published Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

200-foot Wacker equipment is taller than any Bradley County building

These five structures at the Wacker plant in Charleston, Tenn., each measure more than 200 feet tall.
These five structures at the Wacker plant in Charleston, Tenn., each measure more than 200 feet tall.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Large core equipment is now in place upright at the Wacker polysilicon site in Charleston, Tenn. Five structures — each measuring more than 200 feet tall — traveled to the site last year along I-75.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Wacker's polysilicon plant construction site in Charleston, Tenn., has erected large equipment that's taller than any office building in Bradley County, officials say.

Five structures, each measuring more than 200 feet tall, were trucked to the site last year along Interstate-75, according to the German company.

"This is a very visible stride in our progress -- the first major milestone of 2013," said Martin Richtberg, vice president of engineering and head of the construction project, in a statement.

Dan Howell, executive assistant for county Mayor Gary Davis, said there's no office building in Bradley as tall as the Wacker structures.

He said the new equipment at the site off Lauderdale Memorial Parkway is so tall that they hold blinking lights per Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Richtberg said that last year, the site saw the final phase of concrete pouring, the arrival of large core equipment, the beginning of steel erection and the start of interior work.

Konrad Bachhuber, vice president and site manager for Wacker Polysilicon North America, said there is "great pride to see these incredible structures upright, establishing now the real look of our Charleston plant."

The $1.8 billion plant is slated to start producing polysilicon in mid-2015.

Last October, Wacker announced it was pushing back the startup of the plant by about 18 months, citing too much production capacity for polysilicon in the marketplace.

Earlier this year, the company said it has 270 employees at the site, including engineering staff from the company's headquarters in Germany.

In addition, about 1,000 construction workers continue to build the factory that will produce polysilicon for the solar power industry.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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