Munich, Germany-based Wacker Chemie AG is preparing to build a new silicone production complex at its Charleston, TN site.
The chemical group already started a feasibility study. The initail step includes building production plants for high-consistency silicone rubber and silicone sealants, used in construction applications, etc. Plants will also be built for the manufacture of intermediates. In additional phases, production plants for other product groups then be added (e.g. for silane-terminated polymers used as binders for formulating high-quality adhesives and sealants, liquid waterproofing systems, and environmentally friendly wood-flooring adhesives).
The capital expenditures earmarked for the expansion project--expected to take several years--are estimated to be more than $200 million, creating more than 200 new jobs in Charleston. Wacker has been producing high-purity polysilicon for the semiconductor and solar industries in Charleston since 2015, and HDK brand pyrogenic silica since 2019.
“The planned expansion measures in Charleston are a further step toward making Charleston a fully integrated site with closed production loops, and an important prerequisite for accelerating our growth as planned,” said CEO Christian Hartel.
“Wacker is the world's second-largest silicone producer, and this business is of strategic importance to us," Hartel continued. "Demand for high-performance specialty silicones is showing particularly strong growth. Such specialties enable innovative, tailor-made solutions in key industries such as automotive, construction, electronics, and medical technology. By expanding our capacities, we aim to support our customers to the best of our ability.”
"In the US, demand for silicones has shown above-average growth in recent years," said David Wilhoit, president & CEO of Wacker's US subsidiary, Wacker Chemical Corp. "With this comprehensive investment offensive, we are further expanding our position in the world's second largest chemical market."