Wacker groundbreaking, eclipse take No. 7

By BRIAN GRAVES

Posted 12/22/17

By BRIAN GRAVES

Staff Writer

The new Wacker-Charleston HDK Plant will start producing in 2019 after having broken ground for the additional facilities in June.

That tied for the No. 7 story …

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Wacker groundbreaking, eclipse take No. 7

Posted

By BRIAN GRAVES

Staff Writer

The new Wacker-Charleston HDK Plant will start producing in 2019 after having broken ground for the additional facilities in June.

That tied for the No. 7 story of the year in the Cleveland Daily Banner’s annual Top 10 Newsmakers of 2017 list as selected by the editors and staff writers of the newspaper.

HDK is Wacker’s trademark for its pyrogenic silica, of which 13,000 metric tons will be produced each year in Charleston.

Groundbreaking for the new plant was held  a bit more than a year after Wacker celebrated its official production start-up at its $2.5 billion polysilicon facility.

The new plant will represent an additional investment of $150 million and is anticipated to create at least 50 new jobs.

Wacker executive board member Auguste Willems explained why the new plant is the “perfect addition” to the Charleston plant.

“The main by-product of polysilicon manufacturing is tetrachlorosilane,” he said. “It either has to be converted and fed back into the production loop or can be used to create added value by being further processed into pyrogenic silica.”

Willems explained the plant achieves the “maximum flexibility” in the reprocessing of the bi-products and avoids the need to dispose of waste products “thereby enhancing the efficiency of the integrated production system as a whole”

“Since pyrogenic silica is also needed for the manufacturing of silicones, this new plant is the basis for a fully integrated production site in the United States,” Willems said. “This is especially important for our global presence and future growth.”

William Gram, HDK plant manager, said approximately one-third of the product produced at Charleston will be used by Wacker its Michigan facility.

“The majority of it will be sold to the American market,” Gram said. “That’s the advantage of having the facility here.”

He explained ordinary individuals “spend their day” with the pyrongenic silica.

“HDK is part of the toothpaste to give the flow that you need,” Gram said. “Then, the insulation material in your refrigerator and a lot of other appliances are going to HDK because of its efficiency. You can have a thinner panel and achieve the same results.”

Willems said throughout Waker’s century in business, the company has “earned a reputation of taking a long-term perspective in our business decisions and standing by our commitments.”

He said Friday’s groundbreaking is “driven by that same spirit” and lays the groundwork for further expansion in the years to come.

“I am convinced the great state of Tennessee, Bradley County and Wacker are on their way toward a common future holding excellent prospects for all of us,” Willems said.

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