Wacker expands production capacity for Silicone Sealants and Specialty Silicones
German Wacker Chemie AG is expanding its silicone elastomer production capacity in Jincheon, South Korea. The new facilities will include production plants for silicone sealants, specialty silicones and liquid silicone rubber
At the same time, existing production units in Jincheon will be transferred to the new site. Investments for the expansion will total around EUR 16 million. Construction work will officially start end of July, production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. The new expansion project is Wacker’s response to growing regional demand for silicone elastomers in the construction, electronics and automotive industries.
The new production site is located in Jincheon, roughly 100 km southeast of Seoul. “The Asian market for sealants and encapsulants is growing at an incredible rate,” noted WACKER Executive Board member Auguste Willems. “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.”
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. Due to space constraints, however, capacity expansions at the existing site are not possible. For this reason, Wacker will dismantle the production facilities there late next year and transfer them to the new site in Jincheon. “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 emphasized. “At the same time, we also intend to continue growing our business regarding specialty silicones.”
For several years now, Wacker has been developing specialty silicone gels, encapsulants and thermally conductive silicone adhesives for the electronics and lighting industries. During this time, South Korea has emerged as a stronghold for automotive and consumer electronics. That makes Jincheon the perfect location for these kinds of specialty silicones, Willems added.
Silicone sealants and specialty silicones will be produced in physically separate areas on the site, which has a size of 2.5 acres. This will allow the company to optimize its production processes and maximize its flexibility for future expansion projects. The building will also include its own cleanroom area for producing and packaging silicone gels, encapsulants and silicone elastomer products under suitable conditions – an increasingly frequent demand, especially for optical applications.
“Over the past few years, our Centre of Electronics Excellence in Pangyo has been very successful in its efforts to develop products for the electronics industry in South Korea and elsewhere in Asia,” said Wacker Silicone’s 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. 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.”