Friedrichshafen, Germany – Dow Chemical Co. s currently conducting a feasibility study on a “world-scale” siloxane production plant as part of a strategic investment in the intermediate.
A decision on the location of the plant and what it would look like will be made “sometime in 2019,” according to Charlie Zimmer, global strategic marketing director, silicone elastomers at Dow.
The study is alongside a series of what Dow has described as “low capital intensity, high return” investments in its silicones business in a bid to meet growing demand and address the current market tightness.
Over the next three years, the series of incremental debottlenecking and efficiency improvement projects is intended to increase capacity and efficiency in Dow’s siloxane manufacturing facilities around the world.
Siloxane is the base material that feeds all other silicone products, including silicone rubbers, RTVs, adhesives and emulsions.
Another significant investment by Dow includes the construction of an MQ silicone resin production plant, Zimmer told ERJ on the sidelines of the Fakuma trade show.
The project at Dow’s site in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu, China, is scheduled to come online in 2021, the company’s global marketing director said at the event held 16-20 Oct in Friedrichshafen.
MQ resin, explained Zimmer, is an intermediate that goes into some of Dow’s silicone elastomers and is used as an enabler in the company’s mouldable optical silicone.
Another project underway is a vinyl polymer production plant in Carrollton, Kentucky, to produce hydroxyl functional siloxane materials.
The project, which will raise the polymer’s capacity in the Americas by 65%, is expected to start operation within two years.