It is also used in bottle washing, window cleaning, paint manufacture, cement production, fertilizer, bleaching, scouring and dyeing in synthetic and wool textiles.”

He added: “Phosphates have become a strategically important area for the business given the increased demand we’ve seen, that has come largely from the detergent manufacturing sector, which in the UK has been growing year on year for some time. As part of our plans to enhance our phosphate offering, we have developed five new products, each with its own features and applications as we see this being a growth product across not just detergents, but a number of different industries.”

For further information on Airedale Chemical and its Airophos range of phosphates, visit

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