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Wacker Expands to Support Silicone Growth and Demand

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Wacker Chemical Corporation is working on a number of concurrent expansion projects to support regional growth and demand for silicones and HDK pyrogenic silica. The company plans on an expansion strategy to add capacity in Europe and in Asia to align with North America, in addition to investing in additional equipment.

Ian Moore, Ph.D., vice president, Wacker Chemical Corporation has 30 years of global operation and commercial experience in the silicone industry and explained the demand silicones are seeing across all market segments including automotive and transportation, health care and personal care industries.

“Wacker’s current investment strategy in infrastructure and capacity expansion in the America’s region will involve several coordinated projects,” said Moore. “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 (MI-HQ) 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.”

With 70 years of experience in developing silicone products and customer solutions, the company has had significant growth throughout the years, which Moore also explained.

“Wacker’s Silicones division in 2016 had €2 billion in global sales and [ranked] as the world’s number two supplier,” he said. “In contrast, in 2014 silicones sales were €1.73 billion, so clearly the division is poised for growth. Based upon the company’s 2017 Q1 and then its Q2 financial report, the company already revised upward its expectation for Wacker Silicones, the main reason being continued strong volume growth and demand for silicone products. With the publishing of the Q3 report, Wacker reported silicones volume growth was up 11% for the quarter, generating sales of €559.3 million vs. €503.1 million Q3 2016.”

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