A variety of tools and equipment, both built at Riverside and purchased, are used throughout the process. Raw ingredients are sourced primarily from here in Zambia, with some needing to be imported. Twelve local youth with an excellent work ethic have been trained throughout this process. They have all been trained in all aspects of production, from soap making to cutting, stamping, and packaging, and are working in two shifts per day. The production rooms have been organized to maximize efficiency and storage in a small space.
First, ingredients are carefully weighed, blended, and/or melted at the ingredients weighing station. The base oils and lye solution are then combined in the batch mixing pot assembly. Safety guidelines are carefully memorized and followed. Oils are blended with the lye until thickened, utilizing a chemical process known as saponification. Then, additives such as charcoal, oatmeal, honey, and sugar are added, as well as essential oils such as peppermint or tea tree oil. The soap is then poured through a valve into silicon molds where they harden until ready to cut.
The current rate of production is 1,600 bars/day with a mixture of the 12 products made every week. We retrofitted at 40-foot shipping container into a shelved curing room which can hold up to 16,000 bars. After a few weeks of curing, the bars are taken back into the production room where they will be packaged and labelled, ready for sale.
The new factory is expected to be finished by November of 2021. This will help us increase our production capacity by 8x, and will allow us to make additional products and serve more customers.