Essen, Germany - Evonik Industries has started up a precipitated silica plant for the tire industry in South Carolina, the company announced 17 Oct.
The $120-million project at Goose Creek is in response to the high demand for tire-silicas in North America, and has created over 40 new jobs.
The product is used to improve rolling resistance and wet grip, said Evonik, noting that silicas are part of its ‘smart materials’ portfolio – one four “strategic growth engines” for the company.
“The opening of the new production plant is an important step in strengthening our position as a global partner for the tire industry,” said Harald Schwager, deputy chairman of the executive board of Evonik Industries.
Proximity to tire makers was key to the choice of the South Carolina site, added the company’s statement.
Evonik will also produce the recently developed Ultrasil 7800 GR silica in South Carolina. Due to its larger specific surface area, this product is said to gives the tread compound more rigidity without negatively impacting its processability.
“It is therefore particularly suitable for SUVs, whose main global market is the US,” explained Evonik.