ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Wacker Chemie A.G. has opened its Silicones R&D Center in Ann Arbor that will be used to develop new products for its customers in the Americas.
The 10,000-sq.-ft. site represented a "single digit million dollar investment" that will be operated by Wacker Chemical Corp., Wacker's Adrian, Mich.-based subsidiary for North and Central America and the North Andean Region of South America. The silicones center is located at the co-work campus of the Michigan Innovation Headquarters and includes laboratories for R&D and analytics.
Initial staffing will be 10 "highly specialized experts in the field of silicone and polymer chemistry." Wacker officials said at the June 13 grand opening of the center. Long-term plans will be to employ 25 scientists at the center.
"We have completed the necessary preparation work and installation of equipment for several labs focusing on research and development," said David Wilhoit, Wacker Chemical Corp. president and CEO. "Right from the start we are engaged in projects involving health and medical care, paints and coatings, electronics and personal care products, all of which are key industry growth segments, particularly for silicone-based chemistry."
Axel Schmidt, Wacker Chemical vice president for silicones, said the research at Ann Arbor will be focused on "developing advanced and forward-looking solutions in concert with regional trends that can be quickly brought to market."
He added that the center complements Wacker's strategic business model of being close to its customers to be able to serve regional market trends.
For 2016, the Wacker Silicones business accounted for $2.22 billion of Wacker Chemie's $5.14 billion of global sales. The silicones unit's key technologies include elastomers, hybrids, emulsions and resins.