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Development of an innovative and cost-efficient friction and wear reduction solution (TriboGlide)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TriboGlide (Development of an innovative and cost-efficient friction and wear reduction solution (TriboGlide))

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2016-11-30

More than 30% of the energy in a combustion engine is lost due to friction. This has important implications in the automotive industry, where fuel efficiency is becoming a pressing issue due to present and incoming emission regulations. In 2009, a total of 208,000 million litres of fuel was burned in cars to overcome friction. Introducing technological solutions could save 117,000 million litres/year in fuel consumption after 5-10 years of enhanced action. This will result in decreasing CO2 emissions by 290 million tonnes/year and financial savings of €174,000 million/year.
Traditional oil lubricants present serious environmental problems, since they produce harmful combustion gasses when exposed to the hot environment of the engine. Contaminant additives have been thus reduced, with the associated performance issues.
Solid lubricants (MoS2 and WS2) are becoming extensively used as an alternative. However, the state of the art technologies for coating application present several drawbacks, such as poor surface attachment, complicated procedures (high costs) and low control of layer growth.
At ANS we have developed an innovative solution for friction and wear reduction that offers 80% of boundary friction reduction at a competitive cost (competing technologies 80-100% more expensive): Triboconditioning®. It® is a mechanochemical surface treatment method that can be implemented as a superfinishing operation using standard machines. The result is a smooth surface covered with a low friction tribofilm that reduces friction and wear of the component.
The commercialization of Triboconditioning responds to major technological demands of the automotive market. It will allow for downsizing and start-stop technologies without durability issues, thus contributing to fuel economy. Boosting the automotive industry has direct social effects. Only in Europe, the automotive sector is responsible for 11.6 million jobs and is the largest private contributor to R&D.
In TriboGlide we intend to take Triboconditioning to TRL 9 by developing on-going customer relationships to carry out the final technology verification. The Triboconditioning® technology will be available on a license basis to component manufacturers and system builders. This will enable a network of Tier 1 and OEM customer base that will favour a low entry barrier for our product and a short time to market. We will develop three main applications for our innovative technology: Big Bores, Small Bores and Shafts.
The Phase 1 TriboGlide Feasibility Study (FS) includes the following tasks:
1. Market Analysis: Data review on size and future potential of the Nanotechnology and Automotive Markets, the main focus of the TriboGlide project. Review of the main drivers (regulations), barriers (competitive markets), and technological requirements (fuel economy) and how the Triboconditioning technology relates to them.
2. Freedom-to-operate and regulations: Study to determine potentially interfering patents with the Triboconditioning process, looking for patented tribilogical processes. Analysis of the production standards that affect Triboconditioning related to the automotive industry and chemical products. Evaluation of the regulations that drive the automotive sector regarding CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency.
3. Importance and potential for applications: Definition of four main applications of immediate interest for ANS: Big Bores, Small Bores, Shafts and Gears. Evaluation of the stage of development for each of them, projects in motion with Tier 1s and OEMs, time to market and transferability of the results to other markets.
4. Risks: Technical (testing procedures), commercial (competition and users) and regulatory (fuel economy) risks of the TriboGlide project. Assessment of probability and impact and definition of mitigation risks.
5. Scope of Work: Elaboration of a detailed Work Plan for the implementation of TriboGlide during a period of 2 years with the aim of having it ready for commercialization in 2019. It includes resource allocation for the final steps of Technology Verification (tooling design optimization, component testing with OEMs and Tier 1 companies) as well as the industrialization of the process for the future production planning and establishment of the supply chain at commercial level.
6. Implementation Readiness: Elaboration of a Technology Readiness Level matrix that includes the activities carried out and license agreements reached by ANS since 2007 in the development of Triboconditioning. The activities needed to reach TRL 9 are also stated.
7, Partnerships: This part of the FS contains information regarding our Supply Chain as well as relationships with end-users (Tier 1s and OEMs). We have evaluated the need to involve a partner in the project.
8. Business Plan: Proposition of a license based Business Model based on the currently adopted by ANS. Financial projections for the 2019-2021 commercialization period based on two main revenue streams.
The Triboconditioning technology developed in the TriboGlide project goes beyond the state of the art in the Tribology industry by combining mechanical and chemical processes. It is therefore a mechanochemical process that provides excellent results in friction and wear. Applying force on a tool reduces the roughness of the treated surface plateaus by reducing peaks and valleys. At the same time, a chemical reaction creates a tribolayer where the solid lubricant (MoS2 or WS2) chemistry is incorporated in a nano-composite tribofilm. What makes Triboconditioning different from other solid lubricant application technologies is that the resulting coating is chemically bonded to the surface, instead of just attached to it. The result is a very resistant coating that reduces wear and boundary friction by up to 80%.
Furthermore, Triboconditioning is a quite simple method that can be implemented in existing honing and part manufacturing machines. This reduces significantly the number of production steps in the part manufacturing and treatment processes with the associated cost reduction (50% or less of the cost of performance comparable technologies).
Triboconditioning responds directly to the technological demands of the automotive industry, contributing enormously to fuel reduction. Fuel reduction is now the main focus of regulations seeking to reduce CO2 emissions. Implementing Triboconditioning will thus boost the automotive industry by improving performance. The health of the automotive industry is always a major driver of good economy.
Furthermore, implementing Triboconditioning will have a direct impact on the environment: it will enable the integration of fuel economy technologies that allow for very low CO2 emissions, as required by incoming regulations (Euro VII).