The expanded technical center is located in Pangyo Techno Valley in a suburb of the South Korean capital, Seoul. Occupying an area of more than 3,600 m², the site houses the new offices of Wacker Chemicals Korea Inc., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary, and the R&D laboratories for silicone and polymer applications. Bundling sales forces, R&D labs and applications technology under one roof will foster closer teamwork between the sales and development teams and thus optimize customer support in the region.
One focus of the local R&D in the newly established “Center of Excellence Electronics” will be on silicone products for electronics applications. This will help WACKER to serve the fast-growing demand for high-quality silicones for the electronics industry in Korea and other Asian countries. WACKER sees the new silicones R&D center as a unique opportunity to provide its local and regional customers with technical expertise for developing new products and tailor-made high-tech solutions for the electronics sector. Plus, the new center will make it easier to respond quickly to specific requirements and to directly incorporate customers’ feedback.
The technical center for polymers has been expanded, too: it will concentrate on formulations for dispersible polymer powders and dispersions for modern building applications, e.g. as binders in mortars for energy-saving external thermal insulation composite systems, or for low-odor and low-emissions paints.
The reason for expanding the technical center and setting up an in-house silicones R&D laboratory is the strong growth of the Korean economy, especially in construction and electronics. “The Korea technical center, with its research and testing laboratories that are unique in the region, is another important milestone in our growth strategy for Asia and particularly South Korea,” explains Dr. Wilhelm Sittenthaler, Executive Board member responsible for Asia at WACKER. The goal is to address the needs of Korean customers directly and locally, to work close to customers, to test out new developments, and to support innovative applications, he adds. In this way, the Munich chemicals company wants to collaborate with its customers to further strengthen and expand its position as technology leader for high-quality chemical products.
A further highlight is the integrated training facility for polymer and silicone chemicals: the WACKER ACADEMY. The facility’s mission is to promote the transfer of knowledge to local customers and business partners. Its seminar program is accordingly designed to address the particular needs of the markets in South Korea, and provides customers and business partners with an opportunity to learn about all relevant aspects of modern polymer and silicone chemistry and their applications. The WACKER ACADEMY thus makes an ideal platform for customers, distribution partners and WACKER specialists to engage in networking.
“WACKER Korea is ideally positioned, thanks to its high product quality, excellent service, and committed team of employees,” says Han-Hyung Cho, head of Wacker Chemicals Korea. “With our new silicones R&D laboratory, the expanded technical center for polymers, and the WACKER ACADEMY, we are setting new standards in service, consulting and knowledge transfer. This way we can offer our customers and business partners considerable added value.”
WACKER has been supplying chemicals to Korea since the mid-1980s, and Wacker Chemicals Korea was set up in 1996 as a local subsidiary. The WACKER facility in Ulsan, south-east Korea, has been operating since early 2008, producing vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer (VAE) dispersions and providing local support for its customers and partners through its technical center for research and applications technology. In 2010, WACKER acquired the Korean brand Lucky Silicone, under which silicone sealants for the construction sector are produced and sold.