Skip to main content

Flotigam V4900T provides anticaking and water repellent properties for NPK fertilizers

The Bottom Line

Replacing CECA, S.A.’s anticaking agent, Clariant’s Flotigam V4900T offers…

  • Increased anticaking properties
  • Significantly improved hydrophobicity to retard moisture absorption
  • A virtually odor-free operating environment
  • Lower dosage requirements
  • Coverage verification


A leading global fertilizer producer required a reliable anticaking agent for its bulk and bagged NPK and ammonium nitrate (AN) shipments. Clariant worked with the producer to develop an agent that would improve the performance of its standard anticaking agent.

The producer’s standard fertilizers anticaking agent with oil-based filler exhibited little water repellent properties, reaching only 20%. Clariant technicians developed an exclusive paraffin-based agent that would deliver hydrophobicity of greater than 50%.

So the producer could ensure a minimum 65% fertilizer coverage, Clariant added a tracer that allowed technicians to detect the agent under ultraviolet light. Since the new paraffin-based agent required dosages at 80° Celsius, Clariant worked with the fertilizer producer to modify existing plant equipment to ensure proper agent coverage.

All targets were required to be achieved at dosages of less than 700-900 grams/tonne, the dosage rate of the CECA standard anticaking agent.


This fertilizer producer processes nearly 1 million tonnes of NPK and AN product from its two plants in Russia. The fertilizers are shipped by bags and in bulk via rail car and sea vessel to a broad domestic and international customer base.

Of great concern to the company during shipment are the caking and moisture absorption characteristics of the fertilizer. AN absorbs moisture at very low relative humidity levels – 50 to 52%. Virtually all shipping conditions enable the fertilizer to readily absorb water and cake into a solid mass, rendering the fertilizer useless. At prices topping $500 USD per ton, AN caking can be an extremely costly problem for the global producer.

To counteract this potential, the producer uses an amine with oil-based filler as the standard anticaking agent. At dosages of 700-900 grams/tonne, the CECA agent provides a minimum 80% anticaking efficiency. Yet, it offers a mere 20% protection against water absorption, which can be a problem due to potentially long storage periods for fertilizers.

Successfully supplying other company divisions with Flotigam 4903 for urea treatment, Clariant worked with the producer to develop a new agent for its NPK and AN plants. This new agent was designed to solve the moisture issues experienced with the standard agent.

Clariant experimented with different amine fillers, designed to increase the hydrophobicity of the fertilizer. The filler used in this new agent required minor plant modifications to the distribution equipment, so the agent could be applied at temperatures of approximately 80° C. Clariant assisted the producer in making these modifications.


Clariant scientists began by searching for the right filler in order to meet the hydrophobicity requirements of the producer. Using out extensive global resources, Clariant conducted an international search for the right paraffin wax that would properly coat the NPK and AN fertilizers.

Conducting in-lab trials, Clariant scientists tested dozens of amine agents using a variety of paraffin fillers. These trials were designed to meet or exceed customer-established targets of greater than 80% anticaking and greater than 50% water repellent properties at a price for the new agent that has no impact on final fertilizer cost.

Extensive analysis proved that Flotigam V4900 exhibited the best anticaking and water repellent characteristics. Next, the producer conducted its own series of pilot trails confirmed that Flotigam V4900 dosage rates of 400 to 600 grams/tonne met performance targets required to successfully ship its NPK and AN products.

The process expanded to larger industrial trails using higher tonnages of fertilizer. The producer asked Clariant to add a tracer, so its technicians could take samples to ensure the equipment was coating at least 65% of the fertilizer, a target minimum. Clariant added a tracer in Flotigam V900T that would show up under ultraviolet light, permitting coverage verification.

The new Clariant agent required distribution temperatures of appropriately 80° C. Clariant assisted with the installation of heated and insulated lines between the pump and sprayer to maintain correct spray temperature, and Clariant assisted with atomizing nozzle selection to ensure proper agent coverage.


By switching to Flotigam V4900T, this global NPK and AN producer receives…

  • Greater than 80% anticaking performance
  • Initial water repellent properties of greater than 50%
  • Agent dosage reduction by up to 33%
  • A partner to ensure correct distribution of the new agent
  • Less fertilizer spoilage due to moisture
  • Tracer verification of agent coverage
  • Fertilizers with an extended shelf life
  • Continual process optimization and product development that now offers water repellent properties of up to 75% with Flotigam V4900T


Page summary

Summarization in progress