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Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Markets & companies, Raw materials market

Construction applications: Wacker strengthens presence in Latin America

Monday, 7 March 2016

Wacker Chemie AG is expanding its presence in Latin America by opening a new technical center for construction applications and a new subsidiary in Bogotá (Colombia).

Employees are testing the tensile bond strength of tile adhesives at the new technical center in Bogotá. Source: Wacker

Employees are testing the tensile bond strength of tile adhesives at the new technical center in Bogotá. Source: Wacker

The technical facility serves as a development and testing laboratory for dispersible polymer powders, which are needed as binders for the regional building industry. In addition to polymer construction materials, the new subsidiary also represents the company’s biotechnology and silicone divisions. By expanding its local expertise in development, applications technology and service, Wacker is able to optimally support local customers and business partners. It is thus further opening up the Andean region’s rapidly developing markets for high-quality construction polymers and chemical raw materials.

Strong growth in the building industry

The reason for this increased commitment to the region is strong growth, particularly in the building industry. "Latin America is a promising market for Wacker. Demand for chemical raw materials, especially our dispersible polymer powders, has risen noticeably over recent years,” says David Wilhoit, head of Wacker Chemical Corporation, the subsidiary which is responsible for the North and Latin American regions. "With the new subsidiary and technical center, we are further expanding our strong market position in the Andean region. This will allow us to optimally support our local customers and partners.”

Local R&D facility for polymer binders

The new technical center in Bogotá serves as a local research and development facility for polymer binders for construction applications. The focus is on formulations containing "Vinnapas" dispersible polymer powders, which are used in dry-mix mortars for tile adhesives or grouts, for example. The labs are state-of-the-art and provide equipment for testing products under different climatic and environmental conditions. For supplementary analyses, Wacker’s global network of technical centers is also available for consultative support.

Tailoring  products to modern trends

"The new technical center enables us to support our customers in tailoring their products to modern construction trends and local raw materials, helping them solve construction-chemical related challenges”, explains Christoph Riemer, head of Wacker’s polymer powder business. "The transformation from conventional building materials and methods to high-quality systems using polymer powders is one of our key strategies. With the new lab, we are significantly contributing to the distribution of modern construction materials in the Andean region.”

Regional subsidiary

The facility further houses a regional subsidiary that promotes products from the Silicones, Polymers and Biosolutions divisions to customers from Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru. Bundling sales, R&D laboratories and applications technology under one roof fosters closer teamwork between the sales and development teams and further enhances customer support in the region. This makes it easier for Wacker to respond quickly to specific requirements and to incorporate customer feedback.

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