FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany—Munich-based Wacker Chemie A.G. has lined up a number of expansion projects for its silicone production operations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
At Fakuma 2017, Wacker presented new Elastosil LR 5040 product line. The LSR is "extremely robust" after curing and can be used in sensitive areas even without thermal post-curing.
According to Christian Gimber, head of the engineering silicones unit at Wacker Silicones, demand for silicone rubber materials is growing globally, and capacity expansions are in the pipeline for the materials in the coming years. Business, he said, is largely driven by growth in demand from the automotive and medical industries.
As part of its expansion strategy, Wacker expects to start production at a new silicone elastomers plant in Jincheon, South Korea, with a focus on electronics.
Construction work on the $18.8 million facility started in July 2016, with production slated to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
Wacker operations in Jincheon began in 2010 with the production of silicone sealants for construction applications and a variety of specialty silicone products for the electronics industry. But as further capacity expansion at the old site is not possible due to space constraints, Wacker intends to dismantle the facility and transfer it to the new site in Jincheon.
In addition to that, Gimber said, Wacker is working on further capacity expansions in Asia, at the site of an existing plant.
For next year, the company also is considering further investments in silicone rubber production in Germany and the U.S.
With $2.35 billion in sales last year, Wacker's silicones division is the world's No. 2 silicones supplier, after Dow Corning.