Origin

Carnauba (Copernicia prunifera) wax is produced from a powder obtained from the leaves of Copernicia prunifera. This palm tree inhabits a tropical climate and it is subjected to long periods of drought. In such conditions, the leaves are naturally involved by a waxy film. The wax is generated in the inner cells of the leaves and then migrates to its surface. This natural adaptation mechanism occurs in order to avoid transpiration and thus the excessive loss of humidity by evaporation.

The carnauba is a brazilian native species, it belongs to the palms family. The production of wax only occurs on the areas of the Brazilian states of Ceara, Maranhao, Piaui and Rio Grande do Norte, due to the climate of such. In this region the carnauba carries an important social value. Approximately 200 thousand field workers get economically involved on the carnauba powder extraction throughout the second semester of each year.

The carnauba powder removal occurs in rainy scarce season, it is when agricultural activity and other sources of income are less viable in the country side. Thus, the extraction of carnauba wax configures itself as an important alternative for income generation in periods of drought, favoring the fixing of the men in their regions of origin.

The carnauba fields are spread along the coast to the country on the northeast region of Brazil. Are often found on the banks of rivers, seasonally flooded areas. The carnauba tree have slow growth, reaching 15 to 20 meters high. The carnauba palm trees are of great longevity. Some say that live up to 200 years.

Carnauba is a name of Tupi (brazilian native indians) origin. Meaning “tree that scratches”. The expression refers to the thorny layer that is the lower part of the trunk. It is also known by other names such as: "caranaíba", "carnaba”, “carandaúba", "carnahyba" and "carnaúva". In addition to the waxy powder, the carnauba is a raw material source for various other activities. The leaves are employed in the coverage of houses, in the manufacture of paper and in making crafts. The oleaginous fruits are used in animal nutrition. The almonds and the roots serve for the preparation of medicines. Trunks are used to building structures for construction. Due to its various utilities, it is called "tree of life".

Extraction

For the powder extraction, the leaves are cut, a kind of a pruning which does not harm the tree and yet delays its ageing. The procedure is usually done by a team composed of five men, a “vareiro” (the stick operator) and four assistants. After cutting, the adult leaves are separated from the youngest. They produce different types of waxes with particular characteristics.

The drying of the leaves can be done in three ways: in ground by beating (traditional method), yard or solar dryer. The traditional method takes approximately 8 to 10 days, period in which the leaves lie on the ground until they are completely dried by the sun. This process does not offer the best results, as the dried leaves are exposed to contamination by sand and other wastes.

Drying in the yard, the leaves are hanging 30 cm from the ground, in the direction of the wind. The contact with the ground is avoided, which minimizes the buildup of impurities. In this method, the drying time also depends on the intensity of sunlight.

With the use of an outfit called solar dryer, the leaves are subjected to high temperatures and dry normally in 48 hours. This new technology was developed by the Federal universities of Ceará and Piauí (UFC/UFPI) with the support of Sectoral Chamber of Carnauba and Secretary of agrarian development of Ceara State. The solar dryer consists on flexible plastic and metal structure. Works like a greenhouse. In its interior, the leaves are hanging, avoiding contact with the ground. This method increases the productivity of the powder by minimizing waste buildup.

After the leaves are dried, then the hitting occurs for complete removal of the powder. The process can be done manually or using a machine called “derriçadeira”, which extracts the powder using vibratory vanes. Employment of such machine offers more security to the worker, in addition to increased productivity. The powder is then stored in cotton bags. The drying and hitting of the young and mature leaves are made separately to prevent mixing of different qualities of powder originated from those different leaves.

The raw material can be forwarded to the industry in powder form or lumps. The solid form is obtained by boiling the powder in water, for later solidification and packaging.

Manufacturing

In our facilities the crude wax is submitted to laboratory analysis which testifies the quality of our raw materials.

The qualified raw materials go through the following processes:
• Fusion reactors at 120 °C for elimination of excessive moisture;
• Filtration by press with diatomaceous earth and clarifying agents for elimination of impurities, resins and pigments;
• Bleaching with hydrogen peroxide in stainless steel reactors for Standardization of color according to the types of wax;
• Storage in liquid form, to meet customers who so wish to receive it;
• Flaking in stainless steel flake machines, to meet clients who so wish to receive it;
• Packaging and labeling of the wax in standardized bags of 25 kg net.

Our sustainable industrial activity makes use of natural resources. We use natural gas as fuel for being a less polluting source of energy. The rejects of filtration are recycled. It originates wax or organic fertilizer.

To compensate the carbon emissions of the productive cycle, we financially support the Association Caatinga (www.acaatinga.org.br), a nonprofit civil entity that promotes conservation and education for sustainable use of caatinga, cradle of carnauba tree. For every 5 tons purchased our clients adopts an hectare of the caatinga – by the end of the year they receive a Certificate indicating the total area they adopted and stating as a maintainer of such biome.
 
Av. Parque Leste, 600 . Distrito Industrial . Maracanaú
Ceará . Brasil . 61939-130 . Phone/Fax: +55 85 3215.3090
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