Evonik Industries is now significantly expanding precipitated silica capacity at its Maptaphut site in Thailand. Funded by an investment in the lower double-digit million euro range, the expansion is to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
Essen/Germany – In addition to its application in the automotive industry for low rolling resistance tires, silica is also used in the food and animal feed industries, and in the paint and coatings industry. Demand in Southeast Asia for precipitated silica has risen sharply in these industries.
Experts estimate that the worldwide market for low rolling resistance tires will grow by a solid 18 percent each year over the next five years. Evonik has responded by noticeably expanding its global silica capacity. By 2014, its capacity is to grow by roughly 30 percent over 2010.
Using silica in combination with silanes allows manufacturers to produce tires that greatly reduce rolling resistance, yielding fuel savings of up to 8 percent (compared to traditional car tires).
"We’re the only manufacturer to offer both components, and, for our customers in the tire and rubber industry, that makes us an expert partner for high-performance tire blends," explains Dr. Johannes Ohmer, president of Evonik’s Inorganic Materials Business Unit. Expanding production capacity will strengthen Evonik's position in Thailand, increasing the proportion of production carried out in Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and allowing the company to better meet the demands of regional customers.
Overall, Evonik has a global capacity of around 500,000 metric tons per annum for precipitated and fumed silica as well as matting agents.