CLEVELAND—Will Mars' company, Endurica L.L.C., is changing how rubber product owners track and protect the health of their assets with its Digital Twin applications.
Where most of the simulations that are run on the development side of the business, asset owners can use the Digital Twin to do calculations to predict a product's durability, he said at the International Elastomer Conference, held recently in Cleveland.
The application works similar to a Fitbit, as it takes measurements and does simple calculations to give him an idea of its health, said Mars, founder and president of Endurica.
"If you own an offshore platform that has this complicated structure and rubber bearings and so on, those are expensive platforms," Mars said. "You want a way to be able to monitor the health of your structure and be able to do maintenance not just periodically because we said so, but on the basis of what kind of actual damage the structure has gone through."
In Mars' example, in a year like 2017 when a hurricane comes through and puts the structure under heavy stress, "Now you want to ask the question, 'How much life is left in my structure?'"
A Digital Twin would use load recordings from around the structure to feed data into a simulation to understand how those stresses affected the product, he said.
"The simulation becomes a way to manage assets in the field in an operational way," Mars said. "The idea of a Digital Twin is that a physical asset has a digital copy that gets updated based on sensor readings and simulations."
Working with rubber products sometimes can provide a challenge in embedding sensors to create a smarter product, as opposed to metal products that are more rigid, Mars said. For a product like a tire, the load sensor could be on the axle.
"So you know the load that's going into the tire because you're measuring it from the axle. But what you really want to know is the damage that's happening inside the tire where you can't put a sensor," said Mars. "Well, then you run a simulation."