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A million colour impressions

18 May 2006

BASF has launched “PlasticsPlus design”, a new service pack-age for product and industrial designers. The core of this exclusive new service in the Styrenics Operating Division’s PlasticsPlus range, is “designfabrik™”, the design factory. The former plastics colour laboratory has been transformed into a stately place where designers can obtain advice about the design and colouring of their plastic products. The key-note speaker at the opening of the design factory was Dieter Rams, former chief designer of the Braun company, whose understated visual language left its imprint on industrial design.

“To an ever greater extent, design is becoming an integral part of the corporate policies of our customers. Our package is aimed at helping our customers to convert their ideas more quickly into actual
products,” explains Dr. Christian Bonten, head of the design factory. BASF specialists use PlasticsPlus design to assist in the choice of the right colour, using a colour library containing approximately 20,000 samples in various colours. They advise on the selection of the optimal production process, on the design that is appropriate for plastics, and on the pre-selection of a suitable material.

A colour competence centre is integrated into the design factory. Up to 50 different surface textures can be produced here. Surface characteristics play a crucial role in the colour effect. For instance, a colour on a glossy surface looks different from the same colour on a matt or corrugated surface. “With 20,000 samples and 50 different surfaces, we can create up to one million colour impressions,” explains Norbert Mosbach, head of the colour competence centre. We also have light booths that show how colour tones appear under all kinds of light. Together with the customers, it takes BASF colour experts just one working day to create samples showing the col-ours requested by the customers.

“BASF needs to intensify the activities of its design factory. This is where young designers in particular can acquire knowledge that they cannot get anywhere else,” says Prof. Dr. Dieter Rams, com-menting on BASF’s new service. The service package also includes the issuing of colour certificates as well as the guarantee of uniform colour standards world-wide. This is a service for which BASF already received the Gillette Omnimark Award back in 2004.

The collaboration between BASF plastic specialists and industrial designers, however, goes well beyond the design factory. For example, workshops are held in early summer, where industrial designers get together with BASF experts and work out new areas of application for engineering plastics.

BASF has bundled a range of specialty plastics products under the umbrella of PlasticsPlus™, including high-performance styrene plastics, biodegradable materials and foams. Whenever exacting requirements have to be met, the experts and products of PlasticsPlus offer a high level of diversity, reliability, innovative
solutions and part-nership.

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