Wacker Chemie

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Wacker Chemie AG
FounderAlexander Wacker
HeadquartersMunich, Germany
Key people
Rudolf Staudigl (CEO and chairman of the executive board), Peter-Alexander Wacker (Chairman of the supervisory board)
ProductsSilicon for the semiconductor industry, silane, silicones, polymers, polycrystalline silicon, fine chemicals, biotechnology
Revenue€4,978.8 million (2018)[1]
€389.6 million (2018)[1]
€260.1 million (2018)[1]
Total assets€7,118.7 million (end 2018)[1]
Total equity€3,145.5 million (end 2018)[1]
Number of employees
14,542 (end 2018)[1]

Wacker Chemie AG is a German multinational chemical company which was founded in 1914 by Alexander Wacker. The company is controlled by the Wacker family holding more than 50 percent of the shares. The corporation is operating more than 25 production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

The product range includes silicone rubbers, polymer products like ethylene vinyl acetate redispersible polymer powder, chemical materials, polysilicon and wafers for the semiconductor industry. The company sells its products in more than 100 countries. As of 31 December 2015, 16,972 employees have been with Wacker. Corporate annual sales in 2015 were about 5,3 billion Euros, up 10% compared to 2014.

The biggest production site of Wacker Chemie is the Burghausen plant in the south-east of Bavaria, Germany, with about 10,000 employees. The US headquarters are located at Adrian, Michigan.

Business activity[edit]

Wacker Chemie AG - divided into 5 divisions - derives most of its products from two main raw materials: silicon and ethylene. Siltronic supplies the semi-conductor market with wafers. Wacker Polysilicon produces hyper-pure polysilicon for use in electronic and solar wafers. Wacker Silicones serves end markets like construction, automobile, paints, textiles, and paper. Starting from ethylene, Wacker Polymers serves mainly the construction industry with redispersible powders and several other industries with dispersions. Wacker Biosolutions focuses on using bio-technological processes to serve its customers. Wacker Polymers, a division of Wacker Chemie AG has appointed Peter Summo (48) as its next president, effective 1 October. Summo previously headed the engineering silicones business unit at Wacker Silicones. He is succeeding Arno von der Eltz, who is retiring on this date.[2]

Wacker Chemie in the United States[edit]

Tennessee polysilicon operations[edit]

In early 2009 Wacker announced plans to construct a new solar-grade polysilicon production facility in Charleston, a small city in Bradley County, Tennessee. Groundbreaking occurred on April 8, 2011,[3] and the plant became operational in April 2016, costing approximately US$2.5 billion and making it the largest-ever single private investment in the state of Tennessee.[4] In June 2017, a US$150 million secondary expansion was announced that would allow the plant to manufacture pyrogenic silica.[5] This expansion was completed in October 2019, adding 50 new jobs to the plant.[6]

Safety issues and incidents[edit]

  • In October 2012, two subcontract workers fell to their death resulting in a temporary suspension of construction activities.[7] The subcontracting company was later found to be at fault.
  • A Tennessee Occupational and Safety Administration (TOSHA) inspection conducted in March 2016 resulted in a fine of US$3,500 for regulatory violations over the control of hazardous energy.[8]
  • A second TOSHA inspection conducted in August 2016 resulted in a fine of US$4,000 for issues stemming from process safety and respiratory equipment.[8]
  • On August 30, 2017, 5 workers were hospitalized with chemical burns following a discharge of Silane gas within the plant.[9][10][11]
  • On November 13, 2020, at approximately 10:15 am, five workers were injured in an incident described as an "industrial accident" involving a small release of hydrochloric acid and steam.[12] One of the workers died from his injuries later that day.[13]

2017 explosion and aftermath[edit]

On September 7, 2017, a massive explosion in the plant's hydrogen recovery unit resulted in the release of a steam cloud which could be seen for several miles, as well as the environmental release of low-concentration hydrochloric acid. Due to initial concerns about the composition of the cloud, local officials closed a section of I-75 between nearby Cleveland and Calhoun, as well as nearby State Route 308 in Charleston.[8][14] During the event, seven local residents, and a plant worker were transported to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.[15] A firefighter and four sheriff's deputies were also treated for heat-related symptoms and later released. The following day, officials from TOSHA announced a temporary shutdown of the plant pending investigation.[11] Five days later, an environmental sensor detected elevated levels of an unnamed substance prompting a shelter-in-place order for emergency workers involved in cleanup efforts within the facility.[16]

During the explosion event, local officials instructed residents to shelter indoors with their windows closed and HVAC systems turned off. Nearby residents complained of respiratory distress, as well as an odd taste in their mouths. This led to speculation in both local and social media that the cloud contained high-concentration hydrochloric acid,[17] despite media reports to the contrary.[15][18] For the week following the event, there was little-to-no communication from Wacker management or government officials, resulting in further speculation about hazardous chemicals being released into the environment. Wacker management later issued a full-page letter stating that no hazardous chemicals were released.[19][20] One and a half weeks later, Bradley County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Spence held a press-conference attempting to allay fears, and urging residents to sign up for the county's non-emergency text-messaging service.[21]

Plastics manufacturing[edit]

At the end of 2007, Wacker took over vinyl acetate/ethylene operations from Air Products Polymers. Consequently, it took full ownership of the activities in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Calvert City, Kentucky.[citation needed]


Wacker US headquarters, Adrian, Michigan

Wacker's US headquarters are located in Adrian, Michigan - where Wacker Chemical Corporation is producing Silicon materials.

Wacker global[edit]

The regions which Wacker has distributors and sale offices are as below:[22]

  • Middle East and Africa
  • Greater China
  • South Korea
  • North America
  • Russia and CIS
  • India
  • South America
  • Southeast Asia
  • Turkey
  • Europe
  • Japan

Wacker production sites[edit]

Wacker has many production sites across the world in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. There are directly 13,500 employees in these continents which work for Wacker productions network.[23]

Europe sites

  • Burghausen
  • Cologne
  • Halle
  • Holla
  • Jena
  • León
  • Nuenchritz
  • Pilsen
  • Stetten
  • Amsterdam

America sites

  • Adrian
  • Calvert City
  • Charleston
  • Chino
  • Eddyville
  • Jandira
  • North Canton

Asia sites

  • Jincheon
  • Kolkata
  • Nanjing
  • Shunde
  • Ulsan
  • Tsukuba
  • Zhangjiagang


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2018". Wacker Chemie.
  2. ^ "Wacker appoints new president for its polymers division". WorldOfChemicals. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  3. ^ Clayton, Ron (April 9, 2011). "Wacker breaks ground on $1.5B Bradley County plant". Knoxville News-Sentinel. Knoxville, Tennessee. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  4. ^ Meza, Edgar (April 18, 2016). "Wacker opens US polysilicon production site in Tennessee". PV Magazine. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  5. ^ Pare, Mike (2017-06-02). "Wacker starts work on $150 million plant expansion in Bradley County". Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ Siniard, Tim (October 3, 2019). "Wacker Cuts Ribbon on New HDK Plant". Cleveland Daily Banner. Cleveland, Tennessee. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  7. ^ Stalvey, Derrall (2012-10-10). "Wacker plant construction idled after death of two workers". WRCB-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Walton, Judy; Hughes, Rosana (September 7, 2017). "Explosion at Wacker is second incident within eight days". Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  9. ^ "Five Wacker Workers Hurt in Chemical Explosion". Chattanooga Times Free Press. August 30, 2017.
  10. ^ "Five Injured after Incident at Wacker Chemi Plant in Bradley County". WTVC-TV. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b "TOSHA investigating chemical release at Wacker plant in Charleston, TN". WBIR-TV. 2017-09-08. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  12. ^ Siniard, Tim (November 13, 2020). "BREAKING NEWS: No danger to the public; Wacker issues statement on incident". Cleveland Daily Banner. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  13. ^ "Contractor killed, others injured in industrial accident at Wacker plant in Charleston, TN". WTVC-TV. Chattanooga, Tennessee. November 13, 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  14. ^ "Tennova treats a total of 13 patients after Wacker explosion Thursday". WTVC.com. September 7, 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  15. ^ a b Pace, Mark (15 September 2017). "Wacker personnel still unsure what caused explosion in Charleston, Tenn". Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  16. ^ Gienapp, Emmett (2017-09-12). "Wacker chemical plant sees third incident in two weeks". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  17. ^ Sohn, Pam (9 September 2017). "Sohn: Wacker owes community respect, safety and honest". Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  18. ^ Walton, Judy (2017-09-08). "Wacker staying closed until blast cause found, fixed". Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  19. ^ Hudson, Mary (2017-09-14). "A Letter to our Community" (PDF). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  20. ^ Pace, Mark (14 September 2017). "Wacker chemical company releases letter to community after Charleston explosion". Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  21. ^ Mincey, Allen (23 September 2017). "Spence presents Wacker incident timeline, stresses need to join NIXLE". Cleveland Daily Banner. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Wacker Global Regions".
  23. ^ "Wacker Production Sites".

External links[edit]