Wuhai, China – Cabot Corp. has inaugurated a new €55-million fumed silica manufacturing facility in Wuhai, Inner Mongolia, the company announced 23 Sept.
The “state-of-the-art” manufacturing site has the capacity to produce 8 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of fumed silica, the market for which has been “rapidly growing”, according to Cabot.
The project, announced in September 2016, is a joint venture with Inner Mongolia Hengyecheng Silicone Co., Ltd (HYC), with Cabot having an 80% share in the business.
While Cabot contributes its production technology to the venture, HYC provides a long-term reliable source of feedstock.
Cabot said its process offer advanced levels of energy-efficiency and recycling of by-product streams.
“The grand opening of this facility is a key milestone in executing on our ‘advancing the core’ strategy,” explained Sean Keohane, president and CEO of Cabot, without elaborating further on the strategy.
Fumed silica is used as an additive in silicone elastomers, composites, adhesives, coatings, energy storage and consumer goods.
With a growing urbanisation rate in China, demand is expected to increase in the construction, automotive and infrastructure segments, all of which, according to Cabot, are applications in which fumed silica is utilised.
“This strategic expansion… will allow us to better reach our customers in a part of China where we expect to see significant growth and development in the coming years,” said Jay Doubman, SVP and president of performance additives, Cabot.
The Wuhai plant will collaborate closely with Cabot’s Asia technology centre in Shanghai to help customers develop more sustainable products, Doubman added.
Cabot has been present in China for more than 30 years, and currently operates manufacturing sites in Jiangxi, Shanghai, Tianjin and Xingtai as well as its technology centre in Shanghai.
The US company is also building a new fumed silica plant in Carrollton, Kentucky, set for start-up by 2020.