Moving tests to the virtual world
For this reason, there is an important area called “simulation and calculation” in FUCHS’ research and development department. However, using simulation calculations to find out the conditions and wear that a lubricant experiences in a given application is just the first step for experts in this field. If the simulation of mechanical parts succeeds – and existing, highly specialized expert tools make this possible – then it stands to reason that lubricants can also be integrated into the calculation model in order to be able to predict the behavior of the entire system. “In the end, our goal is to make the product development process faster and more efficient by moving at least part of the experiments and tests to the virtual world of simulations,” explains Christine Fuchs.
The perfect simulation is a virtual copy that behaves exactly like the real system. However, in the case of lubricants with the behavior described, this kind of “digital twin” is difficult to achieve, as the head of the simulation and calculation department explains: “In reality, there are always also chemical aspects to add to the mechan-ical and physical, e.g. surface effects.” As a result, he and his colleagues are already wrestling with the next big challenge – combining chemical and mechanical simulation. If the merger of these two worlds is achieved one day, it will be possible to shorten the development process again.