A Binder Connects the World
Fruitful collaborations with our customers was the key to success, which is why WACKER experts have a tradition of collaborating closely with their industrial partners in the development of their products. It’s the only way of optimally tailoring the properties of VINNAPAS® to market requirements. This is how, in the end, polymer-modified dry-mix mortars could fulfill the requirements of the modern construction industry in the early 1960s. The advantages include consistent quality, improved adhesion to all substrates, increased flexibility and simple, safe processing – in-plant polymer modification practically eliminates mixing errors on the construction site.
In the 1960s, the groundwork was also laid for today’s biggest application area of VINNAPAS® products: tile adhesives. Dispersible polymer powders made the so-called thin-bed technique possible, allowing tilers to work considerably more economically. Furthermore, they gave rise to self-leveling flooring compounds – a great simplification for flooring work: one work step was enough to smooth out any unevenness and create a homogeneous, strong base for tiling and other floor coverings. The advantages: reduced material consumption, faster drying, better surface quality and durability of the final product – and secure bonding to a wide variety of surfaces.
Globally Successful Product
The wide range of favorable properties turned the VINNAPAS® product family into a real globetrotter. In 1998, together with US partner company Air Products and Chemicals (AP), WACKER founded the two joint ventures Wacker Polymer Systems and Air Products Polymers, one of which was responsible for powders and the other for dispersions – and laid the foundation for worldwide success. A decade later, in 2008, WACKER took over its partner’s shares in the two joint ventures and thus expanded its international position as market leader for VAE dispersions and dispersible polymer powders. When it comes to VAE dispersions and dispersible polymer powders, WACKER can draw on an integrated supply chain in three key regions: the Americas, Asia and Europe. In an integrated process developed over a period of over 75 years, WACKER POLYMERS uses ethylene and acetic acid to produce vinyl acetate and then vinyl acetate-ethylene. Thanks to the integrated production system, all byproducts are reused intelligently and fed back into the production loop. The VAE operations and spray-drying facilities at the Burghausen and Nanjing (China), production sites are some of the largest in the world, and the WACKER POLYMERS division also operates major production facilities at WACKER sites in Cologne, Calvert City (Kentucky, USA), and Ulsan (South Korea). Last year saw the division’s sales of dispersions and dispersible polymer powders based on polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers cross the €1 billion threshold for the first time – a further milestone of the 75-year VINNAPAS® success story.
The global presence also increased the importance of local customer support. WACKER maintains a global network of technical centers. The most recent of these to open was the technical center in Mexico City, with others located in Burghausen, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, Moscow, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing, São Paulo and Allentown. At the technical centers, WACKER POLYMERS experts apply their region-specific expertise in close collaboration with local customers to find customized solutions to meet their needs. In this way, VINNAPAS® products can be tailored to local industry requirements and climate-specific differences – particularly relevant for the construction sector – as well as national standards, regulations and building traditions.
The WACKER Group is celebrating the anniversary of the VINNAPAS® dispersions in a traveling exhibition: in March 2013, a freight container launched on a journey across three continents, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the VINNAPAS® product line along the way. A miniature museum inside the container showcases the innovations of the past 75 years, the megatrends they serve, and the importance of VINNAPAS® dispersions to future technological developments. The freight container’s first stop was the European Coatings Show in Nuremberg, the starting point for its year-long journey around the globe. Future VINNAPAS® exhibition stops include Chinacoat in Shanghai from November 20 through 23, 2013, the Middle East Coatings Show in Dubai from March 10 through 12, 2014, and the American Coatings Show in Atlanta from April 8 through 10, 2014.
The Group’s in-house WACKER ACADEMY facilities are responsible for providing corresponding expertise via customer training sessions and distributor seminars. The Group maintains these facilities at a dozen sites on three continents. The WACKER ACADEMY trainers cooperate closely with the experts at the technical centers. Bundling sales, applications laboratories and the training center under one roof fosters close teamwork between the sales and development teams and optimizes customer support in the region.
Through 75 years of ongoing development, the pioneering spirit of the very first WACKER chemists has evolved into a global brand: VINNAPAS® has today become a technology platform known across many industrial sectors. VINNAPAS® provides adhesives, paints, mortars, carpets, nonwovens, technical textiles and many other products with exactly the properties they need in their current application area. Demands on materials of the future are increasing: not only must the materials meet ever more specific requirements, they must also become more environmentally and climate friendly, energy efficient and sustainable. Here, WACKER’s VINNAPAS® binders are key components without which many innovations would not even be possible – yesterday, today and certainly in the future, too.