Wacker Polymers’ new research and training facility on South Hamilton Street in Dalton has been open less than four months. But employees from as far away as Germany, China and Malaysia have already been brought in for training at the facility.
“Wacker is big on training both in-house and for our customers. It likes to set up an academy for training in core places across the world, and they chose Dalton to be the core competency center for the carpet industry,” said John McClurken, technical director of the facility.
McClurken says Wacker wants all of its employees, including sales people, to understand the chemicals it sells.
“Anybody doing anything with carpet with Wacker gets trained here. It takes three or four days. It’s very intense. We take them out to the carpet mills to see how everything is used,” McClurken said. “We also open it up to our customers. Say you’ve got a new process engineer who is new to carpet, we offer training for them. We’ve always done that. But this allows us to expand the training and give it more structure.”
Customers can learn proper testing and application techniques with hands-on instruction from McClurken and others at the facility.
Wacker Polymers is a subsidiary of Wacker Chemie AG, which is based in Germany. The company manufactures the glue that binds carpet fibers to a backing, and it has actually had a presence in Dalton for several years, but its move to a new, larger location has allowed it to open the training academy in the city as well as to expand its lab operations.
“This building does three things. It is a laboratory for testing and R&D (research and development). It’s an office facility for us, and it’s an academy,” McClurken said.
By having a lab right in the heart of the carpet industry, Wacker is able to work with carpet companies to meet their needs and troubleshoot any problems that come up.
“Our new technical center in Dalton will greatly improve the support we give our customers in developing new product solutions,” said Peter Summo, head of the dispersions business at Wacker Polymers, in a press release.