WACKER Expands US-Based R&D

MUNICH, GERMANY | WACKER is expanding its research and development facilities for silicones by establishing a new R&D center located in Ann Arbor, MI. The facility is dedicated to supporting company’s overall business and product development in the North, Central, and South America regions. In a first phase, the Group is investing a single-digit million US-dollar figure mainly for equipment and installation of the labs. The facility will officially open in the first half of 2017. 

In Adrian, MI, WACKER’s US subsidiary Wacker Chemical Corporation runs a technical center for silicones and food ingredient solutions. Company will open additional R&D labs in Ann Arbor, MI, in 2017.

Based at Michigan Innovation Headquarters, a co-work campus facility in Ann Arbor, the center consists of several labs for R&D and analytics. Early projects include health and medical care applications, solutions for coatings and paints, silicone-based softeners, and personal care products. The labs will be operated by Wacker Chemical Corporation (WCC), WACKER’s Adrian, MI, based subsidiary for North, Central, and South America, and staffed with highly specialized experts in the field of silicone and polymer chemistry.

“Our facility is among several high-tech development operations in a 90,000 square foot co-work campus,“ says David Wilhoit, WCC president and CEO. “This scientific co-work community is ideal for WACKER, and for very good reason: It puts us in the midst of a business incubator atmosphere where ideas can be developed and brought quickly to market.”

Main considerations for selecting the Ann Arbor location were based upon the availability of highly skilled talent pools, close proximity to respected area universities, and to the company’s production site in Adrian. “With Ann Arbor considered a technology hub, it complements the company’s business model to be close to its customers and close to regional market trends,” Wilhoit says.

According to Robert Gnann, head of the Group’s silicone division WACKER SILICONES, the R&D center continues WACKER’s expansion of its global R&D footprint. “We already have R&D operations in Germany and in Asia. Our R&D center in Ann Arbor, combined with our Adrian site, furthers the strategic regionalization of WACKER’s global network of R&D. Our aim is to offer long-term technical assistance for customers and support WACKER’s future business growth. By enhancing research efforts in the field of silicone technology, our emphasis will be on developing new and advanced applications in growth markets such as health, medical and personal care, electronics, life sciences, and coatings.”

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