MUNICH—Construction on an $18.1 million expansion project is expected to begin later this summer and will boost Wacker Chemie A.G.'s silicone elastomer production capacity in South Korea beginning in the first quarter of 2018.
“The Asian market for sealants and encapsulants is growing at an incredible rate,” said Auguste Willems, Wacker Executive Board member. “In order to meet increasing demand over the long term, we have decided to significantly increase our production capacity in Jincheon. In this way, we intend to secure and continue expanding our position as a leading silicone manufacturer in the region and profit from Asia's strong growth.”
Space restraints prevent Wacker from expanding its existing buildings in South Korea, so the company plans to dismantle its current production facilities and relocate them.
The new facilities constructed in Jincheon—about 60 miles southeast of Seoul—will include production plants for silicone sealants, specialty silicones and liquid silicone rubber.
Silicone sealants and specialty silicones will be produced in physically separate areas on the 2.5-acre expansion site, which, according to Wacker, allows for flexibility in future expansion. The new facility also will have its own cleanroom area for producing and packaging silicone gels, encapsulants and silicone elastomer products in suitable conditions.
According to the Munich-based chemical company, the investment in the South Korean facilities demonstrates Wacker's response to the growing regional demand for silicone elastomers in the construction, electronics and automotive industries.
“Our objectives in building the new site are twofold: first, the site will create additional production capacity, which we will utilize for expanding our regional silicone sealant business,” Willems said. “At the same time, we also intend to continue growing our business regarding specialty silicones.”
Wacker's production of silicone sealants for the construction market and specialty silicone products for electronics began in Jincheon in 2010. In recent years, Wacker has been developing specialty silicone gels, encapsulants and thermally conductive silicone adhesives for the electronics and lighting industries.
South Korea's emergence as a stronghold for automotive and consumer electronics makes it an ideal location for the expansion of specialty silicones, according to Wacker Silicones President Robert Gnann.
“The aim of our investments is to allow us to participate in the growth of the electronics industry over the long term,” Gnann said. “With the expansion of our production capacity in Jincheon we will be able to support our customers' future growth by continuing to provide premium silicones in the quantity and quality they need.”