German chemical company BASF has opened a pioneering research centre in Ludwigshafen, Germany – to be operated by their global research unit Process Research & Chemical Engineering. The centre houses highly automated experimental facilities for efficient process development and testing of new process catalysts, with highlights such as modular construction of the testing facilities, the use of digital technologies to better visualize and manage the pilot plant facilities, and a digitalized working environment.
In place of a 60-year old building which was completely gutted and updated over the past two years, the cutting-edge research facility has opened on the ground floor, as renovations continue on the floor above.
BASF is investing a single-digit million euro sum per year in this complex project; upon completion in a few years, the building will be the central hub for experimental work with automated pilot plants for liquid and gaseous substances.
Dr. Detlef Kratz, head of the research unit Process Research & Chemical Engineering has said: “With increasing importance of the BASF Chemicals and Industrial Solutions, there is a growing need for product research and process research; in the pilot plant facility, BASF is using state-of-the-art infrastructure to carry out experiments, which enables new research approaches and reduces the length of research and development projects, while also continuing to improve the quality of the data collected.”
During the planning and construction of the pilot plants, user-friendliness and easy maintenance were as important as the aim of simplifying work processes via digitalization – the pilot plants can be managed and monitored from separate quiet workspaces or directly via computer, tablet or smartphone. The software hteControlTM has enabled visual planning and execution with various distributed control systems, where measurement and analysis data are automatically collected, logically amalgamated and made available for further evaluation.Professional data management of the technical centre also enables automatic integration and evaluation of processes.
Employees now have the optimal conditions to discover new solutions for process development and catalysis.
BASF combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility for a sustainable future, organised into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition and Care, and Agricultural Solutions. BASF Group‘s approximately 122,000 employees work on contributing to the success of our customers in almost every country in the world. BASF has generated sales of around EUR€63 billion in 2018; with shares trading on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS).