Essential today in our product design, computer simulation is also necessary for improving manufacturing processes. The complete picture with André Colom, Simulation and Data Science Director at Ladoux (MICHELIN Research Center, France).
WHAT DOES COMPUTER SIMULATION MEAN?
Computer simulation uses a series of scientific calculations made by the computer and reproduces physical phenomena. The idea is to virtually assess and test product performances using scientific calculation software. In the tire world, that can be wear, grip, noise, cracks in the tread, etc. In parallel, simulation increasingly uses data from the field, what makes our simulation models perform better.
HOW IS IT USED AT MICHELIN?
We use simulation in two specific areas: the development of our tires, from a few dozen grams for bikes to several tons for mining and for everything that involves the manufacturing process. We can therefore simulate industrialization, different manufacturing procedures and product processing.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR THE GROUP?
Computer simulation is at the very heart of innovation. Simulation tools are present at every stage of our design process. Moreover, simulation is continuing to develop. It is moving from the expert design office to be even more integrated; it is a source of creativity and a catalyst for acceleration. It is becoming a key element to make the customer experience more fluid. By combining physics and data processing, we will be able to offer our customers high-performing predictions and advice. This will help us remain a key stakeholder on a market where newcomers are very aggressive.
LET’S START WITH PRODUCT SIMULATION...
Our simulation strategy includes everything that varies performance, from molecules to the finished tire and vehicle wear. We study all elements that contribute to performance. To do this, we use extremely varied expertise in chemistry, materials and every aspect of physics. Our tools incorporate models at several levels to recreate real performances and generate a virtual twin of the tire. Our teams of mathematicians, mechanics and chemists determine the right math and physics laws to incorporate into our models. We then have several levels of simulation that progressively lead us to models of tires for vehicles: bikes, cars, trucks, planes, etc. The simulation will help us understand how a new and a worn tire behaves and how accidental damage can affect performance. It is very useful in the logic of sustainability and it helps us increase the lifetime of our products safely and securely.