On BASF’s pre K press conference 2007, on July 3 and 4 in Frankenthal, near Ludwigshafen, Germany, the company presents numerous innovations from all plastic segments.
Dr. John Feldmann, Member of the Board of Directors, responsible for BASF’s plastics as well as oil and gas business, explains the company’s consequent orientation on the basis of well-defined
customer interaction models. In the plastics segment, BASF intends to focus on specialties and products with a high potential for differentiation in the market. The target is to increase the
sales share of these products by 2010 from roughly 25 to 40% (P 261, P 262).
Jacques Delmoitiez, head of BASF’s Operating Division Polyurethanes, gives details on the division’s three-pillar strategy. It consists of innovative products and marketing concepts, a site
concept that includes more than 30 customer-orientated system houses all over the world and the global production site concept with world scale plants in all regions. With PU basic products, PU
systems, special PU elastomers (TPU) and finished components like Cellasto© BASF belongs to the worldwide market leaders. Polyurethanes are the most versatile plastics and can be found
everywhere in daily life, from sports shoes and refrigerators to cable isolation, top mounts and coastal protection systems (P 263).
Products for automobile production
On K 2007 in D?ldorf, Germany, the world’s largest plastics trade fair, BASF will present a new polyamide specialty for online coatable car body parts. The material is called Ultramid© TOP
and it offers extremely high heat stability which is indispensable for body parts made of plastic. Thus a part made of Ultramid TOP can be mounted very early onto the raw car frame like e.g. a
classical metallic fender and then move through the entire manufacturing process down to coating without additional effort (P 264).
There is also news about the very easy-flowing PBT Ultradur© High Speed. Backed by high market demand BASF offers now 15 different grades of this material. Brand new are the thermally
conductive and the flame retardant grades (P 265). A new, low-warpage version of Ultradur High Speed-Type has been explicitly optimized for making automotive instrument panels. It is used in
the dolphin system, a new method for producing soft and leather-like instrument panels in a very cost-efficient way. The companies Engel, Georg Kauffmann, P-Group and BASF have jointly
developed the dolphin technique. One of the first prototype parts near to series application will be produced live at the K show in October (P 266).
Two innovative Ultrason© E grades (PESU: polyethersulfone) are available in BASF’s high performance plastics range. Both are developed for automotive headlights. Ultrason E 2010 MR black
HM offers improved temperature behavior since it is colored by a new pigment system. The first PESU-Blend Ultrason E 2010 MR HP has been developed, optimizing toughness and processability
considerably without harming temperature resistance (P 267).
Water injection technology (WIT) is particularly useful for injection molding of complex hollow parts. For this technology BASF has now three specific products in its range of engineering
plastics: A hydrolysis-resistant PA 66, Ultramid© A3HG6 WIT, for cooling water pipes, Ultramid B3G10 SI (PA 6) and the PBT Ultradur© B 4040 G10 WIT, both for structural parts like
roof rails. First applications have been realized together with the company Decoma (P 268).
Design and Packaging
Biodegradable plastics and plastics based on renewable raw materials are a constant part of BASF’s research and development activities. After the market introduction of Ecovio© LBX 8145
beginning of 2006, first lab samples of the new Ecovio L Foam will be available in October 2007. The material is designed for foamed food trays and fast-food boxes. Like its predecessor the new
Ecovio L Foam consists of Ecoflex©, BASF’s biodegradable polyester, and the renewable raw material polylactic acid (PLA) (P 269).
A new Styrolux© grade (SBC: Styrol-Butandien-Copolymer) has been developed for shrink sleeves in beverage bottle packaging. Films made of the new Styrolux HS 70 have a significantly higher
final shrinkage than all other SBC products in the market. This allows form-fitting sheathing even for bottles with complex geometries and thus makes possible attractive and individual product
design (P 270).
Together with BASF and the furniture company Plank the internationally acclaimed industrial designer Konstantin Grcic has designed and produced an innovative chair within the record time of
only one year. The chair combines high design standards with intelligent production via injection molding: The cantilever chair
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¾MYTO” is entirely made of Ultradur© High Speed, the very easy-flowing PBT
(polybutylene terephtalete) from BASF and will be unveiled on K fair’s opening day at BASF’s stand by the designer himself (P 271).
There is also news from designfabrikÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ (design factory), BASF’s plastics service platform
for designer which is located in Ludwigshafen since May 2006. The designfabrik’s technical support and advice in connection with the choice of material, processing technique and color has now
been extended to all BASF plastics and includes Styrenics as well as Engineering Plastics and Polyurethanes (P 272).
The foam Basotect© has also aroused designers’ interest. The company Walter Knoll from German Herrenberg has developed the first fire-proof sofa by using a core of BASF’s speciality foam.
The flame-resistant melamine resin foam will be part of the whole upholstered design furniture series KITE 560 which is particularly well-suited for furbishing public spaces where fire
protection regulations are very strict (P 273).
News about BASF’s Integrative Simulation and a new PA marketing concept
BASF has further developed its powerful CAE instrument Integrative Simulation, so that it can fully consider not only metal and reinforced plastic but also structural foams which are used to
glue different materials (CAE: computer-aided engineering). This allows the simulation of so called structural plastic inserts which are implemented into hollow body parts that have to fulfill
high requirements in case of a crash. With this enlarged Integrative Simulation technique highly complex metal-plastic-structural foam-parts can be computed, the construction of which would
otherwise be very difficult (P 274).
One step further goes the application of this method for stone impact on under-the-hood plastic parts. Special polyamide grades like Ultramid© A3HG7 Q17 have undergone broad aging tests in
hot oil and the results have been implemented into the crash simulation method. So now the behavior of motor oil or gear oil sumps that have aged in hot oil for thousands of hours and are then
hit by a stone can be simulated precisely on the computer und thus improved. This opens many interesting applications for engineering plastics (P 275).
Before investigations of part behavior with these elaborate calculation methods from BASF take place, the shape of the part should be optimized, otherwise the potential of the powerful
engineering plastics cannot be fully exploited. BASF’s application specialists have supplemented the instrument of Integrative Simulation now by the so called Mathematical Part Optimization
(MPO) (P 276).
The logical marketing consequence of Integrative Simulation: Under the trade name Ultramid© CR BASF now offers its customers for the first time six polyamide grades that, with the aid of
its Integrative Simulation, are exactly matched to the demands imposed on parts in case of a crash. Apart from materials with optimized composition and the material data available for the
simulation the package also contains particularly narrow specifications and intensive quality controls. The package is valid for three PA 6 and three PA 66 grades (P 277).
Meantime BASF owns the three polyamide trade marks Ultramid©, Miramid© and Capron©. Now the product ranges are restructured, so that Ultramid remains the core brand for
technically sophisticated applications and Miramid includes small-volume grades like special colors which can be fast and flexibly supplied. The Capron range is reduced and contains high volume
PA grades for standard applications that do not involve narrow specifications (P 278).
Polyurethane for top mounts, dike breakwaters, mattresses and car interiors
By using novel cross-linking TPUs, trade name Elastollan©, BASF’s subsidiary Elastogran offers an innovative alternative for rubber in rubber-metal composites as used in damping systems of
machines. The metal component in these systems can, at the same time, be replaced by Ultramid© CR. This way complex composites can be produced faster, more cost effectively and with
considerably smaller weight (P 279).
The polyurethane (PU) system Elastocoast© has been developed for coastal protection. With the elastomeric material one can secure dike breakwaters better than with conventional rigid
systems, since the layers of stone are glued together elastically. First commercial projects have been realized at the German North Sea coast and demonstrate the high value of the system (P
A polyol made from castor oil can be found now in Elastogran’s product portfolio, so that customers are able to manufacture flexible foams that consist of almost 25% of renewable material. The
polyol is called Lupranol© Balance 50 and it was developed by using innovative reactive catalysts (P 281).
Soft-touch feelings in the automotive interior can be generated in different ways by using polyurethanes (PU). In addition to the well-known cast skin technique, Elastogran is now offering in
Europe the spray skin method which is easier in terms of tools. The aromatic PU specialty belongs to the Elastoskin© family. A new Elastollan© grade achieves a similar target: The
aliphatic hard phase-modified TPU, in brief HPM-TPU, leads to soft touch by simple two-component injection molding. BMW is already using the material in series production (P 282).
Systems and visions: Of car seats, wood coating, extrusion, medical technology and plasticizers
The newly founded car seat competence team focuses BASF Group’s whole know-how about car seat materials. In this context it was shown on a prototype that a car seat can almost completely be
made of BASF products. Application experts are offering the complete knowledge now to car manufacturers and Tier 1-suppliers in a concise and easily accessible manner (P 283).
The coating system PermaSkin© which uses films made of the styrenic plastic specialty Luran© S (ASA) for the coating of wooden doors, e.g., has been transformed into an independent
business model. Door manufacturers receive the coating machine on leasinig-basis as well as the film and the adhesive directly from BASF. They can thus produce doors or similar products
cost-effectively without wet coating and with no initial investment (P 284).
A fourth product is now added to the three standard injection molding grades in BASF’s ABS commodity product range. Terluran© SP-6 has been developed explicitly for extrusion and it is
produced under the highly cost-efficient conditions in BASF’s word scale ABS plant in Antwerp, Belgium (P 285).
Plastics for medical technology have to fulfill very high safety standards. BASF has significantly extended its plastics portfolio for this growing market. A new Terlux© (MABS) with
improved flow properties (Terlux 2812 HD) and the first engineering plastics – two copolymer polyacetals (POM), Ultraform© PRO by name – are now available for medical technology
applications and include a comprehensive package of special test and certificate services (P 286).
Among BASF’s plasticizers for PVC there are two especially remarkable ones. Palatinol© 10-P is used for roof sheeting and cables. Hexamoll© DINCH is an alternative to phthalates
specifically developed for the use in sensitive applications like children’s toys. It is the most thoroughly investigated of all plasticizers worldwide (P 287).