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Report | January 2018

Wacker to build new facility in S. Korea

WACKER has been supplying chemicals to South Korea since the mid-1980s. In 1996, it set up Wacker Chemicals Korea as its subsidiary there.

Wacker Chemie AG is expanding its existing production plants for polymer binders in South Korea. The Munich-based chemical company plans to build a new spray dryer for dispersible polymer powders at its Ulsan site. The dryer will have a total capacity of 80,000 metric tonne per year. WACKER also plans to build a further reactor for dispersions based on vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE). Its dispersions will be used in the spray dryer for the production of dispersible polymer powders. Thanks to the new reactor, Ulsan’s VAE dispersion capacity will more than double. Ulsan’s plant complex, which covers the entire product chain from VAE dispersions to dispersible polymer powders, will be one of the largest of its kind worldwide. Capital expenditures of around €60 million are budgeted for the capacity increase and for expanding local infrastructure. Scheduled to start before the end of the year, construction work is expected to be finished by Q1 2019.

“Our investment in expanding our polymer-binder production facilities in Ulsan is a key step in our global growth strategy,” said Rudolf Staudigl, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG. “The additional capacity will strengthen our market position the world’s leading manufacturer of dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, and will help us meet our Asian customers’ continuously rising demand over the long term,” he emphasised.

Worldwide, megatrends such as urbanisation, renovation and energy efficiency are stimulating demand for environmentally compatible dry-mix mortar products. This, in turn, is spurring demand from WACKER’s customers for high-quality dispersible polymer powders. WACKER therefore sees the current expansion as vital for reliably and enduringly meeting the market growth projected for the region. Alongside the new facilities, the Group is also investing in the expansion and modernisation of local infrastructure.

Dal-ho Cho, in charge of the Korean subsidiary Wacker Chemicals Korea, stressed the importance of the expansion programme for Asian markets: “The new facilities will not only secure WACKER’s supply chain in South Korea in the years ahead, but will also enable us to supply first-class, locally manufactured products and solutions to our regional customers to meet their specific needs.” Utilising the Ulsan site’s existing infrastructure, he added, would produce synergy effects in transportation and logistics.

WACKER already produces VINNAPAS VAE dispersions at its Ulsan site. With over 60 years’ experience in the development and production of dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, WACKER is global technology and market leader in the field of vinyl-acetate-based copolymers and terpolymers. The binders are needed in sectors such as construction, paints, coatings and adhesives, for example for formulating high-quality tile adhesives, cementitious waterproofing membranes, energy-saving external thermal insulation composite systems, and low-odor, low-emission interior paints. They are also used in carpet applications, technical textiles and the coating of paper.

WACKER has been supplying chemicals to South Korea since the mid-1980s. In 1996, it set up Wacker Chemicals Korea as its subsidiary there. Since early 2008, WACKER’s site in Ulsan (southeastern Korea) has been producing VAE dispersions and providing local support to customers and partners through its technical centre for research and applications engineering. In 2010, WACKER acquired the South Korean Lucky-Silicone brand – used mainly for producing and marketing silicone sealants for the construction sector. In 2012, WACKER moved to the Pangyo Techno Valley close to the capital, Seoul, where R&D, technical support and the WACKER ACADEMY, a training centre, are housed under a single roof.

WACKER presents silicones and polymers for coating and print applications

WACKER presented a diverse range of new polymer- and silicone-based products for the region’s coating, adhesive and print industries at ABRAFATI 2017, which took place from October 3-6 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The company displayed products including the PRIMIS SAF 9000 dispersion and concentrated anti-graffiti agent SILRES BS 710 for the dirt-repellent treatment of surfaces.

Alongside the VINNAPAS EF 575 dispersion for caulks and sealants, the Group also presented the VINNAPAS EP 3360 binder for the formulation of low-odor interior paints and the polymer resin VINNOL E 18/38 for printing ink. In addition, WACKER introduced three binders for adhesive applications and two new silicone products for industrial coatings to the South American market.

A special highlight of this year’s ABRAFATI was WACKER’s latest solutions for dirt-repellent treatments for an exceptionally wide range of surfaces. Due to its unique composition, the dispersion PRIMIS SAF 9000 is both oil-resistant and hydrophobic, meaning it protects wall paints against many different types of stains – from coffee and red wine to colored pencils. Just adding 10-20 per cent of the dispersion in relation to the main binder is enough to allow dirt to be simply wiped off the wall using a sponge.

The new concentrated anti-graffiti agent SILRES BS 710 is a one-part silicone rubber formulation that cures to form a silicone elastomer at room temperature and upon exposure to moisture. Thanks to the permanent, elastic, protective silicone film that it forms, graffiti can be easily washed off with water, while stickers, posters and signs can be removed effortlessly. A particular benefit of this product is that it contains no organotin compounds or oximes, and is formulated with little solvent.

At this year’s event, WACKER presented the VAE dispersion VINNAPASE P 6420 for formulating water-based adhesives for demanding paper and packaging applications. This all-purpose VAE binder offers first class performance with nozzle applications featuring excellent running properties and no skin formation. The product displays a good balance between cohesion and adhesion, outstanding cleanability, high setting speed and good machine processability. Its optimal viscosity and high solids content combined with its high sedimentation stability – even when diluted to lower viscosities – allow VINNAPAS EP 6420 to achieve formulations with a broad viscosity spectrum.

For hard-to-bond substrates that require increasingly strong adhesion WACKER has developed the new VINNAPAS EP 701K dispersion. Its high ethylene content paired with a low glass transition temperature (Tg - 10°C) makes this VAE dispersion particularly flexible. Thanks to its strong bonding strength, high setting speed and good machine running properties, VINNAPAS EP 701K is perfectly suited to laminating plastic films on coated and uncoated paper. Typical applications include paper bags, cardboard boxes, book covers or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) lamination for furniture. Since the chemical composition of VINNAPAS EP 701K renders additional plasticisers unnecessary, adhesives with a low migration potential can be formulated with this product.

WACKER will introduce the VINNAPAS EF 575 dispersion for caulks and sealants to the South American market for the first time. The product is an ideal binder in sealing compounds for a range of applications, for example for joints in windows, stairs and doors, for cracks in walls and for sealing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. With a relatively low glass transition temperature (Tg) of 0°C, the binder based on vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymers provides sealants the flexibility they need. The VAE dispersion also adheres extremely well to aluminum as well as galvanised and stainless steel.

GENIOSIL XM20 and GENIOSIL XM25 are new silane-terminated polymers that serve as binders and modify the mechanical properties – particularly the modulus – of adhesives and sealants. These products improve the bonding properties of plasticiser-free adhesives, eliminating the need for traditional plasticisers in the end product. GENIOSIL XM 20 is an alpha-silane-terminated polyether that opens the door to plasticiser-free adhesives with high elasticity. Typical applications include wood-flooring adhesives and sealants. GENIOSIL XM 25, gamma-silane-terminated polyether, allows the formulation of low-modulus sealants with exceptionally high elastic recovery. Potential applications include sealants for expansion joints in buildings made of industrially prefabricated concrete parts and for connection joints between window frames and walls.

A vinyl acetate-ethylene (VAE) copolymer dispersion, VINNAPAS EP 3360 is suitable for matt and semi-matt wall paints and plasters that exhibit very high scrub resistance and better hiding power than standard acrylic systems at the same PVC (pigment volume concentration) level. It also has a very low residual monomer content (<200 ppm) and a very low formaldehyde content (< 20 ppm) and does not need organic solvents or coalescing agents. The dispersion makes it possible to formulate low-odor paints with an extremely low content of volatile organic compounds (VOC < 1 g/l) and is therefore ideal for locations where paints with low emission values are a must – such as children’s bedrooms, hotels and public buildings (e.g. hospitals and schools).

Coatings that are stable at high temperatures and resistant to extreme heat – up to 600°C – are the forte of the new SILRES REN70-M binder. This product is almost entirely free of aromatic solvents (< 0.1 per cent) and is particularly suitable for formulating coatings for industrial equipment, engine parts and stoves. SILRES REN70-M offers the ideal combination of silicone resin’s hardness and flexibility. As a binder in heat-resistant coatings, it protects metal surfaces from corrosion, even at high operating temperatures or when subject to rapid temperature fluctuations.

For weather-resistant finishes, WACKER offers SILRES IC 235, a silicone containing no aromatic compounds at all that is used in coatings for bridges, wind turbine stators and industrial plants.

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