Wacker Metroark Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. is expanding its existing silicone production at its Amtala site near Kolkata with a new hydrosilylation plant for manufacturing functional silicone fluids. The plant with an annual capacity of over 6,000 metric tons was officially opened today at a ceremony in Amtala. The expansion is WACKER’s response to growing regional demand for specialty silicones for use in the textile, personal-care, rigid and flexible polyurethane foam and agrochemical sectors. The investment for the plant amounts to around €6 million.
“With this expansion of our production, we are broadening our product portfolio and can thereby open up new markets in the growth regions of India and Southeast Asia,” explained Christian Hartel, Executive Board member at Wacker Chemie AG with responsibility for Asia, at the opening ceremony today. “This investment underscores the commitment of WACKER to the Indian market and shows that our company is continuously growing its technical expertise and capacities in Asia.”
Hydrosilylation is a chemical process in which organofunctional groups, such as glycols, olefins or ketones, are “docked” onto the periphery of silicones. This is done in order to modify the properties of the end product and render a silicone fluid, for example, hydrophobic (water-repellent) or hydrophilic (water-attracting).
Hydrosilylation silicone products reduce the incompatibilities between oils and water, thereby improving the compatibility with organic systems. The second application area of the new products manufactured in Amtala are polyurethane foams, in which functional silicone fluids serve as additives for adjusting the cell structure. Such foams are used in car interior trim and insulation materials. Silicone fluids and emulsions are also used in personal care products (e.g. shampoos), in softeners for the textile industry and in agricultural applications.
“Our new hydrosilylation plant enables us to address promising new markets where we haven’t been represented in India and Southeast Asia until now – for example the market for silicone functional fluids with its many sales opportunities,” said Soumitra Mukherjee, Managing Director of Wacker Metroark Chemicals. “In this way, we intend to secure our position as the market and technology leader for silicones in the region and provide a basis for further growth.”