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Falex Application Center for Tribology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FACT (Falex Application Center for Tribology)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2018-10-31

Falex is addressing the industrial need for competitiveness and development of new products and technologies with reduced environmental footprint via Data Driven Decisions based on statistically sound material durability (wear) data, enabled at unmatched cost and delivery speed.

Automotive, aerospace, ceramics processing industry, medical implants and oil & gas, are the most promising sectors willing to embrace and pay for Falex’s innovative services. These industry sectors need to know in advance product reliability in the field to secure passengers and missions’ safety (aerospace) or improve patients’ quality of life (biomedical implants). Industry should decrease the release to the environment of hazardous particles (air, sea, human body) and heavy polluting lubricants (marine or environment), due to extensive wear of used materials. The selection of the ideal wear resistant materials or lubricants for new advanced products will enable industry to achieve this goal.

In order to stay competitive in worldwide markets, to grow their businesses and human workforce, the European industry needs to continuously innovate and bring into the market improved advanced and innovative products faster than before. This objective would be achieved by FACT (Falex Application Tribology Center) innovative services that combine:
a) Providing Data Driven Decisions to industry thanks to development of an intelligent and growing database of materials’ wear performance (MDB), populated by Falex’s experimental wear data enriched with literature data, for specific applications and problems studied; and
b) The development and use of new multi-station tribometers (MST) for wear testing, that disrupt current market by being radically more efficient, with regard to testing time and cost.
We have developed the concept of FACT(ory): the combination of new multi-station tribometers (MST) infrastructure with data management to digitize Data Driven Decisions to customers. Only such a ‘factory’ approach will allow the necessary cost reduction, the quality of data and the delivery speed that industry needs.

Technical and commercial feasibility study findings revealed that:
-Wear test data are the main commercial output of the FACTory, emphasis lies on producing, collecting and formatting data for further processing, analysis and visualization in reports;
-Optimum MST should have 10-stations for testing, instead of current 50-stations;
-Coefficient of friction data could be recorded;
-Human resources (data scientists) needed for executing the FACT project and then to support Falex’s operations, have been identified;
-Falex’s personnel studied the big data principles, became familiar with the terminology and available technologies for further advancing with the MDB construction;
-Key subcontractors have been identified to assist Falex with the MST and MDB manufacturing;
-Marketing and communication channels have been further considered for effective commercialization of FACT innovative services, which is foreseen sooner than initially planned. Falex activities, currently offered in BENELUX and France, would expand in Europe after only
one year of operations (2022) and further in Eastern Europe, Russia and Middle East after 2 years of operation (2023).

Dissemination actions of the FACT innovative services included:
- Presentation of FACT at the 18th Nordic Symposium on Tribology, NORDTRIB 2018, held in 18-21 June 2018, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
- Presentation of FACT idea and capabilities to key customer contacts that provided specimens to be tested by MST and/or letters of intent for FACT innovative services:
o Wing slat coating (BE)
o Shock Absorbers (BE)
o Ceramic coated printer rolls (NL)
o Implant materials (USA)
o Off shore mooring system materials (IT)
As it has been documented in the feasibility study, services with the combined approach of Data Driven Decisions and sustainable wear lab testing are not available in Europe or worldwide, supporting the innovative nature of the FACT project.

The expected impact from the successful implementation of FACT services will be superior industrial, aerospace, automotive, oil & gas and medical products that last longer, consume less energy, increase structure safety and reduce operation failure risks. In this way the European Industry would become more competitive, secure its sustainability, growth and employee’s positions.

The impact for the environment and the society will be:
- Preservation of critical natural resources;
- Reduction of the environmental footprint of products and processes;
- Mitigation of environmental pollution from hazardous wear particles released in the atmosphere or from lubricants in the marine environment; and
- Improve patient’s life by increasing daily comfort and eliminate the need for harmful re-operations by developing orthopedic and dental implants that last longer and do not wear resulting in inflammatory debris in the human body.
FACT concept and role in the tribology environment