A Million (Colour) Impressions

July 21, 2008 – 7:28 am

At the Medical Moulding & Extrusion Conference in Cologne, Germany, last month I learned about plasticizers, PVC, DEHP, TEHTM, polyolefins, and more. Aside from how DEHP-plasticized PVC influences the blood, its negative health effects, and how difficult it is to replace, I heard about something else relating to plastics that I found quite interesting. A place where industrial designers can gather information, inspiration, and assistance for their individual projects: the so-called Designfabrik (design factory).

At BASF’s Designfabrik in Ludwigshafen, Germany, specialists provide applications technology advice from the selection of suitable processing methods, to design, all the way to choosing the right plastic. It is beyond question that the look and feel of a product is becoming more and more important – and not just for consumer goods like electronics or furniture. “Form follows function” is just as applicable in the medical device industry. Just think about the rapidly growing market of home care products! It certainly makes a difference whether 10-year-old Timmy who suffers from asthma pulls out an inhalation device during PE class that looks like a cell phone, or one that looks like – well, like an inhalation device.

The service platform for industrial designers was founded in May 2006 and is available for all BASF-plastics, from styrene plastics to engineering plastics, all the way to polyurethanes. The colour library comprises some 20,000 different colours, including 957 shades of red and 1735 different shades of white. That combined with up to 50 possible surface textures adds up to an impressive one million colour impressions. Possible surface textures include glossy, leather-look, corrugated, dimpled, rough, soft, smooth, and many more.

The possibilities with plastics are manifold. So design away!

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