Where do toothbrushes come from and how are they made?
Toothbrushes by yaweco are produced entirely in the Black Forest in Germany.
This means that the entire production process, including plastic body production, bristle insertion, and packaging, takes place at a single location. We don’t have any environmentally questionable transportation of semi-finished goods to other countries or companies, where some production steps might be cheaper.
Our manufacturing practices follow all German legal regulations, of course. Solar power is also used for manufacturing, and there is a dedicated water circuit for cooling water for the machinery.
The raw material components are listed under “Products.” The natural hog bristles come from a type of hog that lives in China and has bristles that are suitable for use in brushes. The bristles are taken only from animals that have already been slaughtered, so there is no abuse of animals involved in obtaining them. The bristle material is boiled, which sterilizes it to eliminate any germs. The products are packed securely in airtight packaging for transportation.
Making a toothbrush:
The production process can be divided into three major steps, which look like this:
- Injection molding:
This is what we call the production of the plastic handle with holes for the bristles. For brushes with replaceable heads, the handle has a plate with holes for attaching the head. For this process, granulated plastic is heated and injected into a metal mold in liquid form under high pressure. After cooling, the mold is opened and the handles are removed by a robot and transferred to the bristle machine. For a two-component or multi-component toothbrush (such as yaweco replaceable-head toothbrushes), the hard plastic (polypropylene/PP) is injected first, then the softer plastic (thermoplastic elastomer/TPE), which partially envelops the hard plastic.
- Bristle filling:
Bundles of bristles are “stuffed” into the holes in a special computercontrolled machine. An anchor wire holds the bundle of bristles in the hole. Depending on the hardness grade of the toothbrush, colored bristles of various diameters are used. The bundles are cut to different lengths for the specific bristle configuration. The yaweco replaceable-head toothbrush has a high-low configuration, called an interdental cut, in order to better reach the spaces between teeth. For each production batch, the pull-out force is measured for individual filaments (bristles) and for the bundles. The pull-out force must be at least 15 Newtons in order to be sure that the bristles will not fall out later when brushing the teeth.
- Rounding off the bristles:
After the bristles are cut to the appropriate length, the ends of the bristles still have sharp edges that can damage gums and tooth enamel. The ends of the bristles are processed on rotating grinding units until they are optimally rounded off. Good rounding of the bristles is an essential quality feature of a toothbrush. Toothbrushes from yaweco are produced on modern, state-of-the-art equipment. The rounding results are inspected under a microscope and documented for every production batch.
Finished toothbrushes are packed in a transparent blister package. A blister cover is formed by deep-drawing. The brush is placed in it and then sealed against a cardboard sheet. Now the toothbrushes undergo a final quality check, are then packed by hand and prepared for shipment.