As the focus on sustainable products and processes increases across the agricultural industry1, dry flowable (DF) formulations, including water dispersible granules (WDGs) and wettable powders (WPs) are well suited to help agriculture formulators address new or ongoing requirements with a focus on improved sustainability profile.
DF formulations, which are solid materials in powder or granular form, afford several advantages when compared to traditional liquid formulations such as emulsifiable concentrates (ECs) and oil-in-water emulsions (EW). These include the ability to use less water during the manufacturing process, the absence of organic solvents, the potential to deliver a higher loading of active ingredients, as well as reduced packaging and transportation costs to improve distribution efficiency and allow for easier clean-up of packaging.
In addition, newly created active ingredients are increasingly complex and often lack solubility in common solvents, making DFs a preferred delivery system. The active levels range from 50 – 90% with the remainder being inert material. The final product is ultimately diluted in water before application, forming a homogenous mixture of dispersed, suspended particles in water.
Despite the sustainable benefits and formulation advantages, there appear to be fewer laboratories formulating dry materials due to the following unique challenges:
- The need for specialized processing equipment
- Limited availability of solid inerts
- Significant product testing protocol (suspensibility, dispersibility, wet sieve, attrition, etc.)
- Difficulty in creating durable granules that will withstand transportation, but readily disperse and suspend when added to water
With a combined experience of more than 100 years in agricultural formulation development, the Stepan Agricultural Solutions formulation development team is dedicated to providing formulation support to our customers. Stepan’s range of experience in formulation technology and knowledge of the global business landscape enables us to understand the complex issues of today’s agricultural market. Our team has the expertise to successfully formulate a variety of delivery systems. Two scientists within this specialized team offer more than 38 years of experience in the formulation and production of DFs. Their expertise, tenacity and outside the box thinking allows them to solve some of the most complex formulation and surfactant challenges, particularly pertaining to DF.