BASF opens R&D centre for auto/catalysts in China

BASF opens R&D centre for auto/catalysts in China

German chemicals firm BASF recently opened a 5,000-sq-m facility at its Innovation Campus in Shanghai, to further strengthen its collaborations with the automotive industry and to offer new process catalysts to the chemical industry. With an investment of approximately EUR34 million, the new centre includes the Automotive Application Centre and the Process Catalysis Research & Development (R&D) Centre.

At the inauguration, the company presented a range of locally-developed innovations that support customers in industries like automotive, construction and consumer goods, and which address important market trends to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and enhance performance.

BASF also launched an innovative waterborne coating system at the same occasion.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art spray booth for electrostatic applications, a physical testing lab, and a 3D robot, the BASF Automotive Application Centre, is designed to enable customer-oriented R&D activities. The 3D robot can simulate nearly any situation on a paint line, enabling the new centre to optimize application processes and products. It can apply the automotive coatings not only on horizontal and vertical surfaces, but also on three-dimensional objects such as car doors and bumpers, says BASF.

Located at the same premises, the new Process Catalysis R&D Centre will focus on the development of new process catalysts to meet the specific needs of BASF customers in Asia Pacific.

It houses testing units for evaluating solid catalyst performance, and facilities for solids processing and development of new catalytic materials for both new and existing process catalysis applications. Solid processes such as solid formation, separation, formulation, thin film coating, drying and solid handling will be designed and optimized at the facility. It will complement BASF’s world-scale process catalyst manufacturing site, located in Caojing, Shanghai.

BASF says it is also making progress in its research collaboration projects with the universities via the NAO platform – Network for Asian Open Research. For example, BASF is partnering with Sichuan University and is exploring improved solutions for important market needs like high chemical resistance of polyamide blends.

The building and facilities were completed after a 15-month construction phase, achieving 600,000 safe working hours without lost-time injuries. On top of safety measures, the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system has been integrated with an off-gas treatment facility, i.e. with an activated carbon unit, installed on the rooftop of the building to remove VOCs such as hydrocarbons, solvents, and organic-based odours from the spraying process. The building also has an advanced wastewater treatment system for the Process Catalysis R&D centre. The system is used to treat process wastewater and to remove industrial effluents. The newly constructed building also follows the green building concept, says BASF.


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