LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany—BASF S.E. is building a plant in Shanghai, China, to expand the firm's Cellasto automotive business.
The facility will be located near a company thermoplastic urethane plant and produce polyurethane products. It is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011, according to a spokesman for BASF's polyurethanes division. The size of the factory and cost of the project weren't disclosed.
“With our existing sites in North and South America, Asia and Europe, we have strengthened our market position in the past years,” said Kenneth Lane, senior vice president, strategic marketing polyurethanes. “Producing and supplying products in the same region that our customer is located is critical to our long-term success.”
Under the Cellasto brand, BASF develops, produces and distributes components made using microcellular polyurethane elastomers that enhance driving comfort in the form of spring aids, top mounts and coil spring isolators, the spokesman said.
Cellasto products are used inside ev-ery second car manufactured in the world, he claimed, and nine out of 10 auto makers use BASF spring aids, or jounce bumpers.
The Cellasto line minimizes noise from the engine, vibrating chassis and rumbling shock absorbers, and reduces strut variations, he said. Cellasto microcellular polyurethanes are molded into a wide range of jounce bumpers, coil spring isolators, shock mounts and body mounts that improve the overall ride characteristics of vehicles.
BASF has been manufacturing parts under the Cellasto brand name since the 1960s. Other plants producing Cellasto goods include sites in Wyandotte, Mich.; Maua, Brazil; Lemforde, Germany; Shinshiro, Japan; and Nanhsa, China.
“BASF can offer its customers a solution on a global scale—an unbeatable advantage, because customers not only save on development costs, they also have a reliable single global supplier,” Lane said.
Cellasto has gained market share, especially in the urethane top mounts and spring isolators business, the firm said, providing examples that include new global platforms for the Opel Astra and the new Citroen C4 or new General Motors Corp. offerings such as Delta, Epsilon and Gamma, which will be fitted with Cellasto products beginning in 2011.
Lane said that Cellasto has shown profitable growth throughout 2010. A lot of noise, vibration and harshness components in vehicles are made with natural rubber, but he said the polyurethane business “is pursuing a clear strategy to replace rubber as a material.”
The company said that new applications such as steering dampers and roll restrictors are expected to open up new markets for the company.