ULTRASIM: Designed to Develop High Performance Plastics

What did we do when the testing software we were using wasn't measuring as accurately or precisely as we would've liked? We used the brilliant minds in our company to build our own! ULTRASIM®, a computer simulation software that tests plastic component concepts, was thought up and developed by one of our engineers more than a decade ago.

ULTRASIM is a BASF exclusive system that provides a virtual environment to test multiple factors. It can test how a material will hold up under different temperatures as well as analyze loading conditions and rates including static, slowly applied loads and crash, quickly applied loads.

Accurate prediction of plastic performance

This evaluation tool can be used during each phase of development for fiber reinforced thermoplastic components accounting for process, material and part geometry.

"The system provides enough detail that we can accurately predict how the product would behave under different properties and circumstances," says Marios Lambi, manager of Application Development and Computer-Aided Engineering. "We are able to give feedback to our customers about material performance and say with a high level of confidence how their part will perform."

One of our customers found that when they tested the plastic products themselves, the performance metrics were about 50 percent accurate. When using ULTRASIM, the product performs within 5 percent of the predicted value.

ULTRASIM geometrically maps the plastic part and predicts its performance.

Many systems are only able to measure part performance considering materials as if they were isotropic, or uniform, and therefore not under the actual circumstances they will face. In reality, there is non-uniform fiber distribution within the plastic parts and the fiber direction can affect how the part responds to loading conditions as a result of varying levels of stiffness or stress levels for the same material. We account for this process and because of that, ULTRASIM measures plastic performance more accurately.

Benefits of ULTRASIM to the end component 

By using ULTRASIM, we can help our customers reduce waste and ensure that when a plastic part is chosen, it will perform as expected. These thermoplastic parts are a step toward weight reduction and cost savings in automotive manufacturing, and our approach enables customers to feel confident about the safety and performance of the part.