MUNICH—Wacker Chemie A.G. recently presented South Korean employees SeungA Lee and JungEun Lee with the Alexander Wacker Innovation Award for the development of new silicone resins for optical bonding applications.
Wacker also honored Amit Paul with its first Lifetime Achievement Award. Paul works at Wacker Metroark Chemicals, Wacker's Kolkata, India-based joint venture, which makes silicone specialties for the Indian market and for international customers in the consumer goods industry.
Both awards were worth $11,768 (10,000 euros) and were presented at an online event, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SeungA Lee and JungEun Lee work at the Center of Electronics Excellence, a group research institute in Seoul. They developed customized solutions based on novel UV-crosslinkable silicone gels for the burgeoning market for high-quality non-reflective displays. In a process called optical bonding, the silicone gel bonds the thin cover glass with the electronic layers beneath. The display is made non-reflective by filling the gap with gel and, thus, forcing out the air.
"Their work has enabled Wacker to become a leading silicone manufacturer in the highly attractive optical-bonding market," said Christian Hartel, a member of Wacker's Executive Board.
Silicone gels are used widely in applications such as large instrument panel displays, restaurant menu touchscreens, multi-functional sports watches and, above all, the automotive industry. In every vehicle class, car makers are turning to ever-larger displays that are bonded with silicone gel. Such displays are indispensable for handling state-of-the-art connectivity systems. Furthermore, they open new design opportunities for car interiors, such as curved dashboard displays.
Thirty teams applied for the 2020 Alexander Wacker Innovation Award—a new record.
The finalists included Paul, whose team successfully developed water-free silane oligomer-surfactant mixtures for treating cement compounds. This additive renders the cement hydrophobic during grinding, which achieves energy savings of up to 50 percent.
Hydrophobic cement gives concrete and mortar compounds water-repellent properties.
Paul's achievements over his 35-year career include the development of a silicone fluid emulsion of especially low particle size. It is used worldwide by an international consumer-goods manufacturer in its premium hair care brand to combine suppleness, shine and compatibility. He also made a significant contribution toward the introduction of hydro-silylation technology at the Kolkata site, where a plant for manufacturing functional silicone fluids went on stream in 2018—the first of its kind on the Indian subcontinent. These specialties are used as high-performance additives in diverse applications, such as in cosmetic and varnish formulations and in plant protection.
"Throughout his career at Wacker, Amit Paul has excelled with his dedication and truly remarkable pioneering spirit," said board member Christian Hartel. "He always had our customers' needs and their business firmly in view and developed customized solutions for them which were crowned with success in a short time. He has made a valuable contribution toward driving forward Wacker's silicone business."