a glimpse into the Osmocote GreenLab

There will always be

innovation

room for
“I want to know everything there is to know about a product. And then improve it. Over and over.”
Welcome to the Osmocote GreenLab. Perhaps you have met scientist Ben online, introducing you to the latest innovation, the next generation Osmocote 5. We visited Frank Marx, one of our scientists at ICL Specialty Fertilizers R&D department in Heerlen, the Netherlands. Frank works in the actual Osmocote GreenLab and has been involved in the development of Osmocote 5 and was the lead scientist for upscaling Osmocote 5 to production.
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2021033020_-_frank_ma...
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The innovation process

Frank tells us how inventing ‘the next generation’ of Osmocote works. “It’s a 7-8 year process, to get from the idea for a new product to its market introduction. Which may sound long, but can actually be considered relatively fast, as we can build on over 50 years of controlled release fertilizer and coating technology knowledge at ICL”, says Frank.

“Our work starts in the lab, where we will look into getting the formulation right. Imagine a kitchen, where we are picking out the ingredients to create a new ‘recipe’ for Osmocote 5. We mix, we try, we stir things around a little. When everything has come together in a decent product, we’ll produce 1-5 kg and set up the first R&D field trials. If, in the field trials, it becomes apparent that the product does not yet do exactly what we want it to, we go back to the drawing board. We tweak the recipe and try again. It’s really trial and error, until we come to the perfect formulation.”

Driven by perfection

Frank has been working at ICL for nearly 30 years, starting out as chemical analyst in the Quality Assurance department and joining the R&D team 15 years ago. “I am an analyst through and through. I always want to get to the bottom of things. To build a solid base, and then bring that to a higher level. It’s in my nature.”

So does it ever end, Osmocote development? Frank’s answer is a definitive ‘no’. “There will always be new challenges. There will always be a next generation. Either because the market demands an even further improved version, or a new variety, or because new legislation passes. As long as conditions change, there is room for innovation!”

Frank also looks at his research from the grower’s perspective. “Plant nutrition can, and will be, optimized even further. Our innovations are aimed at making our fertilizers give growers even better results. That’s the drive, that’s what makes being involved in a product like Osmocote 5 great – it’s a power product. End users see the results! Hearing from our Marketing and Sales colleagues, that users in the field are enthusiastic, is what makes me tick. It feels good to be a part of that.”

“I am an analyst through and through. I always want to get to the bottom of things. ’’
.jpg
a glimpse into the Osmocote GreenLab

There will always be

room for

innovation

microsoftteams-image_3_kopie_1.png
“I want to know everything there is to know about a product. And then improve it. Over and over.”
Welcome to the Osmocote GreenLab. Perhaps you have met scientist Ben online, introducing you to the latest innovation, the next generation Osmocote 5. We visited Frank Marx, one of our scientists at ICL Specialty Fertilizers R&D department in Heerlen, the Netherlands. Frank works in the actual Osmocote GreenLab and has been involved in the development of Osmocote 5 and was the lead scientist for upscaling Osmocote 5 to production.
2021033029-frank-marx.jpg

Driven by perfection

The innovation process

Frank tells us how inventing ‘the next generation’ of Osmocote works. “It’s a 7-8 year process, to get from the idea for a new product to its market introduction. Which may sound long, but can actually be considered relatively fast, as we can build on over 50 years of controlled release fertilizer and coating technology knowledge at ICL”, says Frank.

“Our work starts in the lab, where we will look into getting the formulation right. Imagine a kitchen, where we are picking out the ingredients to create a new ‘recipe’ for Osmocote 5. We mix, we try, we stir things around a little. When everything has come together in a decent product, we’ll produce 1-5 kg and set up the first R&D field trials. If, in the field trials, it becomes apparent that the product does not yet do exactly what we want it to, we go back to the drawing board. We tweak the recipe and try again. It’s really trial and error, until we come to the perfect formulation.”

2021033051_-_frank_marx.jpg
“I am an analyst through and through. I always want to get to the bottom of things. ’’
.jpg

Frank has been working at ICL for nearly 30 years, starting out as chemical analyst in the Quality Assurance department and joining the R&D team 15 years ago. “I am an analyst through and through. I always want to get to the bottom of things. To build a solid base, and then bring that to a higher level. It’s in my nature.”

So does it ever end, Osmocote development? Frank’s answer is a definitive ‘no’. “There will always be new challenges. There will always be a next generation. Either because the market demands an even further improved version, or a new variety, or because new legislation passes. As long as conditions change, there is room for innovation!”

Frank also looks at his research from the grower’s perspective. “Plant nutrition can, and will be, optimized even further. Our innovations are aimed at making our fertilizers give growers even better results. That’s the drive, that’s what makes being involved in a product like Osmocote 5 great – it’s a power product. End users see the results! Hearing from our Marketing and Sales colleagues, that users in the field are enthusiastic, is what makes me tick. It feels good to be a part of that.”

2021033020_-_frank_ma...
naar_boven.jpg (copy1)

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ICL takes you behind the scenes of ornamental horticulture in The Green Times magazine. New developments, insights and impactful stories about and for professional growers around the world.
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