I'm new to this forum and would like to extend an advanced thank you for your help! After reading several threads on equipment/supplies, I am still left needing a little clarity on the topic of equipment needed for scaling up. Many of the threads have advice about certain equipment using language like "really only necessary for large productions runs." The problem is, I don't know the context for "large." I'm new to manufacturing cosmetics so I could use some guidance based on my situation - and patience with me being a rookie.
The current situation:
Currently manufacturing creams and balms in a home kitchen doing 100oz batches of a cream using standard kitchen equipment: hand mixer, stainless bowls, glass beakers, water bath using a fondue pot and double boiler on a gas range. Basic, but it was a place to start.
Would like to do single batches of 5-10 gallons (~ 375-750 units)
We will soon be moving to a shared manufacturing facility, and I have a good sense of the general list of new equipment I will need. There has been lots of good information here on hot plates, mixers, viscometers, etc...
What I'm confused about are the actual containers for mixing! Should I be looking at a simple 5-10 gallon stock pot for mixing, or should I be looking at a "mixing kettle" such as this:
Those are obviously WAY more expensive, and I'm not exactly sure why I would need one. What would be the purpose of this?
What got me confused was reading a book on making herbal products, in which the author instructs that both the oil and water phases get heated in two separate "steam jacketed mixing kettles." Also "experimental formulas are often developed in vessels that are not equipped with a heating and cooling jacket. Under these air-cooled conditions, longer stirring times are needed."
Any thoughts on those assertions? Is a steam jacketed kettle really only necessary when we move up in production scale again?
Last question: I've gotten SO much conflicting advice on cooling methods. My current method is to cool in a refrigerator until the cream is back to approx room temp, then fill. What are your opinions on that issue?
Thanks again for your help!!