Wacker Chemie AG recently announced that it has opened a new regional Innovation Center based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The research building, which will reportedly develop high-margin biotech and silicone specialties for high-tech applications in key industries, will also serve as the headquarters of the Wacker Chemical Corp. (WCC) subsidiary, which is responsible for the group’s business activities in North and Central America.
Wacker intends to significantly expand its market position in the U.S. and other target regions through investments in research and development, additional production capacities, and accelerated growth. The investment for the new facility amounts to around €40 million (approximately $41.7 million).
The new campus is situated on a 70,000-sq-m site. Wacker reports that biotech and silicone personnel who have previously conducted research at different locations will be able to develop products for the North American market under one roof. The building houses more than 20 technical and analytical laboratories featuring state-of-the-art equipment.
“After China, the United States is the largest market for chemicals and silicone products,” said Robert Gnann, president of Wacker’s silicones business division, at the official opening. “Our new Innovation Center is an essential prerequisite for serving customers in North America with tailor-made silicone specialties, which are used in a wide range of application fields. WACKER will thus become the preferred choice for customers who are looking for sustainable and forward-looking solutions for tomorrow’s products and technologies.”
According to Wacker, the focus of the research and development work at its new Innovation Center is on products for innovative and sustainable technologies and applications. Topics include: skin-sensitive silicone adhesives for wound care and portable medical devices; silicone-based defoamers, which control foaming and enable more energy-efficient process control; and cyclodextrin applications for food supplements. Circular economy and the recycling possibilities of silicones will also be a major topic.
In mid-April, more than 200 WCC employees in management, sales, and administration moved to Ann Arbor from the previous company headquarters in Adrian, Mich. The production site in Adrian, where Wacker has been producing silicones for more than 50 years, continues to manufacture silicone fluids, silicone emulsions, and silicone rubber.
“We are pleased to formally open this world-class Innovation Center today to our valued partners,” said David Wilhoit, president and CEO of WCC. “The site will serve as an important anchor for our growing operations across North and Central America. The Ann Arbor area is home to dozens of research facilities and educational institutions, making it one of the leading communities in Michigan and the entire nation for R&D, enabling the company to network with, and recruit from, among the best high-tech talent in the nation.”
For more information, visit www.wacker.com.