The expansion is expected to be completed in 2012 and is part of a three-year plan to increase Cabot's global fumed metal oxide capacity by 35 to 40 percent.
The project is an extension of Cabot's long-term partnership with Dow Corning, and will help meet rising global demand for silicones, which is expected to continue to grow at five to 10 percent per year over the coming decade.
Cabot and Dow Corning have worked closely together in Barry since 1991, when Cabot built its fumed silica facility adjacent to Dow Corning's silicone monomer plant. As part of a highly interdependent and collaborative "fence-line" relationship, Dow Corning provides Cabot with silanes, which are converted to fumed silica for Dow Corning's compounded silicones applications.
Cabot and Dow Corning have a similar "fence-line" relationship in Midland, Mich.
Fumed silica is an ultra-fine, high-purity particle used as a reinforcing, thickening, abrasive, thixotropic, suspending or anti-caking agent. The material is highly versatile and used in a wide-range of end-market applications for the automotive, construction, microelectronics and consumer products industries. Fumed silica helps improve the performance of adhesives, sealants, cosmetics, inks, toners, silicone rubber, coatings, polishing slurries and pharmaceuticals.
Cabot currently has six fumed silica manufacturing facilities globally, including two in the United States (Tuscola, Ill., and Midland, Mich.), two in Europe (Barry, Wales and Rheinfelden, Germany), and two in Asia (Jiangxi Province, China and Mettur, India).