BASF will combine its competencies in design, trend research and simulation in the plastics division to improve its global offering for joint innovations with customers from industries, such as automotive, consumer goods and construction. Depending on the type of project, the company will offer the material consultancy of its designfabrik®, the simulation tool Ultrasim® and the trend research know-how in a one-stop-shop solution and also physically bundle these functions at one location per region. This allows the company to provide dedicated support for customer projects using innovative instruments. “This integrated, global concept and the bundling of competencies under one roof will improve support for the innovation process at our customers, from the first steps in product development to the development of virtual prototypes,” explained Raimar Jahn, President of BASF’s Performance Materials division.
Architecture sets accents: expansion of designfabrik® at Ludwigshafen
In order to cluster the functions at the Ludwigshafen site, BASF will rebuild a former bomb shelter outside of the site and bring in modern architectural elements. An additional area of roughly 1,000 sq. meters will be created, housing state-of-the-art presentation and visualization technology as well as workplaces for roughly 15 employees. In addition, the new building will also feature flexible workplaces for project partners or start-up companies. “With this investment into the Ludwigshafen site, we are creating an attractive space for collaboration with our customers,” said Uwe Liebelt, President European Site and Verbund Management. “Connecting a historical building with modern architecture will lead to a creative atmosphere which will inspire the mutual work on innovative solutions,” Liebelt added. The construction planning will be done in close collaboration with Ludwigshafen's authority for the protection of monuments. Luwoge consult GmbH will be the architect for the building expansion. The start of the construction work will depend on permits issued by the responsible authority.
Global concept for global customer needs
The new, integrated concept will also be put into place at other BASF locations around the world. Regional customers in Tokyo, Japan, and Shanghai, China, will benefit from the bundling of services related to materials and design with simulation technologies and the trend research team. A similar facility in Wyandotte, Michigan will be set up for North American customers.
Consultation on materials is gaining importance
In view of the increasingly shorter innovation cycles, a joint and efficient development process is gaining increasing importance. “The clustering of our skills is oriented on the needs of our customers. Through this, we will be able to respond to customer requirements even faster and in manners that will be better integrated and more customized. Innovations will get to the market faster,” adds Jahn.
The designfabrik has become the central hub for interdisciplinary exchanges between designers and BASF materials experts. BASF’s own simulation technology, Ultrasim, makes it possible to calculate the properties of plastic structures digitally and thus makes often complex and expensive production of prototypes superfluous. The BASF trend researchers analyze needs, markets and applications beyond the traditional industry boundaries. From the multitude of different trends, they distill those topics that will matter the most in tomorrow's world of plastics.
About BASF’s Performance Materials division
BASF’s Performance Materials division encompasses the entire materials know-how of BASF regarding innovative, customized plastics under one roof. Globally active in four major industry sectors – transportation, construction, industrial applications and consumer goods – the division has a strong portfolio of products and services combined with a deep understanding of application-oriented system solutions. Key drivers of profitability and growth are our close collaboration with customers and a clear focus on solutions. Strong capabilities in R&D provide the basis to develop innovative products and applications. In 2016, the Performance Materials division achieved global sales of €6.9 billion. More information online: www.performance-materials.basf.com.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com.