Oct 01, 2019 Read time: approx. MinutesMinute

New spray dryer for manufacturing dispersible polymer powders

WACKER invests €65 million in a VAE plant in South Korea

Following a construction phase lasting 20 months, WACKER brought a new spray dryer for the production of dispersible polymer powders on stream in Ulsan, South Korea at the beginning of September. The plant is part of an ongoing site expansion aimed at boosting the company’s production capacity for dispersions and dispersible polymer powders in Asia.

WACKER already produces vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions in Ulsan. The new spray dryer converts liquid dispersions into dispersible polymer powder by feeding them through an atomizer into a stream of hot gas, which dries them extremely quickly to yield a fine powder. The new plant has a total capacity of 80,000 metric tons per year. Now complete, the spray dryer is one of the two largest of this kind in the world. The second plant with this capacity is located at WACKER’s Burghausen site. The new spray dryer has created some 50 new jobs in Ulsan.

Construction is also underway in Ulsan on a further reactor for VAE dispersions, the feedstock for dispersible polymer powders. The reactor is scheduled for start-up in the first quarter of 2020. Overall capital expenditure on the plant complex, spanning the full production chain from VAE dispersions through to dispersible polymer powders, amounts to some €65 million.

An engineer monitors production in the control room.

“Our binders not only enhance the properties of building materials but also make construction activities more resource-efficient,” says Peter Summo, head of the WACKER POLYMERS division. “The new plant in Ulsan will help us serve the growing market in Asia and additionally shorten our delivery routes and times.”

The new spray dryer will be used to produce VINNAPAS® 5010 N and VINNAPAS® 5044 N binders, for instance. They are needed in the construction industry to formulate high-quality tile adhesives, mineral plasters, self-leveling flooring compounds, EIFS/ETICS, construction adhesives, smoothing compounds and joint fillers, for example.

“By expanding our production capacity, we are ensuring that we will remain the first point of contact for regional manufacturers of building materials seeking to optimize their products with dispersible polymer powders,” says Dal-Ho Cho, head of the Wacker Chemicals Korea subsidiary.