Wacker Chemie AG is increasing its global production capacities for silicone rubber. With plans to expand several sites, Wacker aims to gradually raise its capacities by a total of 40,000 metric tons per year by 2021. Approximately EUR100?million has been designated for this capacity expansion.
Wacker is responding to the high demand for silicone rubber in key sectors such as the automotive, electronics and medical industries. These investments are part of the Wacker Silicones division’s strategy of further expanding its portfolio of specialties.
“Silicones are high-performance materials. They are essential for novel product solutions and belong to the innovation drivers in key industry sectors such as automotive, medical, and electronics,” says Robert Gnann, head of the Wacker Silicones business division. “Above-average growth is being driven by the trends toward hybrid cars, electromobility and digitalization, as well as decentralized alternative electricity generation using wind and solar power. So, we are making a major contribution to increased sustainability while pursuing our strategy of clearly focusing on boosting specialties in our portfolio.”
With capacity expansions in the midstream production steps and downstream production, Wacker will significantly improve the silicone-rubber availability and related service for its customers in the near future. All solid silicone rubber product groups will benefit from these expansion measures. In April of this year, Wacker brought a new production site for silicone sealants and thermally-conductive silicone compounds on stream in Jincheon, South Korea. The production of room-temperature-vulcanizing silicone elastomers and liquid silicone rubbers has also started in Amtala, India, where Wacker manufactures silicones in a joint venture with Metroark.
For 2019, the company plans to further capacity enhancements for liquid silicone rubber, high- and room-temperature-vulcanizing silicones and thermally conductive silicone compounds at its production sites in Burghausen (Germany), Adrian (US), and Zhangjiagang (China). Wacker is currently also evaluating the option of building a plant for solid silicone rubber at its US-based site in Charleston, Tennessee. Wacker has been producing polysilicon there since 2016. A plant for manufacturing pyrogenic silica, an important filler for high consistency silicone rubber (HCR), will begin at this site next year.