BASF adds nylon, brings new materials to Fakuma

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Photo by Caroline Seidel Visitors at Fakuma 2017.

Fresh off a major acquisition, materials giant BASF SE is at Fakuma with a wide portfolio of plastics materials.

In September, Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF announced that it was buying the nylon business of Solvay SA of Brussels for €1.6bn. BASF officials said at the time that the Solvay nylon unit will complement BASF's engineering plastics portfolio and will be integrated into its performance materials and monomers divisions.

A BASF spokeswoman said a detailed integration plan for the Solvay nylon business will be developed in a discovery phase after the deal closes. She added that it was too early in the process to comment on other details.

For full year 2016, the Solvay nylon unit had sales of €1.315bn. The business employs nearly 2,400 globally, operating 12 production sites, four research locations and 10 technical support centers.

In another growth move, BASF and Kolon Plastics are working together to build the world's largest acetal (POM) plant in Gimcheon, South Korea. The plant is set to open in the second half of 2018 with annual production capacity of 70,000 tonnes (154 million pounds). Commercial quantities of acetal, which BASF sells under the Ultraform brand name, already are available.

At Fakuma, BASF is focused on multiple materials for the construction, furniture, automotive and packaging sectors, including what officials are calling "the superhero for engineers," a new grade of Ultramid-brand Advanced N polyphthalamide (PPA) resin for challenging applications.

In the auto sector, BASF is presenting engineering plastics for car interiors, chassis and powertrains. The company is publicly showing two special nylons for car interiors for the first time. Officials said those materials open up new design perspectives for high-gloss surfaces, back-lit structural and functional elements.

BASF also is displaying structural components that were developed together with leading automotive suppliers and optimised with the help of the simulation tool Ultrasim. These include engine mounts, transmission crossbeams and transmission adapters made from glass-fiber-reinforced Ultramid-brand nylon resins.

The BASF booth at Fakuma includes a floor covering made from Elastollan-brand thermoplastic polyurethane. The floor offers great flexibility and durability, officials said, and is particularly suitable for areas of buildings with high foot traffic. The 100% recyclable floor covering is marketed by Tarkett under the name IQ One and is certified with Cradle to Cradle gold and with the Blue Angel eco-label.

The booth also features three different chair designs that used Ultramid SI nylon. These are the Belleville from Vitra, the Metrik from Wilkhahn and the A-Chair from Brunner. In addition to the stability typical of nylons, officials said Ultramid SI offers a particularly high-quality surface appearance.

Ultramid co-nylons also are being used in film applications. Ultramid Flex F38L is partially bio-based and can make films that are soft, transparent and tear-resistant even at low temperatures and low humidity. This makes the resin particularly suitable for industrial films or soft packaging, as is used for food, officials said.

BASF, a global leader in chemicals and plastics, employs more than 110,000 worldwide and posted sales of €57.5bn in 2016.


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