Wacker Opens new R&D Center in Michigan

16.05.2022 - Wacker Chemie has opened a new US regional innovation center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, dedicated to developing high-margin biotech and silicone specialties for high-tech applications. The site will also serve as headquarters of Wacker Chemical Corporation, responsible for its business in North and Central America.

Built at an investment of around €40 million, the research campus is part of Wacker’s growth campaign announced at the end of March this year. The Munich-based chemical producer said it hopes to “significantly expand” its market position in the US through investments in research and development, additional production capacities and accelerated growth.

The new 70,000 m2 campus will facilitate research into biotech and silicone applications for the North American market, allowing the activities to be concentrated under one roof. The building houses more than 20 technical and analytical laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment.

After China, the US is the largest market for chemicals and silicone products, Robert Gnann, president of the silicones business division, noted. With the decision to pool and expand its regional R&D expertise in Ann Arbor, Wacker “is fully committed to growth,” Gnann said. “We will systematically expand our market position as a manufacturer of silicone specialties in this important region.”

Focus of the center is on special products for innovative and in particular sustainable technologies and applications in fields ranging from biotechnology to silicones. The product list includes skin-sensitive silicone adhesives for wound care and portable medical devices, silicone-based defoamers for more energy-efficient process control and novel cyclodextrin applications for food supplements. With an eye to the circular economy, another focus will be on silicone recycling.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist