Wacker expands production and R&D capacities in China
Specifically, the company is expanding its solid silicone rubber manufacturing facility in Zhangjiagang as well as its production capacity for vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymer dispersions at its plant in Nanjing.
Investment of EUR20 million
Wacker’s technical center in Shanghai will also be expanded. This includes new R&D labs for silicone fluids and resins, pyrogenic silica and room-temperature-curing silicone elastomers. A food application lab for products from the Wacker Biosolutions division is also scheduled. A total investment of EUR20 million has been earmarked for these expansion projects.
Completion in the second half of 2018
Most of the funds will be used for technical measures to eliminate production bottlenecks and to expand capacity. One investment focus is on the Zhangjiagang site. By building a new production line, the company will be able to add several thousand metric tons of solid silicone rubber capacity in the future. At the Nanjing polymer site, process-engineering improvements for the manufacture of VAE dispersions will boost the annual production capacity by up to 30,000 metric tons. The measures are expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.
Important business region
“Greater China is one of our most important business regions. With annual sales of well over EUR1 billion, it is Wacker’s largest single market and stands for one fourth of Group sales”, said CEO Rudolf Staudigl, speaking to customers in Shanghai. The demand for silicones and polymer products in China has been growing steadily for years. However, due to high plant capacity utilisation, additional volumes are almost impossible. “That is why we are now expanding capacities at our Chinese sites in Zhangjiagang and Nanjing”, said Staudigl.
Additional R&D facilities
Paul Lindblad, President of Wacker Greater China, also announced an expansion of the company’s R&D facilities in Shanghai. Wacker already operates a technical center there. By year-end 2018, Shanghai will have additional silicone labs for the development of new products and applications in areas such as coatings, construction, and consumer care. The expansion project also includes the R&D lab for room-temperature-curing silicone elastomers which develops adhesives and sealants for construction and industrial applications.