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Solving a puzzle before the meal


* Puzzling cutlery made of Ultramid from designers at ding3000

At the opening of the K 2010 International Plastics and Rubber Trade Fair, BASF will be exhibiting JOIN cutlery made of Ultramid® A3EG6 FC plastic, a food contact-approved special polyamide. This high-quality plastic cutlery with the innovative design is the creation of the three co-owners of the design studio ding3000 in Hanover. It is not, however, limited to serving as an eating utensil: It also serves as brain-teaser, conversation piece and table decoration. The team at the BASF designfabrik™ contributed to its development and design. The cutlery is produced by Konstantin Slawinski, whose company has been known for manufacturing unusual household products with a certain design appeal for several years.

Japanese puzzle as the source of inspiration

The designers Carsten Schelling, Sven Rudolph and Ralph Webermann, who have focused on furniture and household appliances since 2005, were inspired by a Japanese toy, where three small sticks are joined – apparently inseparably – by a “square knot”. The stick-together cutlery, consisting of fork, knife and spoon and which has been available from Konstantin Slawinski since August 2010, employs the same principle: Each of the three cutlery items has an opening in the middle that allows them to be joined, forming a small yet stabile free-standing sculpture that challenges the user to test his or her mental dexterity before being able to eat.

Plastics expertise from the designfabrik

The experts at the BASF designfabrik™ were able to assist ding3000 in selecting the right plastic and converting the product idea into reality. They remedied weak spots by testing and optimizing the design on a virtual prototype using the ULTRASIM™ simulation tool. In addition, together with their partners in the project, they chose the glass fiber-reinforced special polyamide Ultramid® A3EG6 FC as the optimal material. Not only is it approved for food contact (FC: food contact); it is tough, heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe and can be easily colored. These characteristics make this Ultramid the right cutlery material when it comes to meeting the requirements for this rather unusual application for an engineering plastic. Because of the material’s inherent strength, it was possible to come up with a more delicate design than that typical of most common plastic cutlery. The heat resistance of the material allows hot foods to be cut, while the attractive, finely serrated knife blade that the ding3000 team developed will retain a durable cutting edge. Finally, not only the plastic, but also the additives and colorants used must be approved for food contact. Cologne-based BASF Color Solutions resolved this issue with its products.

The consulting services offered by the designfabrik are available to both free-lance and company-employed designers who need assistance when working with BASF materials. Two industrial designers and numerous BASF engineers provide support in answering questions about the correct design for plastics, suitable processing methods, surfaces and colors as well as form and function.

The designfabrik™ at BASF can be reached at


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