Wacker Chemie AG will expand its production capacities for silicone and polymer products in China.
Specifically, the company is expanding its solid silicone rubber manufacturing facility in Zhangjiagang as well as its production capacity for vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymer dispersions at its plant in Nanjing, China.
Its technical center in Shanghai will also be expanded to include new R&D labs for silicone fluids and resins, pyrogenic silica and room-temperature-curing silicone elastomers.
A food application lab for products from the Wacker Biosolutions division is also scheduled.
The company has set aside €20 million (US$23.62 million) for these expansion projects.
Most of the funds will be used for technical measures to eliminate production bottlenecks and to expand capacity.
One investment focus is on the Zhangjiagang site, where Wacker manufactures pyrogenic silica and several silicone products, including solid silicone rubber.
By building a new production line, the company can add several thousand metric tons of solid silicone rubber capacity in the future.
At the Nanjing polymer site, process-engineering improvements for the manufacture of VAE dispersions will boost the annual production capacity by up to 30,000 mt.
The announced expansion and debottlenecking measures are expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.
By year-end 2018, Wacker’s Shanghai office will have additional silicone labs for the development of new products and applications in areas such as coatings, construction, and consumer care.
The expansion project also includes the R&D lab for room-temperature-curing silicone elastomers which develops adhesives and sealants for construction and industrial applications.
It will also build a new application lab catering to the needs of the local food industry.