Whether developing a product from scratch or troubleshooting an existing design, computational simulation is a vital tool in the engineer’s armoury. At Crux, our in-house experts work with industry-leading Abaqus software. Ever driving to extend our technical competence, we increasingly push beyond traditional FEA methods to solve new and challenging problems. Backed up by validation in our laboratory, we tackle briefs in areas as diverse as fabric behaviour, acoustic impact analysis, fluid-structural interaction, crack propagation and more.
One recent development at Crux allows for the modelling of abrasive and adhesive wear. Examples of wear are widespread, occurring not only in mechanical machinery. The wear of trainer soles, efficacy of tooth brushing and scuffing of printed text in medical dose counters can all cause headaches for engineers.
Computational simulation can help overcome these challenges. By visualising wear damage through FEA, designs can be optimised before tool steel has been cut. The simulation shown below demonstrates adhesive wear of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products on the assembly line. Wear in this situation manifests itself as damage to the applied labels or unattractive scratches on the container itself, both detrimental to on-shelf appearance.
In the study shown, six drinks bottles transition from a conveyer belt to a feedworm, before travelling around two star wheels. The system is modelled using an explicit solver in ‘real time’, yielding accurate representation of the physics involved. Material properties derived through laboratory testing provide realistic plastic deformation, damage evolution and strain rate dependency.
Wear is calculated using the Archard equation, an established model for wear prediction based on the fundamental physics of sliding interaction. The Archard equation defines a proportional relationship between the rate of wear and the contact pressure and sliding speed.
New applications of computational simulation
The assembly line simulation that forms the basis of this article serves as a great example of FEA made possible only with the latest cutting-edge technology. The ability to solve complex problems with dynamic contact, extreme deformation and unorthodox material behaviours is allowing us to answer increasingly challenging questions through simulation. Huge cost savings and reduced development time results.
At Crux we will continue to push ourselves in this area, and whilst we still love getting our hands dirty in the workshop, simulation increasingly allows us to reduce development time and design better products. If you have an engineering problem which we could help with, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch via the contact page.