OEM&Lieferant Ausgabe 1/2019
100 IT and Automotive BASF develops automotive OEM coatings at a new level The digitalized and automated laboratory By Susanne Richert, Lean Lab project manager at BASF’s Coatings division’s Münster site How can you work in the laboratory area more transparently and more sustainably while addressing customers’ needs better and more quickly? BASF’s Coatings division has found the answer to this question with Lean Lab, the new modular laboratory concept for developing automotive OEM coatings. Lean Lab ensures optimized, digitalized and transparent processes and efficient utilization of resources. The first Lean Lab was opened in September 2018 at the Münster site and is to be introduced at additional sites in Europe – inWürzburg, Germany; Guadalajara, Spain; and Clermont, France. Since 2014, BASF has invested €24 million to completely overhaul an existing laboratory building for Lean Lab, which included adding an extra story. The building now features four levels with spacious offices and state-of-the- art labworkstations that are all digitally linked. The division of labor between the laboratory services and the process and product labs offers new possibilities for optimizing work- flows. The laboratory employees in Münster are sup- ported by a lab dosing machine that is unique in the coatings industry. BASF collaborated with machine manufacturer FRICKE Dosing + Filling Systems from Minden, Germany, to develop the machine. At 12 meters long and weighing 8 tons, it supports the laboratory employees with producing standard formu- las or frequently used mixing bases. For this purpose, a formula is prepared and the asso- ciated order is generated and guided through the process via bar codes. The machine auto- matically pulls in the container, scans the bar code and doses the raw materials as specified by the formula. If needed, the mixture can be stirred during weighing. The new lab dosing machine, which can prepare standard formu- las fromover 300 liquid rawmaterials, relieves the laboratory teams of routine jobs. The processes in the Lean Lab are transpar- ent and are traceable thanks to laboratory software specially developed to meet BASF’s needs. For example, in a laboratory sample it is possible to precisely identify which raw mate- rial has been processed inwhich batch. There is now only one central storage area with man- aged inventory of all standard raw materials. These include in particular chemicals, as well as semi-finished and finished products. Each new delivery and each consumption is re- corded directly in a bar code-based system. This ensures that all the materials required for dailywork are available and prevents duplicate orders. All raw materials are used optimally, which saves material and time and conserves valuable resources. When a raw material is to be added to a for- mula, the laboratory employee first scans the bar code of the raw material container. The computer releases the rawmaterial for weigh- ing only if the employee has selected the raw material specified in the formula. The precise quantity of a material to be added is displayed on the monitor. All job orders and the associ- ated experiments within the lab are digitally stored and documented, which guarantees reproducibility and knowledge transfer. Both automated and digitalized processes in the Lean Lab contribute to quality assurance and high process reliability and enable work to be conducted transparently and in a re- source-efficient manner. The laboratory em- ployees ultimately havemore scope to develop innovative and customer-specific products and respond flexibly to new challenges. Images: © BASF BASF Coatings Division www.basf-coatings.com Website The lab dosing machine ensures high dosing accuracy and reproducibility of weighings. The new Lean Lab building at the Münster site was officially opened in September 2018.
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