FINDLAY, Ohio—When, precisely, will a rubber bushing crack? How will the boot on a CV joint fail, and where on the boot will the fracture occur? How large will the crack become over time? What are the road conditions that could cause such fatigue?
These are questions that now can be answered thanks to software developed and updated by Endurica L.L.C., a six-employee company in Findlay that is making a difference in the bottom line for suppliers of OEM products in the transportation, defense, medical technology and offshore industries.
"It is going to change how suppliers develop rubber parts for the automotive sector, and it's going to change how they compete for business from OEMs," said Will Mars, founder and president of Endurica. "Instead of leaving proving ground tests until the very end of a development program, suppliers will be able to show OEMs how their part endures under actual loads during the initial proposal stage of a prospective program.
"It really is a game-changer if there ever was one."
While Endurica produces the patented CL, DT and EIE software dedicated to making precise end-of-life part predictions that can "get durability right the first time," as the company's motto states, it is the speed with which the 2020 EIE software now functions that can save a customer time and money, Mars said.
With improved full-load prediction times for fatigue failure for a particular elastomer product now possible in a single workday, a customer can now troubleshoot fatigue performance on the front end, not before "design and break" occurs.
And this can save tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a supplier, as fatigue testing can be one of the most exhaustive parts of the development process, Mars said.
"What is new is the improvement in how long it takes to compute the durability prediction," he said. "Although we demonstrated feasibility several years ago, it still was not practical to get the job done fast enough for analyzing full load histories recorded from a test track. But we've been working hard at it, and we have now achieved speeds that make this very doable in a single workday."
According to Mars, many times suppliers are forced to begin with general assumptions about the loads that will be forced on a particular part, and they attempt to refine that model to ensure that it matches predictions—sometimes using only a theoretical model, and sometimes based on a previous version of a part.
"We can do it completely virtually, although sometimes there is a real part," Mars said. "Before this, people had to guess and there were a lot of what-ifs. This lets suppliers see a part's durability for an OEM use without an actual part."
Because many times the engineering package that is issued to a supplier by an OEM for a particular elastomeric part contains only the largest load recordings, it "ignores a whole bunch of stuff that should not be ignored," Mars said.
"It's a low resolution way of doing things," he said. "There are all sorts of new things in the (EIE) code. Sometimes people have no part, and they can't test it. They just kind of look for the file that has the largest load, and this misses huge chunks of information. It's fine if every car is like the next one, but now with EV cars coming on the market, this is a big change and experience doesn't help as much. You need accurate predictions."
The new 2020 software releases provide licensed users with updates to all of Endurica's software products (CL, DT, and EIE). Besides the execution speed enhancements from EIE, estimated at 10,000 times faster than finite element analysis, the DT and CL platforms offer new analysis and visualization capabilities, according to Endurica.
The Endurica Viewer now is provided with the Endurica CL license, providing a graphical, interactive visualization of analysis results. Endurica CL also features new tools for dealing with lengthy load signals, including a tool that removes "non-damaging load history segments from further analysis," and a new binary file format that reduces file size and read time.
The Endurica DT solver now features new damage extrapolation abilities, calculating the number of repeats of the "entire schedule," or full range of stresses and motions, that can be endured by a part, according to Endurica.