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Wacker Invests in New Production Line for Silicone Specialties in Germany

Nov 09, 2020 - The Munich-based chemical company Wacker is to begin construction on a new production line for silane-terminated polymers at its site in Nünchritz, Germany, this year. Such hybrid polymers are used as binders for formulating high-quality adhesives and sealants, liquid waterproofing systems and environmentally friendly wood-flooring adhesives, among other applications. The investment budgeted for the construction project is in the mid double-digit million range. The production line will go onstream in 2022. Wacker intends to significantly expand its production capacities for hybrid polymers and to further strengthen its focus on specialty chemical products with this investment.

For over fifteen years, Wacker has manufactured silane-terminated polymers at its production site in Burghausen, Germany. Since then, the hybrid-polymer business has experienced robust growth, the company now ranking the second largest manufacturer of silane-terminated binders for adhesives and sealants. “Given the obvious rise in demand for such products, expanding our production capacity for hybrid polymers was a logical decision,” says Executive Board member Auguste Willems.

The location for the capacity expansion was selected on the basis of market access, availability of critical raw materials and, most importantly, production technology aspects. “We have the space for a fully integrated production line in Nünchritz, which we could even expand, should the need arise,” noted Willems.

Hybrid polymers rank among the most important growth fields for Wacker Silicones at present. “Our innovative alpha-technology based silanes are used in the manufacturing process,” says Robert Gnann who heads the company’s silicones business division. “Hybrid polymers have a unique property profile. That’s why they are used for formulating particularly high-quality and high-performance adhesives and sealants. Wacker has established a unique selling point worldwide with its alpha-silane technology.”

Wacker says that silane-modified polymers enable the manufacture of environmentally friendly adhesives. “The sustainability aspect is steadily gaining traction with the formulation of adhesives and sealants as well. This is what attracts manufacturers and customers alike,” says Gnann. “The alpha-silane technology allows us to develop customized binders for an exceptionally wide variety of adhesives and applications. Demand for these kinds of adhesives will continue to increase in the coming years.”

Wacker has produced silane-modified polymers since 2005. Applications for hybrid polymers, which the company has marketed globally under the Geniosil brand, include adhesives and sealants as well as construction, assembly and wood-flooring adhesives. Product properties like hardness, elasticity and tensile strength can be varied in a targeted manner with hybrid binders and adapted to special requirements for adhesive or sealant applications.

In addition, further hybrid polymers developed in a patented process open up numerous new application areas. These include water-repellent sealing membranes for flat roofs and balconies on the one hand, and strong adhesives, grout mortars, crack-filling compounds, paints and wear-resistant coatings for concrete floors, on the other.

Source: Wacker