The project was part of a three-year expansion plan and is an extension of Cabot's long-term relationship with Dow Corning that begun back in 2011 to increase Cabot's global fumed metal oxide capacity by 35 to 40 percent and to meet the rise in global demand for silicones.
The chemical companies have worked closely together in Barry, Wales since 1991, when Cabot built its fumed silica facility adjacent to Dow Corning's silicone monomer plant.
“After building a strong relationship together for over 30 years, this expansion will open up a broader scope of opportunities for us,” says Dow Corning senior vice president and general manager, James Whitlock.
The increased production capacity is also said to support Cabot’s growth in the rising global silicones market which is poised to grow at 6 to 9 per cent per year over the coming decade.
“The expansion of Barry marks another milestone in our long-term relationship with Dow Corning and demonstrates our commitment to support their growth,” says Sean Keohane, Cabot senior vice president, Performance Materials. “This project will deliver strategic value and represents a natural extension of our long and successful relationship.”
The use of fumed silica in cosmetics
Fumed silica is an ultra-fine, high-purity particle used as a reinforcing, thickening agent. The material is used in a wide-range of end-market applications, including to help improve the performance of cosmetics.
Cabot currently has six fumed silica manufacturing facilities globally, including two in the US, two in Europe, and two in Asia.
In what is described as a highly interdependent and collaborative "fence-line" relationship, Dow Corning provides Cabot with silanes that are converted to fumed silica for Dow Corning's compounded silicones applications, as well as for other customers and applications including electronics, adhesives and composites.
Both companies also have a similar relationship in the US in Midland Michigan.