Candles have been used for light and ambiance for centuries. While candles were once painstakingly handmade by skilled artisans, today most candles are mass-produced in factories for wholesale distribution. A visit inside a modern candle factory provides a fascinating look at how these ubiquitous items are manufactured on a large scale.
The candle making process starts with selecting the right wax. Paraffin wax, derived from petroleum, is the most common type used for candles today. It’s inexpensive, easy to work with, and burns cleanly. Beeswax is a popular natural alternative made from honeycomb. Soy wax made from soybean oil is also growing in popularity. The factory receives huge blocks of wax which are broken down and melted in large vats. Dyes and fragrances are added at this stage to produce candles in an array of colors and scents.
Wicks are the next key component. Cotton or paper wicks are delivered to the factory on large spools. The wicking machines rapidly cut the material to the proper length and attach it to the metal bases. Wicks are carefully constructed to control how quickly the candle burns. Braided and flat wicks are common styles.
With the wax melted and wicks prepped, the liquid wax is piped into molds of various shapes and sizes on long conveyor belts. The wax cools and hardens into the familiar cylindrical pillar shape, as well as tapers, votives, tealights, and novelty forms. The conveyor system efficiently moves the filled molds through cooling chambers to solidify the candles.
The finished candles are then removed from the molds and inspected for any imperfections. Candles that pass quality testing proceed to the packaging department. Here, candles are bundled together, arranged into cartons, and wrapped in plastic. The wholesale boxes are organized onto pallets for easy shipping. Printed labels identify the company, fragrance, and other details.
Machines attach wicks to metal bases, providing efficiency and consistency. Other devices cut and spool wick to the proper length. Computers precisely meter the right amount of fragrance oil. The automated conveyor belt system has revolutionized candle production. But human oversight remains critical—factory technicians monitor the entire manufacturing process.
Safety is paramount working around hot wax and other hazards. Workers wear protective gear and follow safety protocols. Proper ventilation controls wax fumes. Strict procedures are in place for spills or other emergencies. The factory emphasizes training to prevent accidents.
Between paraffin, soy, and beeswax options, candles today are available in a spectrum of styles and prices. Mass producing candles makes them affordable for most consumers. But artisanal candle makers still thrive by focusing on unique designs and customized scents. The popularity of candle lighting endures, supported by both large factories and small-scale producers.
Wholesale candle factories exemplify modern manufacturing. The efficient assembly line process allows companies to churn out thousands of identical candles per day. This productivity powers the consumer candle industry. Next time you shop for candles, take a moment to appreciate the complex factory systems used to create a product that illuminates our homes with beautiful, flickering light.