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The group is planning further capacity enhancements at its production sites in Burghausen, Germany.
The group is planning further capacity enhancements at its production sites in Burghausen, Germany.

The Munich-based chemical group WACKER is increasing its global production capacities for silicone rubber. It is expected that its capacities will be gradually increased by a total of 40,000 metric tons per year by 2021. Approximately €100 million has been earmarked for this capacity expansion.

With these measures, WACKER is responding to the high demand for silicone rubber in key sectors such as the automotive, electronics and medical industries. These investments are part of the WACKER SILICONES division’s strategy of further expanding its portfolio of specialties.

With capacity expansions in the midstream production steps and downstream production, the group will significantly improve the silicone-rubber availability and related service for its customers in the near future.

All solid silicone rubber product groups will benefit from these expansion measures. In April this year, the group already brought a new production site for silicone sealants and thermally conductive silicone compounds on stream in Jincheon, South Korea.

The production of room-temperature-vulcanizing silicone elastomers and liquid silicone rubbers has also started in Amtala, India, where WACKER manufactures silicones in a joint venture with Metroark.

For 2019, the chemical group is planning further capacity enhancements for liquid silicone rubber, high- and room-temperature-vulcanizing silicones and thermally conductive silicone compounds at its production sites in Burghausen (Germany), Adrian (Michigan, USA) and Zhangjiagang (China).

WACKER is currently also evaluating the option of building a plant for solid silicone rubber at its US-based site in Charleston, Tennessee. The group has been producing polysilicon there since 2016. In addition, a plant for manufacturing pyrogenic silica, which is an important filler for high consistency silicone rubber (HCR), will come on stream at this site next year.

Silicone rubber is among the most sought-after elastomers in the industry. “Above-average growth is being driven by the trends toward hybrid cars, electromobility and digitalization, as well as decentralized alternative electricity generation using wind and solar power. So, we are making a major contribution to increased sustainability while pursuing our strategy of clearly focusing on boosting specialties in our portfolio,” said Robert Gnann, head of the WACKER SILICONES business division.

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