Image: BASF Coatings

BASF Coatings is launching Auroom, a digital platform for automotive designers to map paint colours onto their models and visualize their appearance and effects. This is said to give a realistic impression of colour proposals at an early stage of the design process, including the effects of sparkling and lightness or colour ‘flop’, giving designers the chance for side-by-side comparisons of colour shades. This phase of the design can also be speeded up, as it reduces the need for physical paint samples.

The database of colours has been built up by scanning BASF’s portfolio of over 600 coatings, generating detailed data which is then modelled for rendering over 3D shapes. “We have a lot of experience creating colours in our labs, and now we are able to digitize them and create photo-realistic digital reproductions,” said Krzysztof Patryk Stolarzewicz, head of global strategic marketing, BASF Coatings. “For our customers, it means the colour decision process will become easier, faster and much more effective. They can also use the data for their own brand-specific car configurators so that car buyers can experience automotive colours in their entire variety, which supports their buying decision.”

Mark Gutjahr, head of automotive colour design EMEA, added: “Automotive coatings are highly complex colours with texture, colour position and surface defining the overall impression. To easily understand the impact of these colour parameters on a 3D shape, the digitized colours enable the user to see this on their individual models.”

Auroom will first be launched in the EMEA region, and customers can test the technology in a special studio at BASF’s Colour Design Studio Europe in Münster, Germany. At this site, the company has also recently opened a new modular ‘Lean Lab’, overhauling its existing facility to digitize and redesign its working processes and logistics concepts. This is said to optimize customer-specific product development, the manufacturing of paint samples, the application testing, and delivery of materials for daily work; and a new ‘lab dosing’ machine can manufacture paint formulas from over 300 liquid raw materials.

The Lean Lab concept is to be rolled out at the company’s other European sites in Germany, Spain and France. Dirk Bremm, president of BASF Coatings, commented: “BASF cooperates very closely with all major automotive manufacturers worldwide to develop advanced coatings technologies. Through the digitization of processes, optimized use of resources, and automation, we can respond even more efficiently and address our customers’ needs.”