News, Research & Development

Elkem Silicones builds a new Research & Development Center on the Saint-Fons site

Saint-Fons, the 6 December, 2018: In order to support its global growth strategy by developing high value-added silicone specialties, Elkem Silicones has decided to build a new Research and Development (R&D) center at its Saint-Fons site.

This new site, operational at the end of 2020, will bring together 130 European researchers and will be at the heart of the Chemistry Valley and the Lyon Metropolis to reinforce innovation within Elkem in partnership with many innovative external actors to develop silicones of tomorrow.

The silicones industry is experiencing strong growth (> 5% / year), driven by urbanisation, the electrification of transport means, renewable energies and the growing needs for care and quality of life. It is a young and dynamic chemistry that requires significant innovation efforts to support its growth.

Elkem Silicones, one of the world leaders in silicones, has decided to reinforce its anchoring in one of its two historical cradles (France and China) to continue its policy of upscaling and to perpetuate its Research and Development (R&D) activity in Europe. 

With this major project, Elkem Silicones doubles the space dedicated to research on its Saint-Fons site, bringing the surface of its Research Center to 6,000 m2, with the aim of reinforcing collaborative research within Silicones teams, but also within its open innovation network in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Thus, several workspaces of the site of Saint-Fons South will be grouped, allowing the R&D teams to work together in a unique place while maintaining its level of EHS requirements. This new center will also make it possible to welcome new research projects, add value to laboratory equipment or rethink the ergonomics of workstations. For four years, Elkem Silicones’ R&D personnel have increased by 11% in France and by more than 20% worldwide. In total, nearly 130 people will join this new R&D center, with nearly 60% of technicians.

Chinese, American and European teams will come and enjoy all the equipment to share their work and their expertise. Every year, more than 10 patents come out of the Elkem Silicones R&D Center, which already holds more than 1,200 patent titles.

R & D Campus Elkem Silicones – Key figures

• Surface area: 6000 m2

• Architect: AMMA Architect

• Investment: 25 million euros

• Start of work: March 2019

• Delivery date 2nd half of 2020

For Frédéric Jacquin, General Manager of the Elkem Silicones Division, “Innovation is an essential strategic issue for our industry and our company. Being able to invest in this field in France, thanks to a favourable local eco-system, high-quality teams and the competitiveness of Research in France for many years, is a sign of confidence in our ambition to grow within a global project. “

For David Kimelfeld, President of the Metropole de Lyon, “The establishment of the new R&D center at Elkem in the heart of the Chemistry Valley confirms the industrial dynamism of the city and in particular that of the Lyon chemical industry. Investments in this territory represent more than 400 million euros on the mandate. This project reinforces the development of an innovative Chemistry in Lyon that integrates the issues of respect for the environment. Elkem Silicones once again demonstrates the strong relationship we have with China to sustain and support our industries. In the economic field, our region is the 1st largest in France for the number of employees working for Chinese groups, and many of our companies are successfully developing industrial and technological partnerships in China”.

For Nathalie Frier, Mayor of St Fons, “this new Research and Development center is a great sign that Saint Fons is becoming a territory of innovation and creation. A new dynamism in the Valley of Chemistry that must reflect on its inhabitants. A hope that is added to the projects conducted with the Metropolis for a sustainable and renewed city “.