Wacker expands silicone rubber capacities
Wacker is to increase its global production capacities for silicone rubber by 40,000 tonnes/year by 2021, spending about €100 million in the process. This will be implemented during 2019 at multiple sites production sites in Germany, the US and China, and covering liquid silicone rubber, high- and room-temperature-vulcanising silicones and thermally conductive silicone compounds.
The move came in response to high demand in the automotive, electronics and medical industries, among others. “Above-average growth is being driven by the trends toward hybrid cars, electromobility and digitalisation, as well as decentralised alternative electricity generation using wind and solar power,” commented Robert Gnann, head of the Wacker Silicones business division.
The company also is currently also evaluating building a plant for solid silicone rubber at Charleston, Tennessee, where it has been producing polysilicon there since 2016. Production of pyrogenic silica, a key filler for high consistency silicone rubber, will come on stream here in 2020. In 2018, Wacker started up a new site for silicone sealants and thermally conductive silicone compounds in South Korea and began producing room-temperature-vulcanising silicone elastomers and liquid silicone rubbers at a joint venture facility in India.
Wacker Silicones accounts for about 45% of company turnover. It is claimed to be one of the world’s largest and most diversified producers of silicone, with about 3,000 products including silicone fluids, emulsions, resins, elastomers and sealants, silanes, silane-terminated polymers and pyrogenic silica.