Wacker debuts medical-grade silicone film at Compamed; expands production of dispersible polymer powder at China facility

It has been a busy Q4 for Munich-based chemicals company Wacker. After unveiling its precision silicone films at K 2013 last month, the firm narrowed the focus to a silicone film grade with specific medical applications at the Compamed trade show this week in Düsseldorf, Germany. In China, meanwhile, the company plans to double production capacity of dispersible polymer powders at its Nanjing facility to better meet the needs of the residential construction sector.

Wacker filmMade of ultrapure silicone rubber, SILPURAN film can be produced in layers as thin as 20 µm. A patent pending production process ensures uniform thickness across the entire width and length of the film to a tolerance of ±5%. Process accuracy and repeatability combined with the properties of the material permit applications that previously were difficult or even impossible to achieve on an industrial scale, according to the company. It is showing the product at Compamed, a supplier showcase that is co-located with Medica, the world's largest annual trade show devoted to the medical device industry.

Because silicone is hydrophobic yet gas-permeable, SILPURAN film can be used to beneficial effect in breathable wound-care products and membranes used in heart-lung machines, for example.

The material's dielectric properties also appeal to medical manufacturers who embed in their products electroactive polymers that change shape when an electrical current is applied. Silicone films used in actuators enable the development of prosthetics with artificial muscles that replicate linear as well as more natural movement.

Wacker to double production capacity of dispersible polymer powder

To satisfy constantly growing demand for residential construction projects, in particular, Wacker plans to double output of dispersible polymer powder production at its Nanjing facility. By expanding production capacity, boosting productivity, and implementing debottlenecking measures, the company intends to double its current production capacity from 30,000 to 60,000 tonnes. The facility expansion is expected to be completed in 2014.

Rampant urbanization and demand for eco-friendly dry-mix building materials in China will increase demand for dispersible polymer powders, according to Wacker. Its VINNAPAS material is used as a binder in the construction, coatings and adhesives sectors.

Norbert Sparrow

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