Wacker Moving Ahead with Silicone Rubber Expansion

25.05.2022 - In line with growth targets announced in March this year, Wacker Chemie is stepping up the pace of its capacity buildup for silicone rubber specialties to meet growing demand.

Investment cost for the expansion projects planned up to 2023 is pegged at more than €100 million. The group’s silicone rubber production portfolio comprises more than 1,000 products.

“Significant” capacity upgrades for liquid silicone rubber (LSR) are in progress at Burghausen, Germany, with a first phase due to be completed during the second half of 2022, and more output capability to follow. LSR production is also being expanded at Adrian, Michigan, to improve supply to customers in North and Central America from 2023 onward.

The Munich-based group is also increasing production volumes for high consistency rubber (HCR) at several sites, starting with its new base at Panagarh, India, which is due to become operational in the near future. Output upgrades at the Pilzen site in the Czech Republic and at Tsukuba, Japan, are also on the agenda.

Pilzen produces ready-to-use silicone compounds for key industries. In addition to silicone emulsions, Tsukuba supplies s high-consistency and room-temperature vulcanizing silicone rubber as well as LSR. 

To better meet long-term demand, Wacker said it is also considering additional expansion projects for silicone rubber at its sites at Zhangjiagang, China, and Charleston, Tennessee, USA, as well as at Burghausen. At Zhangjiagang, it also intends to expand output of pyrogenic silica, which enhances the mechanical properties of silicone rubber.

Wacker is one of the few back-integrated silicone producers of pyrogenic silica, with production at Burghausen and Nünchritz, Germany, along with Charleston and Zhangjiagang. It produces for silica direct sale as well as for captive use. “As the world’s second largest silicone manufacturer, we are committed to supporting this dynamic growth even more strongly in the future,” said Robert Gnann, head of the Wacker Silicones business.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist