BASF is speeding up and focusing research activities
The innovation-driven world of chemical and technology companies is characterized by a constant process of change. To maintain its successful track record in this environment, BASF is further speeding up and focusing its research and development activities, said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer of BASF, at the Research Press Conference held today in Ludwigshafen
Even though BASF’s research is already very successful with an output of about EUR 10 billion sales from innovative products, the company needs to adapt its established approaches to changing conditions, said Brudermüller.
“Our R&D success factors are creativity, efficiency and integration. Fostering creativity and creating the conditions necessary to achieve it are among the company’s most important tasks,” he added. Creative and efficient work is also supported by integration, Brudermüller explained. “To do this, we need to intelligently combine the competencies of our global Research and Development Verbund while also taking advantage of our external networks.” Every R&D employee needs to demonstrate focus and discipline combined with flexibility and openness. “We gain speed by constantly challenging ourselves to flexibly react to changes and to tackle the right topics in a focused way,” Brudermüller said.
Global Know-How Verbund delivers strong figures
Innovations based on chemistry require market-oriented research and development that focuses strongly on the needs of customers. In 2015, BASF’s research pipeline encompassed around 3,000 projects and spending on research and development rose to EUR 1,953 million (2014: EUR 1884 million). The operating divisions were responsible for 79 % of these R&D expenditures. The remaining 21 % was allocated to cross-divisional corporate research focusing on long-term topics of strategic importance to the BASF Group. In order to bring promising ideas to market even faster, BASF regularly assesses its research projects using a multistep process and focuses its topics accordingly.
The foundation of BASF’s innovation strength is its global team of highly qualified employees from various disciplines: In 2015, around 10000 employees were working in Research and Development worldwide. The central research areas Process Research & Chemical Engineering, Advanced Materials & Systems Research and Bioscience Research serve as BASF’s three global research platforms, headquartered in the company’s main regions – Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. Together with the development units of the divisions, they form the core of BASF’s Know-How Verbund. With around 4900 employees working in Research and Development, Ludwigshafen (including Limburgerhof) remains the largest site in BASF’s Research Verbund. This was reinforced by the investment in a new research building which creates modern workspaces and ideal cooperation conditions for around 200 employees in the platform Advanced Materials & Systems Research.
At the research press conference some latest results were presented, among Plastics: successfully minimizing noise and vibrations.
For the research platform Advanced Materials & Systems Research, the focus was on the topic “Noise, Vibration and Harshness.” BASF experts are investigating the possibilities of minimizing unwanted noise and vibrations by using material and component design. This is becoming increasingly important since both background noise levels and vibrations continue to grow as our home and work environments become more automated. At the same time, the noises are changing. In electro-mobility, for example, engine noise is quieter but other annoying frequencies become more prominent and need to be reduced. Another example is household appliances. With increasing urbanization, more and more people are living in confined spaces. Households not only have more electrical appliances, the equipment is getting more powerful. The resulting noise and vibration need to be minimized. An interdisciplinary BASF team comprising chemists, physicists and engineers is improving various polymer solutions that can be used to optimize frequencies in the range that can be felt and heard: from 1 to 20000 Hertz. Depending on the frequency range and the requirements, the team is able to change the design of components and/or the molecular or foam structure of the materials used (polyamides, polyurethanes, melamine resin foams) with computer simulations.