Charleston, Tennessee – Munich-based silica producer Wacker Group has opened a pyrogenic silica plant in Charleston, its first North American manufacturing site for highly dispersible pyrogenic silica.
Previously, all the company's pyrogenic silica came from its manufacturing facilities in Burghausen and Nunchritz, Germany, and Zhangjiagang, China.
"Launching the new plant in Charleston now puts the company in a position to offer customers in the Americas a direct supply of HDK pyrogenic silica," Wacker said in a statement.
The Charleston site operates its own application and R&D labs for pyrogenic silica. Here, HDK formulations are adapted to the specific needs of Wacker’s customers in the Americas region.
The new, $150 million Tennessee plant has an annual capacity of 13,000 metric tons and employs 50, Wacker said. The new plant also closes material loops and improves the supply chain at Charleston, where Wacker has produced polysilicon since 2016, according to the company.
"The pyrogenic silica facility is the next logical step in making Charleston a fully integrated silicon site," Wacker CEO Rudolf Staudigl said in a news release.
In addition to state-of-the-art dispensing and packaging systems, the Wacker pyrogenic silica plant includes test and development labs as well as training rooms for the Wacker Academy, where customers can participate in seminars, training sessions and hands-on exercises in pyrogenic silica applications.