Wacker and Dow Corning open expanded pyrogenic silica plant in Zhangjiagang, China

Combined US$1.8bn investment

Wacker Chemie AG and Dow Corning Corporation have officially inaugurated the completed second phase of their joint pyrogenic silica plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, China. The pyrogenic silica plant, together with a siloxane plant, is a key facility of the Dow Corning-Wacker integrated silicone manufacturing site developed by both companies at Jiangsu Yangtze River Chemical Industrial Park in Zhangjiagang to produce materials used extensively in industries including beauty and personal care, construction, power and automotives.

Covering an area of one million sqm, the combined US$1.8bn investment is China’s largest facility of this kind and among the world’s largest and most advanced integrated production complexes for silicones.

The combined capacity for siloxane and pyrogenic silica at the site, including the second phase silica plant, is expected to reach approximately 210,000 metric tons per year. Investments from both partners for the new pyrogenic silica production facility amount to a mid double-digit million euro sum.

Pyrogenic silica and siloxane are key ingredients in the manufacture of finished silicone products. Silicone-based materials are used in nearly all sectors of China’s booming economy, including cosmetics and personal care products, automotive, construction, electronics, power generation and distribution, solar energy and textiles.

“Demand for advanced silicone products is growing – in China and globally,” said Dr Wilhelm Sittenthaler, board member of Wacker Chemie AG, during the opening ceremony held at the site today. “The new facility will allow us not only to respond quickly to local market needs and to improve customer services in the region. We are further able to provide silicone products that meet international quality standards and thus drive the sustainable development of the silicone industry in China.”

Bridget Sparrow, global business vice president, core business, Dow Corning Corporation, emphasised at the ceremony: “With the inauguration of our siloxane plant at Zhangjiagang last year, Dow Corning now has three of the largest siloxane manufacturing facilities in the world. Today’s expansion inauguration is an addition to our world class facility here. Our investment in this site significantly enhances our ability to meet the growing needs for silicone and to help spur the growth of many key industries in this region. It also demonstrates our commitment as a company to sustainable development, using our long history of expertise and technology know-how to create environmental, economic and social benefits wherever we operate.”

The Zhangjiagang site has been constructed according to world class standards, using cutting edge technologies to ensure high product quality and performance. These include advanced processes for raw material efficiency, a highly energy efficient design and environmental control technology. The plant sources most of its raw materials locally, making the facility highly cost competitive. Integrated production technology plays a further an important role in reducing emissions, logistics and traffic, which in turn benefits the local community.

The expanded site adheres to strict international standards with regard to Environment, Health and Safety (EHS). Dow Corning and Wacker, both world leaders in silicon-based materials, are fully committed to sustainable manufacturing in China. In addition, both companies are members of Responsible Care, the chemical industry’s global voluntary initiative to continuously improve health, safety and environmental performance.

Each company also owns and operates manufacturing plants for finished silicone products at the Zhangjiagang site. Marketing and sales are undertaken independently by each company.

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