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K 2013 preview: BASF commercializing new products

By: Frank Esposito

June 26, 2013

LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY — By the end of 2013, BASF SE will begin production on a pair of new plastic products.

In Pune, India, manufacturing firm AIM Filtertec has licensed technology to produce BASF's Steron-brand polyurethane/silicon fabric. AIM Filtertec in September will open a new plant in Pune with the ability to make 1.7 million square meters of Steron per year, BASF Steron market introduction head Heidrun Goth said June 26 at a press event in Ludwigshafen.

AIM Filtertec initially will aim Steron at applications in the fashion industry, but automotive applications also are being explored, she added.

Steron consists of a bottom layer of silicone and a top layer of PU. It can provide a leather or velvet feel and can be placed over substrates of plastic and other materials.

The material can provide weight savings of more than 50 percent vs. leather, Goth said.

A ready-to-use PU foam insulation panel is BASF's other new product launch. Work will begin in August on a pilot plant making the foam in Lemforde, Germany, rigid foams researcher Marc Fricke said June 26 in Ludwigshafen.

Samples of the product are expected to be available in the second half of 2014. When used in building insulation panels, the foam — which contains a new aerogel — can provide excellent insulation properties as well as design freedom, Fricke said.

Panels made of the PU foam can be sawed, cut, drilled or bonded, he added. They are 25-50 percent thinner than similar insulation panels and also can be use in refrigerators.

BASF ranks as one of the world's largest makers of chemicals, specialty plastics and plastic additives. The Ludwigshafen-based firm employs more than 110,000 worldwide and posted sales of almost $94 billion in 2012.