Plastics & Rubber

New BASF service: Foam-fill simulation of polyurethane systems for the automotive interior

BASF now offers an additional service for polyurethane systems in automotive interiors. BASF’s Ultrasim® simulation tool has been expanded so that the behavior of PU systems during foaming can now be reliably predicted. The new service has proved especially successful with instrument panels made with the Elastoflex® E semi-rigid system. The international automotive supplier Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is using the virtual process design for the instrument panels it manufactures for current models such as the BMW X1. Based on the CAE model for each panel and a new material description of the semi-rigid system within Ultrasim®, a foam-fill simulation is created, which allows the customer to spot potential problems with the design and manufacturing of the component before the mold is made. Thus Elastoflex® E instrument panels can be developed faster, their production process can be sped up and costs can be reduced.

Within BASF’s simulation tool, the manufacturing process for the component is an integral part of the calculation of the component behavior. Ultrasim® contains tailor-made material models for PU systems, so that the injection, foaming and hardening of the polyurethane can be precisely predicted. The analysis thus takes exactly into account the typical properties of the relevant materials.

Setting the right process parameters is just as important as having an exact description of the material behavior. Foam-fill simulation allows the injection position, the route of the mixing head and the orientation of the mold to be analyzed, but also flow aids, venting designs and closing times. Thus the foaming process in both open and closed molds becomes transparent and can be examined with a virtual magnifying glass. The simulation especially adds value in the early phase of a project, because it generally reduces development times. And if the simulation detects a problem, customers can adjust part geometry and venting designs at no extra cost.

Find out more on the simulation of PU foams at our booth at the K 2016.