An air freshener is designed to remove any unpleasant odors in a room or inside a car. Usually, they provide fragrances and other means to counteract the undesirable smell filling the area. They are made in various forms, such as gels, potpourri, candles, and aerosols.
In the late 1990s, the demand for air fresheners in the United States alone has skyrocketed and has reached several millions of dollars of sales each year. Now, with the lifestyle of people evolving and technology advancing, the demand for these products continue to be at peak.
The Development of Air Fresheners
Various fragrance elements have been used for a long time to counter foul odors and keep the air fresh. For instance, the ancient Egyptians were believed to have used musk and other organic materials to make their tombs fragrant. For the past 2,000 years, different kinds of elements, including various floral extracts and spices, were used for their specialty in providing a pleasing scent.
However, it wasn’t until the late 1940s when the first modernized air freshener was developed. The product was a pressurized spray that contains the following ingredients: 1% perfume, 24% alcohol, and 75% CFC or chlorofluorocarbon. The technology used was developed by the military intended to discharge insecticides.
The perfume provided a fine scent that was able to remain suspended in the air for quite a long time. The formula of the perfume became the basis in the business. After that, the sales of these products went up significantly.
In the 1950s, a lot of companies started to experiment on their own and added different elements or chemicals to counteract odors. Most of these chemicals were used to eliminate the foul odors completely, instead of merely masking them with pleasant scents. Perfume makers proved that these chemicals were able to eliminate different kinds of unpleasant odors, such as amine odors that are associated with fish, cooking smells, cigarette smoke, and human and animal waste odors. The chemical compounds used for this purpose included long-chain aldehydes, unsaturated esters, and some pre-polymers.
For quarter a decade, air fresheners made from aerosol formulas were improved for better performance at economical costs. However, around the 1970s, the market for perfumes stayed away from aerosols. This was a result for the growing concerns regarding CFC destroying the ozone layer. Aerosols played a significant role in the perfume business so companies found a way to reformulate the chemical to prevent it from completely disappearing.
In the 1990s, the use of candles and potpourri began to rise again. As a result, different types of air freshening products were developed. For instance, the Crystal Candle from Arizona Natural Resources, Inc., has developed candles that can eliminate unpleasant odors completely. They have also produced aromatherapy candles, which have various therapeutic functions.
The Raw Materials Used
The perfume oils used in the preparation of the air freshener’s fragrance formula are divided into several types including:
• Aldehydes – they belong to the synthetic fragrance category. Once concentrated, these components will smell soapy. But, when they are combined with the right amounts of water, they produce a flowery and sweet smell.
• Floral notes – they are one of the oldest and most well-known fragrance elements. Some examples include jasmine and rose.
• Green fragrances – they are fresh and have a scent similar to plant stems and cut grass.
• Oriental fragrances – often, they can be found in animal materials, like musk. These scents are sweet, strong, and heavy.
• Herbal and spice fragrances – The elements to make these notes include cedar, sandalwood, cinnamon, sage, cloves, moss, and lavender.
These ingredients can be mixed with synthetic fragrance elements including aldehydes, alcohol, and ketones among others. After, they will be combined with various gelling materials. The gel mold that contains the scent can either be organic or inorganic. Usually, they are produced hot and the fragrances are added while they cool down to preserve the quality of the perfume.
The Manufacturing Process
1. Perfume Pack Production
In an air freshener plug-ins, the fragrance trays are produced using filling and sealing machines at different locations. The disposable case is made of a transparent, a polyvinyl film, and various types of thermoplastics including polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate, polystyrene, and polyvinyl chloride.
These production lines can run with either the primary or refill package. A casing or collating machine is used when the refill package is run. This setup will let the manufacturer to change between various fragrance types easily.
The hand wheels on the package assembling machine will move the counters to adjusted numbers when shifting between the primary and refill package. This enables transition between scents to be done in minutes.
2. Heater Production
The protective case for the electric plug is usually made from thermoplastics, like polyimide, p-phenylene oxide, polycarbonate, epoxy, and phenol-formaldehyde. To keep costs at bay and save time, the housing of the plug and the prongs are made of the same structure that will be molded together. The prongs’ surface will then be given a metallic coating so they can conduct electric current.
3. Final Adjustments and Packaging
The heater unit and the fragrance tray are packed in a carton using a packaging machine. The folding cartons will be loaded manually into magazines on the package forming machine. Usually, three cartons will be elevated simultaneously and delivered to a fifth-panel folder that is custom-designed. Two flaps will extend over the sides of the carton to help in supporting the panel during the heater unit and fragrance tray loading.
The cartons will then be rotated as they move down to the assembly line. Melted adhesive will then be applied to each side of the carton.
The fragrance trays will then be loaded into two equipment that will adjust the packages for insertion into the prepared cartons. As these cartons pass the feeder bowl, the equipment will put a fragrance pack in each of them.
Then, the electrical apparatuses will be placed in each carton manually. Shipping packs are brought to the line. Finished products are assembled manually into rows. The packages will be sealed, palletized, and stretch-wrapped.