SHANGHAI – BASF is enhancing its regional innovation capabilities with new facilities at the Innovation Campus Shanghai, to further strengthen collaboration with the automotive industry and to offer new process catalysts to the chemical industry. With an investment of approximately €34 million, the new 5,000-square-meter facilities include the Automotive Application Center and the Process Catalysis Research & Development (R&D) Center.

At an inauguration ceremony, the company also presented a range of locally developed innovations that support customers in industries like automotive, construction and consumer goods, and that address important market trends to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and enhance performance. BASF launched an innovative waterborne coating system on the same occasion.

“China’s most important growth industries can benefit enormously from innovations in chemistry. Thanks to continuous investment in research and development over the past several years, we are able to support our customers in China and the entire Asia-Pacific region as they strive to improve consumers’ quality of life, address the challenges of rapid development and meet their sustainability goals,” said Dr. Stephan Kothrade, President Functions Asia Pacific, President and Chairman Greater China, BASF.

“At the Innovation Campus Shanghai, we are continuously enhancing our R&D capabilities in advanced materials, chemical process engineering and catalysts by integrating new technologies and building our teams,” said Dr. Harald Lauke, President, Advanced Materials & Systems Research and Research Representative Asia Pacific, BASF. “We have invested nearly €180 million here since 2012. More importantly, our R&D experts work closely with our business teams and customers, so as to shorten the time-to-market of innovative products.”

OEMs Co-Design Innovations with BASF at the Automotive Application Center

Equipped with a state-of-the-art spray booth for electrostatic applications, a physical testing lab and a 3D robot, the BASF Automotive Application Center Asia Pacific is designed to enable customer-oriented R&D activities. The 3D robot can simulate nearly any situation on a paint line, anywhere in the world, enabling the new center 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. The robot allows BASF to develop new products for customers in the automotive industry. It provides design solutions for automotive products as well as potential new trends and developments in the automotive coatings industry. The expanded capacities also feature laboratories for sustainable painting applications.

“This is a significant milestone in expanding BASF’s R&D footprint in Asia-Pacific. Now we will have the full innovation cycle for coatings in one location – in the region, for the region. The state-of-the-art Application Center will help us to serve our automotive customers even better,” said Dirk Bremm, President of BASF’s Coatings division.

Process Catalysis R&D Center Explores New Possibilities in Catalysis

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

The center hosts highly specialized testing units for evaluating solid catalyst performance, and state-of-the-art facilities for solids processing. Scientists will develop 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. The new R&D center will also scale up tailor-made process catalysts and adsorbents for the regional catalyst market, adding additional value through close cooperation and proximity to BASF’s customers and partners in Asia-Pacific. It will complement BASF’s world-scale process catalyst manufacturing site, located in Caojing, Shanghai.

Locally-Developed Solutions Address Sustainability Challenges

For the first time, BASF presented a range of innovations developed locally at the Innovation Campus Shanghai. From new polymer dispersions to sustainable paints, BASF helps drive innovations that support sustainability and enhance quality of life.

ColorEco is a novel waterborne Monocoat and waterborne integrated paint system. The solution is first applied on light commercial vehicles from JAC, a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer based in Anhui Province, China. It helps automotive manufacturers meet strict regulations for emissions of VOCs, especially in the light commercial vehicle and compact multi-purpose vehicle segments. The conventional system requires four coating layers. With the Integrated Process 2 for metallic colors, the first layer primer is integrated into the basecoat with better functionality. With Monocoat, it is even possible to integrate three steps into one – saving time, energy and materials.