Wacker builds new plant for silicone specialities in the Czech Republic

Ground-breaking for production site in Karlsbad

Wacker ground-breaking ceremony

With the construction of a new production site in Europe, Wacker Chemie is strengthening its strategic focus on the manufacture of silicone specialities. In Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, the chemical company, together with project partners and representatives of the city and regional authorities, symbolically broke ground for the new plant. Wacker will produce room-temperature-curing high-performance silicones in Karlovy Vary from the end of 2025 and high-temperature-curing solid silicones from 2028.

These Wacker products will be used in important future technologies such as electromobility, healthcare and medical technology as well as network expansion. Investments in the three-digit million range are planned. In the first stage of expansion, up to 200 new jobs will be created in Karlovy Vary. With the new site for silicone specialities, Wacker is further expanding its position as a solution provider for customers in important key industries. “Karlovy Vary will be a new and important pillar for our silicone activities in Europe and will strengthen our position as a leading manufacturer of silicone specialties. With today’s groundbreaking ceremony we’ve achieved our first milestone,” said Executive Board member Christian Kirsten addressing guests from politics and business. “Our silicone rubber grades are in demand in all key growth markets. As an expert in silicones, we can offer precisely the solutions that our customers need to develop innovative products and technologies,” stated Kirsten.

Electromobility, renewable energies and expansion of power grids as drivers for the silicone business

Precisely fitting silicone elastomers are needed above all where conventional materials cannot or can no longer fulfil the high and constantly increasing requirements. The main drivers of the silicone business are megatrends such as electromobility, renewable energies and the expansion of power grids. Customized silicone elastomers are especially needed where conventional materials cannot or can no longer meet the high and ever-increasing requirements. The main drivers are megatrends such as electromobility, renewable energies and the expansion of electricity grids. “In order to be able to meet the growing demand for such solutions in the long term, we need to lay the necessary groundwork now,” noted Kirsten. “With Karlovy Vary we are now beginning a new chapter in our silicones’ success story.”

Production of speciality silicones and silicone compounds

The new site in Karlovy Vary will focus on the production of speciality silicones that crosslink at room temperature. Later, high-temperature-curing silicone compounds will also be produced there. Wacker will invest a total amount in the low three-digit million euro range in Karlsbad. Around 200 jobs are to be created by 2028. Further recruitment is not ruled out in subsequent years. When fully operational, the site will be able to supply more than 20,000 tonnes of customer-specific silicones per year. Production of solid silicone rubber that cures at room temperature will start at the end of 2025, while high-temperature curing solid silicones will be produced in Karlovy Vary from 2028.

Wacker opts for Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic was selected from several possible locations. In the coming weeks and months, the production building and infrastructure will be constructed on the 23,000 square metre site. Wacker is cooperating with the American property developer Panattoni, which is coordinating the construction work, and the Czech property group Accolade, which owns the land and the building shell. Karlovy Vary offers ideal conditions for Wacker's silicone production. “Its proximity to Burghausen and Pilsen, the region’s relatively low energy costs, and the availability of qualified staff made the decision very easy for us in the end,” said Kirsten.