From Instant Coffee to High-Tech Powder - Wacker Chemie AG


From Instant Coffee to High-Tech Powder

Solving Tomorrow’s Challenges

WACKER runs a global network of technical centers in which products and formulations can be tested and adapted to meet the needs of individual regions.

Today, VINNAPAS® is available in six product classes and used in over 3,000 specific application formulations. With its dispersible polymer powders, WACKER has always been an innovation driver in the construction sector. Product development is a key component of its corporate strategy. With annual R&D expenditures at some 3% of sales, the Munich-based chemical group ranks among the industry’s most research-intensive companies. Over the past five years, this gave rise to around 90 to 100 new patent applications and inventions per year.

WACKER’s dispersible polymer powders are also continuously being developed in order to support the construction sector’s four megatrends: cost efficiency, saving energy, optimum space utilization and environmental awareness. “Gaining a lead over competitors means solving tomorrow’s challenges today. Our aim is to develop convincing solutions with and for our customers early on,” said Collignon.

Whereas dispersible polymer powders have long been established as building additives in western industrialized countries, emerging-market economies in Asia, South America and eastern Europe, in particular, are registering an above-average rise in demand. WACKER is well prepared to meet this demand. At our technical centers around the world, technicians are working on new dispersible polymer powders, dry-mix mortars and standards for country-specific applications around the clock. This is because, along with the powder itself, the entire mortar formulation has to be tailored to specific requirements such as the regional climate and available raw materials. “Starting materials such as sand and cement differ from country to country. That is why it is important for us to develop a customized solution that meets the local needs of each market and also delivers an attractive price/performance ratio,” explained Collignon.

Our global network also offers support for problems with construction chemicals and local technical service. “It puts us in a position to deal with our customers’ needs and wishes directly, and to develop the perfect solution hand in hand with them,” he added. To provide its locally based customers and partners with the required expertise in high-quality construction chemicals , WACKER has set up WACKER ACADEMY branches at many of its sites. This international training center is oriented specifically to the needs of the construction-chemicals industry, and along with theoretical training offers practical exercises in applications laboratories. “We now have training centers in Germany, the USA, China, India, Russia, Dubai, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Singapore,” said Collignon with a touch of pride. “We can pass on sector-specific knowledge about construction trends from around the world to local experts and thus create definite added value for our customers.”

VINNAPAS® Dispersible Polymer Powders

... are thermoplastics based on vinyl acetate and ethylene. As film binders, they find use in such wide-ranging applications as tile adhesives and joint fillers, mineral plasters, waterproofing membranes, plaster of Paris, repair mortars, self-leveling compounds and powder paints. They enhance important end-product properties, such as adhesion, cohesion, flexibility and flexural strength. Dispersible polymer powders have positive effects on water retention and processing properties. Function: The polymer film, which acts as a binder, is formed via fusion of individual polymer particles as the water partially evaporates. This film (acting as an organic binder) bonds the filler’s particles, thus improving the mortar’s intrinsic strength (cohesion).

Global Network

Even after 60 years in the business, there is no sign of VINNAPAS® polymer powders approaching retirement. On the contrary, global demand is still on the rise. Modifications tailored specifically to local needs are becoming increasingly important in all areas of application. “In Mexico, we recently attended Latin America’s largest construction tradeshow, where we successfully presented our solutions for self-leveling flooring compounds that meet local design preferences. Our Dubai team is working on local products that take account of the region’s distinct climate. And in China, we are currently observing increased quality awareness in construction, making our dispersible polymer powders indispensable there,” says Collignon. That is why he is optimistic: “Our range is so varied – its innovative potential has by no means been exhausted even after 60 years.”

60 Years of Dispersible Polymer Powder

1967

Ten years after the start-up of the first powder tower, dispersible-polymer-powder production reaches its capacity limit at 1,000 metric tons.

1968

WACKER starts operating its second powder spray dryer with a capacity of 2,400 metric tons per year.

1969

WACKER POLYMERS succeeds in copolymerizing vinyl acetate and ethylene and thus launches the monomer combination that continues to dominate the market to this day.

1976

WACKER develops the world’s first non-sag dispersible polymer powder specifically for tile adhesives.

2015

WACKER opens the biggest, most efficient, state-of-the-art spray dryer worldwide with a capacity of 50,000 metric tons per year in Burghausen.