After four years of construction, Dow Corning Corporation and Wacker Chemie AG today officially inaugurated their joint integrated silicone manufacturing site in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, China. The facility will serve fast-growing demand for silicone materials in China and Asia.
The combined US$1.8 billion investment, covering 1 million square meters, is China's largest facility of this kind and is among the world's biggest and most advanced integrated silicone production sites. The integrated site includes a siloxane plant and a pyrogenic silica plant, both of which are jointly owned by Dow Corning and WACKER. The site also features finished silicone production plants which are owned and operated independently by each company.
Siloxane and pyrogenic silica 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 automotive, construction, cosmetics and personal care products, electronics, power generation and distribution, solar energy and textiles.
The landmark project began in 2006, and the first phase of raw material production was launched in 2008. The combined capacity for siloxane and pyrogenic silica is expected to reach approximately 210,000 metric tons per year.
Dow Corning and WACKER are world leaders in silicon-based materials. To better serve customers in China and Asia with their cutting edge technology, the two global companies aligned in a joint venture to build the largest silicone manufacturing site in China. The innovative alliance offers experience and expertise to the silicone industry in Asia, which provides enabling technologies and capabilities to a diverse set of industries.
During an opening ceremony held at the site today, Dr. Stephanie Burns, Chairman and CEO of Dow Corning Corporation, and Dr. Rudolf Staudigl, President and CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, emphasized the strategic importance of the manufacturing site.
"Today's inauguration of our integrated silicone manufacturing site represents a milestone for both companies," Dr. Burns said. "While the economic environment has changed a lot since we broke ground here four years ago, our commitment to and faith in China's future has never changed. Throughout China and in many other parts of Asia, we see an increasing number of manufacturers using silicones to improve the performance of their products. Our investment in this site significantly enhances our ability to meet that need and to spur growth in many key industries in this region."
In his remarks, Dr. Staudigl said: "This is an exciting day for both WACKER and Dow Corning, for our customers and for the people of China. The site enables us to serve our customers' needs, to support the development of the silicone industry in China, to further grow our local business, and to contribute to China's circular economy, which is an important part in China's commitment to sustainable development."
At the integrated Zhangjiagang site, Dow Corning and WACKER adhere to strict global environment health and safety standards (EHS) and state-of-the-art production processes and technology 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 innovative joint-venture approach, operating shared facilities, offers economies of scale through the sharing of power, utilities and subsequent efficiencies. The integrated production technology plays an important role in reducing emissions and logistical efficiency.
The closed-loop facility will allow the siloxane plant to supply chlorosilane for the production of pyrogenic silica. In turn, the pyrogenic silica plant will send back its by-product, hydrogen chloride (HCL), for the production of siloxane. When the site does purchase raw materials, many can be sourced locally, offering additional efficiency and cost benefits.
Dow Corning and WACKER are fully committed to sustainable manufacturing in China. Like their other facilities around the world, the integrated site was designed and built based on the principles of sustainable development.
Both Dow Corning and WACKER are members of the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers, China's first international association that deals with chemical issues. The members work to continually improve their performance in terms of environment, health, safety and security practices and share best practices for sustainable production with their Chinese peers, providing professional solutions to issues China and many other nations are facing.