The new facility will be located at the Charleston International Manufacturing Center in Goose Creek, S.C., about 24 miles north of Charleston. Evonik also earlier confirmed that the facility will produce its Ultrasil-brand of rubber silica at the new facility—which are reinforcing fillers for the rubber industry. In addition to the tire industry, the product line is used in hoses, belts and rollers.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce approved a $500,000 Economic Development grant to assist with site preparation and construction of the project.
The production plant predominately will supply the tire industry. Evonik said the industry needs high-quality precipitated silica for producing fuel-efficient tires with good wet grip properties, which can save up to 8 percent fuel in comparison to conventional car tires. In North America, the demand for tires with reduced rolling resistance and the associated higher fuel efficiency is experiencing above-average growth.
"We are building the new plant near Charleston close to the production plants of large tire manufacturers," Ohmer said. "We want to provide global tire manufacturers with the supply security and flexibility they expect from us in local production. And in North America, the demand for tires with reduced rolling resistance is experiencing above-average growth. The proximity to our key customers in the tire industry was decisive in choosing South Carolina."
The Southeast U.S. has seen a wealth of tire growth as Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Pirelli Tire L.L.C., Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. and Yokohama Tire Corp. all operate tire manufacturing plants in the region. Michelin, Bridgestone and Continental have manufacturing in South Carolina, with Giti Tire preparing to open a site in the state too. Trelleborg A.G. also operates a specialty agriculture tire facility in Spartanburg, S.C.
Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. has a Tennessee plant nearing completion and recently Continental disclosed plans construct a new plant in Mississippi.
Evonik operates a colloidal silica plant in Portland, Ore., and it produces fumed silica in Waterford, N.J., and Mobile, Ala. It also is constructing a silica production facility in Brazil that is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
Headquartered in Essen, Evonik has operations in more than 100 countries with 33,500 employees. The specialty chemicals producer generated sales of about $14.9 billion in 2015.