W. R. Grace & Co. announced the opening of its new 8,200 square-meter colloidal silica plant at its European flagship manufacturing and R&D center in Worms, Germany.
The facility doubles the worldwide production capacity of LUDOX, Grace’s leading colloidal silica product, and significantly enhances Grace’s responsiveness to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, (EMEA) and Asia Pacific. This will enable Grace to continue to meet growing global demand in a thriving specialty silica segment, where there is active innovation that enables future growth for key industries.
Manufacturers in diverse industries use LUDOX colloidal silica in myriad applications as a functional ingredient and as a processing aid. Despite citations in over 30,000 patents and an abundance of existing successful applications including catalysts, investment casting binders, coatings and refractory additives, LUDOX colloidal silicas still have considerable untapped potential with new and innovative uses continuing to emerge. Grace’s proprietary manufacturing process produces an extremely narrow particle size distribution and allows LUDOX colloidal silica particles to be chemically customized for use in a wide range of challenging applications.
The new facility expands Grace’s manufacturing center in Worms adding approximately 25 new high-tech manufacturing jobs bringing employment at the site to approximately 950. The company’s East Chicago, Indiana LUDOX colloidal silica plant continues to supply Grace’s customers in the Americas.
"Our advanced new plant enables us to better support our customers and partners and allows us to remain aligned with customer demand," said Sandra Wisniewski, president, Grace Materials Technologies. "This expansion, combined with our existing manufacturing facilities, talented and experienced employees, and best-in-class technologies, are evidence of exciting growth at Grace and our dedication to our LUDOX colloidal silica customers worldwide."
"With 250,000 square meters of site property, Worms is one of Grace’s largest production facilities, serving both as a center of best practice and as a hub for the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions," added Sebastian Schaefer, Grace’s VP, Integrated Supply Chain, EMEA. "The new plant allows us to further enhance our broad portfolio of products and will strengthen Worms as a cornerstone of our services in our Refining Technologies, Specialty Catalysts, and Materials Technologies operating segments. Overall, [this] announcement is a real step-change for Grace and the future of the colloidal silica market."