ADRIAN, MI – Wacker Chemical Corp., part of the global chemical group Wacker Chemie AG, is planning a number of concurrent expansion projects to support regional growth and demand for silicones and HDK® pyrogenic silica. The investments in North America align with WACKER’s overall expansion strategy to add capacity in Europe and in Asia.
“WACKER is a leading silicone solutions provider, offering customers a reliable supply of materials, consistent quality, technical and customer support services, and innovative technology,” said Dr. Ian Moore, Wacker Chemical Corp. Vice President Silicones. “WACKER’s expansion strategy is designed to support continued growth in demand for silicone products, further increase customer satisfaction and accelerate product development.”
Moore, who joined WACKER in July 2017 and has over 30 years of global operations and commercial experience in the silicones industry, explained that growth in silicones demand is seen across all market segments, with stronger growth coming from the automotive and transportation, health care, and personal care industries. In addition to capacity expansion, demand for silicone elastomers, fluids, emulsions, and HDK pyrogenic silica necessitates that WACKER also employ significant resources to support customers’ needs in growing their businesses.
“WACKER’s current investment strategy in infrastructure and capacity expansion in the Americas region will involve several coordinated projects,” Moore said. “Already looking at this past summer, we opened the Silicones R&D Center located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having this 10,000-square-foot research and development center situated in the Michigan Innovation Headquarters facility complements WACKER’s business model of being close to our customers and close to serving regional market trends. Currently under construction and scheduled to open in mid-2019 is our HDK plant in Charleston, Tennessee. When open, the plant will provide our customers a regionally-sourced supply of pyrogenic silica, having an annual capacity of some 13,000 metric tons. WACKER has earmarked some $150 million for this investment.”
Complementing these projects, WACKER sites that manufacture silicone elastomers, fluids and emulsions are planning to significantly expand production capacity through infrastructure development and investments in additional equipment. Moore said that engineering planning for a number of projects is already underway. These plans include the addition of capacities for elastomers, intermediate production processes, and further investment in antifoam compounds and silicone emulsion production.
WACKER’s leadership position in silicones manufacturing and technology is anchored in its 70 years of experience in developing new and advanced silicone products and innovative customer solutions. “Serving our customers’ needs today is certainly as important as serving their needs well into the future. The investments we are making today competitively positions WACKER in the Americas and positions WACKER as a globally leading chemical company for the coming years ahead,” Moore commented.