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Sulphur Mills: Reaping the Value of Technologyqrcode

Feb. 27, 2017

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Feb. 27, 2017
Sulphur Mills has grown over the years into one of the leading crop protection players, with a turnover of Rs.850 crore in the last financial year. Its multi-location plants within the country and foreign subsidiaries are focused on best-in-class crop protection solutions as well as customized sulphur-based fertilizers catering to a wide range of clients in India and abroad. The company's promoter and current Chairman & MD, Deepak Shah, is confident that the company's emphasis on R&D and innovation will continue to keep Sulphur Mills well ahead of the competition. With the new generation coming to the fore, a move has started to ensure that the current conservative production-centric ethos should evolve into high visibility and market-driven profile.

   Bimal Shah                  Deepak Shah
    – Executive Director           – Chairman & MD

Over the last two decades, Sulphur Mills has developed and commercialized hundreds of different classes of water dispersible granules. Sulphur Mills has made large investments in R&D, and global registrations have reaped and will continue to reap large dividends for the company. 
Q: Sulphur Mills is said to be highly focused on R&D. What is your set up like and what is your investment in R&D? 
Bimal Shah: We are well established in the R&D sector for formulation development in the agrochemical space. Unlike other companies in India, or even globally, we are the only company with a dedicated formulation research and development center/lab that focuses on creating new delivery systems in the agrochemicals, fertilizers, and nutrition segments. We have a dedicated formulation development facility at our laboratory that has received accreditation from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), and it is set to receive the good laboratory practice (GLP) certification soon. We are working on scaling up from laboratory research to pilot production and then commercialization for different formulations, for ourselves and other companies. We have made large investments in R&D laboratories and formulation research in reaching and addressing formulation needs with our new platform technologies, which are protected by global Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
Q: What is your R&D success so far? What are the new innovations/products you are working on? 
Bimal: We were the first in Asia to introduce water dispersible granules. Now, we have gone far beyond this; the new water dispersible granules for newer chemistries and mixtures we have developed and commercialized have been hugely successful. Further, there are more platform technologies that have not yet surfaced or been commercialized and which hold great promise for the future of Indian agriculture and farmers. New technology products cover a wide range, and we are working on select actives, where our platform technology has enabled these actives to work more economically, safely, and easily as compared to conventional formulations. Our company, Sulphur Mills Ltd., has also developed new formulations for the agrochemicals and nutrition segments. These are still in the pilot stage but have immense potential once commercialized. 
Q: It is said that Sulphur Mills is the pioneer in developing new formulation technology. What are your achievements so far?
Bimal: We were the first company to pioneer WDG technology in Asia in the early 1990s, when no one had even heard about it. Since then, we have introduced it across the globe in different regions. So far, we have mastered the world of water dispersible technologies, and over the last 20 years, we have developed and commercialized hundreds of different classes of water dispersible granules. One of our sulphur-based formulations, which has received a global patent, was commercialized in India in the late 2000s and has been a great boon to Indian farmers for various crops. Newer platform technologies have enabled us to develop different actives, to convert them to newer delivery systems. As a result, we are able to reduce toxicity, decrease dosage, make the product environmentally friendly and increase efficacy. Also, due to formulation technologies that we have commercialized or can manufacture on a large scale, we are able to sign large contracts and offer end-to-end formulation services to large multinationals, providing them with high-end formulated technology-based products that are globally economical. 
Q: What is on your patent portfolio? How many of these patents are Indian, and how many are global? In which countries have you registered them? 
Bimal: Sulphur Mills is a technology-driven company, and we started building our patent portfolio from the mid to late 1990s. We now have various patents, with our platform technologies covering a wide range of products, applications, and processes. We are filing patents not only in India but in the European Union and United States and in other countries, where there is a need for such technology-based products. We have invested heavily in innovation and are filing the related IPRs for them. Likewise, we are heavily investing in our own trademarks worldwide. Based on our own registrations that have been granted or are in the process of being granted, we look forward to entering various markets with our own brands. 
Q: What are your plans in R&D? 
"Our forte is in R&D,

new formulations"

- Bimal Shah
Bimal: R&D is being done on formulation technology to give farmers products that are even more environmentally friendly, that act instantly and with a sustained release, and that work on a significantly reduced dosage, have low dermal toxicity, and can reduce the cost per hectare for the farmer. A lot of work to scale up the existing R&D is in the pipeline. We plan to expand our R&D base and invest further to come out with more innovative and high technology-based formulations that serve the interests of the farmers. 
Q: What is the role of Sulphur Mills in registrations, and in what areas have you been registering your products? What level of investment is being done in regulatory affairs for your products? 
Bimal: Sulphur Mills is among the first few Indian companies to venture into the registration of its specialized formulations in various countries, including EU countries, the United States, and Australia. Now, with registrations in over 80 countries and more than 600 registrations worldwide, Sulphur Mills has invested large amounts in registrations in different territories, including the European Union, the United States, Australia, Russia, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. All registrations across the world are for specialized formulations and niche products that cater to the farmers’ needs. Significant investments have also been made in the registration of new formulations in India. Sulphur Mills plans to invest further in regulatory affairs in different regions, both organically and inorganically.
Source: AgroNews

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