Wacker Expanding Silicone Specialties in the US
Several new plants worth $200 million are planned to be added over several years. No potential start-up date has been disclosed for any of the facilities.
The company said it has launched a feasibility study for the project, the first phase of which foresees building plants for high-consistency silicone rubber and silicone sealants — used among other things in construction applications — as well as new facilities for intermediates.
In follow-up phases, Wacker envisions building plants for related products such as silane-terminated polymers, which are used as binders for formulating high-quality adhesives and sealants, as well as liquid waterproofing systems and environmentally friendly wood-flooring adhesives.
At present, the Tennessee site focuses on super pure polysilicon for the semi-conductor and solar sectors, in addition to pyrogenic precipitated acid.
Wacker CEO Christian Hartel said the expansion is in response to increasing global demand for silicone products. The goal for Charleston is to fully integrate the site with closed production loops, in his words an important prerequisite for accelerating the German company’s growth in the US, the world’s second largest chemical market.
David Wilhoit, president and CEO of US subsidiary Wacker Chemical Corporation, said US demand for silicone specialties has shown above-average growth in recent years.
Wacker is also building up capacity for silicone specialties in several other geographical markets, including China, the Czech Republic and India.
At the end of July, the Munich company announced plans to expand its portfolio of self-adhesive liquid silicone rubber with a product line that adheres specifically to polycarbonate with technology that gets by without any bisphenol A.
Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalsit