Wacker Chemie AG recently announced it plans to expand its production capacities for silicone and polymer products in China and continue to reinforce its research and development capability. The company is reportedly 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. Wacker’s technical center in Shanghai will also be expanded to include new R&D labs for silicone fluids and resins, pyrogenic silica and room-temperature-curing silicone elastomers. A total investment of €20 million (approximately $23.5 million) has been earmarked for these expansion projects.

Most of the funds will reportedly be used for technical measures to eliminate production bottlenecks and to expand capacity. One investment focus is on the Zhangjiagang site, where Wacker manufactures pyrogenic silica and several silicone products, including solid silicone rubber. The announced expansion and debottlenecking measures are expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.

“Greater China is one of our most important business regions. With annual sales of well over one billion Euro, 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 utilization, additional volumes are almost impossible. That is why we are now expanding capacities at our Chinese sites in Zhangjiagang and Nanjing. This will help us support our customers’ growth and strengthen our  market position in the region long term.”

Paul Lindblad, president of Wacker Greater China, also announced an expansion of the company’s R&D facilities in Shanghai. Wacker reportedly already operates a technical center there. By year-end 2018, Shanghai will reportedly 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.

For more information, visit www.wacker.com.