Munich, Germany – WACKER is forging ahead with the specialization of its silicone business in the field of electromobility. Parts of its silicone production have now been successfully certified to the automotive standard IATF 16949. As a result, WACKER can now supply automobile manufacturers and OEMs with silicone products that have been developed and manufactured according to IATF-certified processes. The certificates apply to selected company parts at the Burghausen site in Germany and Zhangjiagang in China. Corporate functions that support and control the manufacturing process were also certified.
Thermally conductive silicone gap fillers from WACKER optimize the thermal transport between an electronic circuit that becomes hot during operation and the heat sink. With the successful certification according to standard IATF 16949, the Munich-based chemical Group WACKER can directly supply automobile manufacturers as well as system and module suppliers. (Photo: WACKER)
With the successful certification, TÜV NORD CERT is attesting that WACKER’s quality management system fully meets the requirements of the IATF 16949 standard. The certified production plants manufacture two-component silicone rubber formulations that cure by an addition reaction at room temperature to form silicone elastomers. Known as SEMICOSIL®, ELASTOSIL® and WACKER SilGel®, among others, they serve as heat-conducting gap fillers, silicone adhesives and potting compounds.
Silicones have become indispensable materials in electric vehicles. Potting compounds of silicone rubber reliably protect the onboard and control electronics against vibrations, moisture and dirt. Thermal gap fillers improve the thermal management of the electric-vehicle battery and power electronics, which produce considerable amounts of heat in operation or during charging, and must therefore be reliably cooled.
With the electromobility revolution, WACKER is chalking up strong demand for such silicones. “The automotive industry is a key industry and will remain so, not only for Germany,” says Robert Gnann, president of WACKER SILICONES. “Demand for high-performance materials, which also include our silicones, is growing steadily. For WACKER, it is just the right time to perform IATF certification. With our innovative silicone portfolio, we will boost the automotive industry in achieving its goals of productivity, efficiency and quality.”
IATF 16949 was developed in 2016 by leading European and North American automobile manufacturers. It combines the core require-ments and quality management standards agreed on by the auto industry. The goal is to minimize quality risks and continually improve reliability of production and the supply chain. Certification according to IATF 16949 is the most important condition for direct cooperation between the supplier and automobile manufacturer.
With the successful certification, WACKER can now supply silicone products directly to car manufacturers and their system and module suppliers. “Our customers require not only high-quality products, but also a reliable partner who is capable of offering individual tailor-made solutions that fully meet the industry’s strict guidelines and processes,” says Duke Cho, who heads both the subsidiary Wacker Chemicals Korea and the business unit Industrial Solutions of the WACKER SILICONES business division: “The certification demonstrates that we are fully capable of meeting these challenges and requirements in production and quality management. Our business in the field of electromobility will profit significantly from this.”
Thermally conductive silicones from WACKER are preferably used for thermal management in electric cars, since they effectively dissipate the heat. They maintain the same material properties even at temperatures between -50 °C and +180°C – and up to +230°C for special grades. Depending on the design, thermal gap fillers, silicone encapsulants and adhesives as well as thermally conductive pastes are suitable for efficient cooling of the component. Potting compounds and gap fillers from WACKER are used among other things for thermal connection between the battery modules and heat-sink system or for protection and for cooling the power electronics.