Mar 01, 2018 Read time: approx. MinutesMinute

New plant for functional silicone fluids opened in India

Wacker Metroark Chemicals expands production in Amtala

Wacker Metroark Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. has expanded its silicone production facilities at Amtala (in the Kolkata metropolitan area) with a new hydrosilylation plant for functional silicone fluids. Opened in mid-March, the new plant has an annual capacity of more than 6,000 metric tons. The expansion is WACKER’s response to growing regional demand for specialty silicones used in textiles and personal care products, in rigid and flexible PU foams, and in agrochemical applications. Investment costs for the plant will total around €6 million.

“Expanding these production facilities has broadened our product portfolio, opening up new markets to us in the growth regions of India and Southeast Asia,” explained Dr. Christian Hartel, Wacker Chemie AG’s Executive Board member responsible for Asia. “This investment underscores WACKER’s commitment to Indian markets. It 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 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).

New hydrosilylation plant near Kolkata

Wacker Metroark Chemicals’ new hydrosilylation plant at its Amtala site near Kolkata.

Silicone products resulting from hydrosilylation reduce the incompatibilities between oils and water, thereby improving compatibility with organic systems. The second application field for Amtala’s new products is polyurethane-based industrial foams, where functional silicone fluids serve as additives for adjusting the cell structure. Such foams are used in the interior trim of cars or in insulation materials. Silicone fluids and silicone fluid emulsions are also used in personal care products (such as shampoos), in fabric softeners and in agricultural applications.

“Our new hydrosilylation plant enables us to address promising new Indian and Southeast Asian markets, where we did not have presence, until now – for example the market for functional silicone fluids with its many sales opportunities,” said Soumitra Mukherjee, managing director of Wacker Metroark Chemicals.