BASF and Hengst have developed what is claimed to be the world’s first reusable plastic spin-on oil filter module for cars. BASF, is a Germany-based chemicals company and Hengst Automotive, is a Germany-based company that specialises in fluid management, crankcase ventilation systems and filter systems for oil, fuel, air and cabin air filtration. BASF claims that the newly developed Blue.on is the sustainable alternative to conventional spin-on modules made from metal, since it does not need to be replaced during a filter change. It is made from Ultramid Structure LFX, a long glass fibre-reinforced high-performance plastic.
Ultramid Structures from BASF are said to provide new opportunities for metal substitution. BASF explains that each year, about two billion oil filters are replaced and disposed of. During an oil change, the entire filter unit is exchanged, and the residual oil is disposed of as hazardous waste. Moreover, a big amount of additional litter is generated. BASF claims that Blue.on is offering a solution to this key problem of the automotive industry. It consists of three components: a filter housing, a connection element to the engine and a filter element. During an oil change, only the filter is replaced, whilst the module completely made of plastic can be used for the entire service life of the engine. At the end of the car’s life cycle, all components can almost completely be recycled. As a side benefit, the material leads to a weight reduction of the module of 23 percent compared to its metal counterpart.
Ultramid Structure A3WG12 LFX are long glass fibre-reinforced polyamides with a special property profile: Besides outstanding mechanical characteristics at high temperatures, the material shows a low tendency to creep as well as reduced shrinkage and warpage. These properties make the innovative spin-on concept possible. Because of the long glass fibres and the resulting changed fibre orientation, a dimensionally stable part is formed. During the injection-moulding process, the glass fibres form a three-dimensional network in the part leading to a very good surface quality.
Christian Janeba, senior key account manager in BASF’s Performance Materials division said, “Hengst presented to us the idea of developing a resource-saving alternative to metal housings showing the same performance. We supported the development process constructively with material development and a comprehensive engineering package, focusing on sustainability at all times.”
Michael Bohm from Hengst said, “The development took a lot of time, but the result is highly convincing. All partners were not only eager to find an innovative technical component, but also a sustainable solution for the automotive industry and car drivers. Innumerable tests and trials to which BASF contributed its comprehensive know-how in plastics finally led to a positive outcome.”
In 2018, Blue.on was awarded the Innovation Prize of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.