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BASF presents awards for five projects demonstrating innovation and entrepreneurship


* Business Excellence Award 2005 presented for Elastocool®, a concept for polyurethane refrigeration systems, and for BASF’s expanded e-business activities

* Innovation Award 2005 honors improved quality of plastics precursor MDI and development of a new crop protection agent, Boscalid

* Special prize awarded for outstanding achievements in the construction of BASF’s new Verbund site in Nanjing, China

Unusual ideas and exemplary entrepreneurship: This year, BASF has again honored employees whose projects have measurably contributed to the success of the company and its customers. The 2005 BASF awards were presented to the winning teams today at a research forum held in Ludwigshafen. The winners of this year’s Business Excellence Award were the projects “The Elastocool® concept” and “Every customer is an e-customer.” The Innovation Award 2005 was awarded for the projects “Boosting MDI quality” and “Boscalid – a new standard in specialty crop fungal disease control.” The awards are each worth €50,000, to be shared among all team members.

This year, the Board of Executive Directors also awarded a special prize for the outstanding achievements and enormous personal commitment of the team involved in constructing the new Verbund site in Nanjing, China, on the banks of the Yangtze River. The prize was awarded to a 30-strong international team at BASF-YPS Co. Ltd. that ensured that the entire complex started up on time and very successfully this year. At the height of construction, technical experts from 22 countries and 15,000 workers – from a diverse range of disciplines, companies and cultures – were on site, working together to build the plants and infrastructure. During the construction phase, more than 100,000 workers received thorough safety training from BASF. Nanjing is thus not only an integrated production site in terms of raw materials, products and energy, but is also a Know-how Verbund.

“The awards are an important part of our culture of innovation. Innovative products, processes and business models are the crucial foundation for our sustainable business success,” said Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF Aktiengesellschaft, during the awards ceremony. “The prizes are intended to encourage all employees at the company to overcome challenges, to have the courage to try out new things, and to turn the best ideas into successful market solutions.”

Business Excellence Award: The right solutions for customers

BASF’s Board of Executive Directors presents the Business Excellence Award in recognition of tailor-made solutions based on an exact knowledge of markets and customer needs. One of this year’s prizewinners is a global team with members from BASF subsidiary Elastogran, BASF Korea, BASF Schwarzheide and the BASF joint venture Polioles Mexico. Together, the team effectively launched Elastocool®, a new global range of polyurethane insulation systems for freezer and refrigerators. By optimizing the value-adding chain, the Elastocool® team succeeded in significantly reducing the number of formulations used. At the same time, they utilized the beneficial product characteristics of Elastocool® to increase productivity and save material worldwide, both for customers and BASF. These efforts have paid off: BASF has now become global market leader with Elastocool® and has expanded production capacities at key sites.

The project “Every customer is an e-customer” demonstrates the possibilities of using Internet-based business as a marketing tool to facilitate cooperation with customers. A global team with individuals from the two operating divisions responsible for plastics at BASF –Styrenics and Performance Polymers – significantly improved new business processes, the Internet PlasticsPortal, as well as the company’s e-business activities. The new e-business solutions now account for between 40 and 85 percent of sales in the individual business areas. The expanded range of e-business services has opened up additional growth potential. This project was also honored with the Business Excellence Award.

Innovation Award: Implementing original ideals professionally

“Through the Innovation Award, the Board of Executive Directors aims to honor promising discoveries that have successfully been turned into innovations,” said Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, Board member and Research Executive Director, during the awards ceremony. “This year’s prizewinners are both examples of projects in which people have worked with huge commitment over a number of years to achieve success. And they show the enormous importance of innovation at BASF.”

The project “Boosting MDI quality” focused on the polyurethane basic product diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI), which BASF markets under the trade name Lupranat®. Polyurethanes are extremely important plastics and are used, for example, to make the soles for sport shoes or as insulating materials in the construction industry and in refrigerators. A six-strong international team from a variety of disciplines in BASF’s Polyurethanes division succeeded in significantly increasing the purity of MDI by means of several innovations in the production process. BASF’s product now has unparalleled quality, and the company has considerably expanded its share of the global MDI market to more than 20 percent. The key production innovations are now protected by numerous patents.

BASF’s Agricultural Products division has broken new ground with the innovative active ingredient Boscalid: The broadband fungicide for specialty crops such as fruit, vegetables, vines and ornamental plants has a new mechanism of action. As a result, Boscalid can be used to combat fungi that have developed resistance to existing fungicides. In addition, the new active ingredient is gentle on the environment and has led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to class it as a “reduced-risk molecule.” Attractive market segments are now being developed worldwide with the new crop protection agent. Boscalid will play an important part in ensuring the profitable growth of BASF’s fungicide business.

Note for editors
Photos of the award ceremony can be downloaded from BASF’s website this afternoon at (keyword: Research & Development).


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