BASF’s polyurethane simulation system forautomotive interiors

BASF’s polyurethane simulation system for the automotive interiors

11:56 AM, 14th July 2016
BASF’s polyurethane simulation system for the automotive interiors
BASF now offers an additional service for polyurethane systems in automotive interiors. BASF’s Ultrasim simulation tool has been expanded so that the behavior of PU systems during foaming can now be reliably predicted for both open and closed moulds.

LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY: BASF SE has offered an additional service for polyurethane systems in automotive interiors. BASF’s Ultrasim simulation tool has been expanded so that the behaviour of polyurethane (PU) systems during foaming can now be reliably predicted for both open and closed moulds.

The new service has proved especially successful with instrument panels made with the Elastoflex E semi-rigid system. The international automotive supplier Yanfeng Automotive Interiors is using the virtual process design for the instrument panels it manufactures for current models such as the BMW X1.

Based on the CAE model for each panel and a new material description of the semi-rigid system within Ultrasim, a foam-fill simulation is created, which allows the customer to spot potential problems with the design and manufacturing of the component before the mould is made. Thus Elastoflex E instrument panels can be developed faster, their production process can be sped up and costs can be reduced.

Simulation adds value especially in early project phases

Within BASF’s simulation tool, the manufacturing process for the component is an integral part of the calculation of the component behavior. Ultrasim contains tailor-made material models for PU systems, so that the injection, foaming and hardening of the polyurethane can be precisely predicted.

The analysis thus takes exactly into account the typical properties of the relevant materials: the temperature-dependent reaction process and foam formation as well as the resulting density profile and flowability during foaming. This makes it possible to generate a location-independent calculation of the foaming process: from injection via the complete mould filling to the final part density.

Setting the right process parameters is just as important as having an exact description of the material behavior. Foam-fill simulation allows the injection position, the route of the mixing head and the orientation of the mould to be analyzed, but also flow aids, venting designs and closing times. Thus the foaming process in both open and closed moulds becomes transparent and can be examined with a virtual magnifying glass.

Safety and comfort in car interiors with moulded parts made of Elastoflex E

With the semi-rigid Elastoflex E polyurethane system, foam-backed parts can be tailor-made for vehicle interiors. Optimized for cost and performance, the systems, which are approved by numerous vehicle manufacturers worldwide, are distinguished by low foam density and low emissions.

They are aging-resistant and offer excellent adhesion to substrates and different skins such as PVC, TPO and PU. The systems benefit from their cost-effectiveness, owing to short demoulding times, low material usage and high processing safety. So complex part shapes with long flow paths can be produced in one shot or with thin walls.

The next step: Ultrasim for automotive components made of integral and flexible foams

The new simulation service is currently being used in customer projects for other components such as engine hoods and steering wheels, i.e. for integral and flexible foams. The medium-term goal is to use Ultrasim to determine the ideal processing parameters of all PU systems for a mould but also to gain insight into the ideal PU system for a given mould.

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Read the latest product news from BASF:

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