Expansions: Wacker expands capacity for polymer products in China; OCSiAl opens graphene nanotube R&D centre in Europe

Wacker expands capacity for polymer products in China

Germany-based Wacker Chemie is expanding its Chinese polymer activities by investing around US$100 million in building two new production plants at its Nanjing site. The Munich-based chemical group says it is expanding Nanjing by adding a reactor for vinyl-acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions and a spray dryer for VAE dispersible polymer powders. The new plants’ construction is set to start as soon as the local authorities have issued the final permits. The reactor and spray dryer are scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2022. The two plants, when completed, will be the largest of their kind in the world.

The Nanjing expansion will more than double its production capacity there, enabling it to meet growing customer demand for its high-quality binders, particularly from China’s buoyant construction industry. “China is the largest building market in the world, accounting for 20% of all construction investment. Our capacity expansion in Nanjing strengthens our position as the global leader for vinyl acetate-ethylene dispersions and polymer powders,” notes Rudolf Staudigl, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, as he explains the reasons for the investment.

Paul Lindblad, President of Wacker Greater China, said, “Ongoing urbanisation and the need to renovate existing residential buildings continue to drive the development of environmentally-friendly dry-mix building materials in China. Nanjing’s expanded capacities will enable us to securely meet future market growth in the region.”

Dispersions and dispersible polymer powders from Wacker are used in such sectors as construction, paints, coatings and adhesives – for example, for formulating high-quality tile adhesives, energy-saving external thermal insulation composite systems, and low-odour low-emission interior paints. They also find application in paper coating and in carpets and textiles.

At its fully integrated production site in the Nanjing Jiangbei New Material High-Tech Park, Wacker manufactures VAE dispersions, dispersible polymer powders and polyvinyl acetate solid resins. Polyvinyl acetate solid resins, marketed under the trade name Vinapas, are used as binders and/or as additives, for example, in adhesives, sound-damping sheets or as low-profile additives. Bundling its Chinese polymer activities at one site creates synergies, since shared infrastructure, raw-material sources and energy supplies enable economies of scale. In addition, this approach makes transport and logistics especially efficient.

OCSiAl opens graphene nanotube R&D centre in Europe

In other news, headquartered in Luxembourg, the world’s largest producer of graphene nanotubes OCSiAl has opened its R&D and technical support centre designed to develop next gen materials with graphene nanotubes. The new centre is located in Luxembourg – a hub for advanced technology companies, providing a home to innovative research institutes and global manufacturers.

Being a leading supplier of graphene nanotube solutions for various industries, OCSiAl Group’s established R&D and technical support centres are located in Asia and Eastern Europe. The current decision to open a new centre in Luxembourg is related to the fact that Europe is at the forefront of developments in material engineering solutions, including the ongoing auto industry revolution. Light-weight and smart car bodies, energy efficient and safe tires, are among the main focuses of OCSiAl’s European team of experts in nanotechnology and materials engineering.

The new centre covers an area of 350 sq m and has more than 50 items of high-end equipment. The major part of all developments will be targeted towards elastomers and thermoplastic composites enhanced with graphene nanotubes that will be widely applied in the cars of the future.

“OCSiAl’s product line is constantly growing. We have developed high-performance solutions for Li-ion batteries and various polymers, many of which have already been accepted as an industry standard. And in fact, one of the best demonstrators and drivers of most nanotube developments is auto industry. Graphene nanotubes significantly enhance and even grant new properties to all the materials that are being used in cars. We make it possible to make safer, lighter, smarter and more eco-friendly vehicles,” said Konstantin Notman, OCSiAl senior vice president, OCSiAl Europe CEO.

The company plans to launch the world’s largest graphene nanotube synthesising facility in Luxembourg in 2023. Together with the R&D and technical support centre, OCSiAl’s new production facility will form a cluster for the most advanced developments in the field of materials of the future.


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