VEXTEC Founders to Attend 2014 Southern Automotive Conference

VEXTEC is attending the Southern Automotive Conference Oct. 9 – 10, 2014

Oct. 6, 2014BRENTWOOD, Tenn.VEXTEC’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Robert Tryon and Chief Product Development Office, Dr. Animesh Dey, will be attending the 2014 Southern Automotive Conference, October 9 – 10 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Alabama

At the conference on Thursday Oct 9th at 2:15, a panel presentation will be hosted by ArcelorMittal and Kia on “The Innovation Imperative” to discuss a study that stressed the need to innovate close to the production lines to incorporate essential technologies faster. The Brookings Institute conducted a study in 2013 titled, “DRIVE! Moving Tennessee’s Automotive Sector Up the Value Chain” which discussed the need for the South to transform its automotive manufacturing base into an definitive “advanced industry.” One of the challenges identified in the study is insufficient private research & development (R&D) resources and shortage of collaborative technology development throughout the Southern auto supply chain. This panel will explore novel approaches to identifying technology needs and to improving the ability to innovate locally.

VEXTEC is a local company in Nashville, Tennessee that has received over $25 million in Federal R&D funding specifically for advancing the manufacturing production lines of durable goods. With this funding, they have developed methods known as Virtual Life Management® (VLM®), and obtained seven patents along the way. VEXTEC now provides services in the areas of production line reliability, risk assessment and durability prediction for manufacturing companies of structural, mechanical and electronic products. At the Southern Automotive Conference Dr. Tryon and Dr. Dey will be looking for manufacturers who could benefit from this technology. Both will be available after conference hours for detailed discussions.

TODAY’S WARRANTY CHALLENGE:

Building Brand Loyalty While Delivering Better Products

recall graphicAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year the auto industry recalled close to a third more vehicles in the U.S. (22 million) than it sold (just over 15 million). Recalls were up by a staggering 25 percent during 2013, which is the industry’s highest rate since 2004. It is no shock that these recalls can do immense harm to a manufacturer. In the automotive industry, an early response to an emerging issue can save a tremendous amount of money, and help preserve a business’s reputation.

Today’s manufacturing companies face a significant challenge as they work to balance the demands of the marketplace for better performing products against the need to bring new products to market faster, cheaper and with greater reliability all while improving the customers overall experience. In fact, in a recent article by Warranty Week, their data indicates warranty costs stabilized last year (for the first time in a decade) and questions if manufacturers are beginning to put more emphasis on the overall customer experience.

Since product failures stem directly from a combination of inferior product quality and how the product is used by the customer in the “real world,” manufacturers are faced with almost an impossible task. It is not feasible to physically test for the full range of customer experiences and usage scenarios. So, what is a manufacturer to do?

The answer is computational simulation. By improving modeling, simulation and utilizing computational testing of products before launch or at the first indication there may be a problem, manufacturers can help avoid expensive product recalls or get in front of a looming problem and deliver a better experience to their customer. That is where Virtual Life Management® (VLM) comes into play.  With VLM®, manufacturers can evaluate designs, material alternatives and the full statistical distribution of how the product could be used by the customer. VLM provides a more meaningful way of predicting customer experience and warranty expenses than traditional reliability projection methods alone while reducing physical testing requirements and cost.

An article published by WIRED Magazine discusses product recalls by US manufacturers and how computational simulation tools such as VEXTEC’s VLM helps companies overcome these challenges throughout a product’s life cycle. Over the past twelve years, VLM has simulated changes in design, material processing, and usage scenarios on over 100 successful projects for commercial and government clients. Using VLM, clients have resolved in-service reliability issues, and accelerated product development processes for a variety of fatigue and corrosion applications at substantially lower costs than traditional testing methods.

It is clear that today’s brands require a warranty solution that reduces costs and increases the customer’s lifetime value. VLM has the technology to deliver that solution.

Do you have a challenge that you would like to overcome or mitigate? If so, contact VEXTEC to see how VLM can help you.

Live Webcast of VEXTEC Presentation at ASME Advanced Design and Manufacturing Impact Forum

VEXTEC’s Vice President of Business Development, Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni is an invited speaker at the ASME Advanced Design and Manufacturing Impact Forum 2014, August 17-20, 2014 at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center in Buffalo, NY. He will be presenting a talk entitled “Medical Devices & Life Sciences: Innovative Medical Device Prototyping – 3D Printing and Biocompatibility”. The presentation is one of five talks at the conference that will we be webcast live.

Computational Process Flow

VLM Computational Process Flow

Dr. Kulkarni will be discussing additive manufacturing (AM) which is the process of taking a digital representation of a part or component and directly manufacturing the resulting product using a three-dimensional fabrication technique. AM is still in the nescient stages, and as with any new technology, it brings with it the burden of certification, especially in the safety conscious medical device community. While common alloys are being developed, they are considered a new “product form” and therefore require all of the scrutiny and qualification as a new material. The AM process contains many variables that can be varied and there are multiple machines that have very similar elements, but produce statistically significant variations of product.  As such, it is critical to define the optimal process and, once established, properly characterize the material system in all structural categories sufficient for analysis and establishment of margins. Traditional test and evaluation methods for material certification for high safety applications can take decades and cost millions of dollars.

VEXTEC has integrated computational material engineering (ICME) software called Virtual Life Management® (VLM®)that can be used to directly simulate AM products and provide rapid accept/reject criteria early in the design stage and enable robust design philosophies to be incorporated. The method significantly lowers unit costs of AM products by reducing the high barrier to entry caused by the current certification test requirements. Manufacturers will be able to determine if new, less costly AM processes (or vendors) will provide a reliable product. A computational material simulation software that offers the ability to complete most of the component validation process with limited testing, will create a change in material science much the way FEA changed structural design.

Program topics include Design, Advanced Manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing, Aerospace, Automotive, Life Sciences & Medical Devices, Computer Aided Engineering and Robotics.  The webcast is on Tuesday, August 19, 2:20 to 3:10 p.m. (EST) and access is complimentary to anyone (Link:https://www.asme.org/events/advanced-design-manufacturing…).

Tennessee’s Best Kept Secret

“Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret”-Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association

VEXTEC is a member of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association (TAMA)

Perhaps this was the goal of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in June when he returned from his economic development trip to Asia unwilling to share details with the public.  Soon after his departure, a flurry of news reports and blogs surfaced wanting to know why he would not share the details of his agenda with the public. His spokesman David Smith’s response was, “we don’t talk about private meetings.”  This left many to speculate if he was courting another automotive manufacturer to open up shop in the mid-state and what incentives and tax breaks were being offered to sweeten the deal.

This would not be too far off base considering the automotive industry in Tennessee has been increasing steadily each year and that Volkswagen recently announced further expansion of their production plant in Chattanooga. Even though the industry is growing at record rates there are real weaknesses which must be addressed in order to sustain the growth rate. The Brookings Institute conducted a study in 2013 titled, “DRIVE! Moving Tennessee’s Automotive Sector Up the Value Chain” and uncovered several challenges that that could stunt the growth of this life line to the state’s economy.  One of these three challenges identified in the study is insufficient private research & development (R&D) resources and shortage of collaborative technology development throughout the Tennessee auto supply chain.

It seems, however, there may be another “best kept secret” here in Tennessee and that is VEXTEC Corporation.  VEXTEC, founded in 2000 and operating in Brentwood, TN, is an engineering and design simulation company that specializes in providing predictive tools and computer aided engineering services in the areas of product reliability, risk assessment and durability prediction for manufacturing companies of structural, mechanical and electronic products.  While it could appear they are a secret in their home state, VEXTEC is well known in both federal and commercial engineering communities across the nation receiving over $25 million from the United States Department of Defense since 2000 and recognized in 2009 by Forbes magazine as “America’s Most Promising Company“.  In fact, they even have a history with Detroit and were profiled alongside Ford Motor Company in an issue of WIRED Magazine on the automotive industry titled, “Why Things Fail: From Tires to Helicopter Blades, Everything Breaks Eventually.

The next article in this four part series will expand on the WIRED article and how VEXTEC is using probabilistic models and simulation technology to improve warranty management, increase design, reliability within limited testing budget constraints   and decrease production downtime for the automotive industry.  In the meantime, if you are curious and would like more information on VEXTEC’s services and their successes in the automotive or other industries, visit vextec.com or click here request a call or more information.

VEXTEC Corporation is a member of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association (TAMA).

VEXTEC Presents At The Medical Device Innovation Consortium’s First Modeling and Simulation Summit

Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, VEXTEC Vice-President

Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, VEXTEC Vice-President

VEXTEC Vice-President Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni made a presentation at the Medical Device Innovation Consortium’s (MDIC) first modeling and simulation summit in Washington, D.C. The presentation was titled “Computational Modeling of Medical Devices Using Virtual Life Management.”  Dr. Kulkarni discussed two major challenges facing the medical device industry, which are:

• High cost and time of testing

• Risk of recall

He then showed how VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management software can be used to calculate the statistical distribution of the lifetime of medical devices. VEXTEC’s approach had been shown to reduce the amount of testing needed, which reduces cost and time to market. It also improves the accuracy of life calculations, which reduces the risk of recall, which is expensive and damaging to a company’s reputation.

The event was MDIC’s first public summit devoted entirely to advancing the use of computational modeling and simulation in the development and evaluation of medical devices.  The meeting featured panel sessions and podium presentations on combining experiment and simulation to inform clinical trials, creating data repositories to support the industry-wide use of M&S, and other relevant topics. The summit brought together people from the medical device and software industries, academia, and government regulators.  Session chairs included:

• Dawn Bardot: Senior Program Manager, Modeling and Simulation, MDIC

• Tina Morrison, Advisor of Computational Modeling, Office of Device Evaluation, FDA

• Kyle Myers, Director of the Division of Imaging and Applied Mathematics, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, FDA

• Randy Schiestl, Vice President, Global Technology, Boston Scientific Corporation

Starting this summer, MDIC will host a series of teleconferences to share success stories and discuss future applications of modeling and simulation in the development and regulation of medical devices. MDIC has also formed working groups to investigate six priority issues in the arena of modeling and simulation:

• Combining simulation and bench experiments to inform clinical trials.

• Creating a library of models and data to support the industry-wide use of modeling and simulation.

• Simulation of the heart, vasculature, and related medical devices.

• Modeling of magnetic resonance-induced heating.

• Modeling and simulation in orthopedics.

• Simulation of blood damage.

About MDIC:

The Medical Device Innovation Consortium (http://mdic.org/) is a public-private partnership to advance regulatory science in the medical device industry. The MDIC coordinates the development of methods, tools, and resources used in managing the total product life cycle of a medical device to improve patient access to cutting-edge medical technology.

NAVAIR Awards VEXTEC Contract to Determine the Effect of Complex Loads on Helicopter Gearboxes

Complex Mission Loading PlotJune 13, 2014 -Brentwood, TN — The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded a fourth contract to VEXTEC Corporation to help improve helicopter durability. Gearbox durability is an important part of helicopter safety and reliability. VEXTEC is working with the Navy on a helicopter tail gear box (TGB). The particular component under investigation is the shaft, which is part of the transmission system that transfers torque to the tail rotor. The tail rotor counters the torque of the main rotor, and is essential for the pilot to control the aircraft. Fracture of the shaft will disrupt power to the tail rotor. During extreme operational conditions, fatigue cracks can initiate and grow in the shaft. The Navy has undertaken steps to determine the root cause of this cracking.

Once this has been determined, appropriate design changes will be made. The overall purpose of the program is to determine the crack growth rate of very small cracks propagating in the shafts under relevant operating conditions, and the expected spline durability once cracks initiate.

The program will provide essential data for fracture analysis. Specimens fabricated from an actual TGB shaft will be tested at representative mission flight loads to develop reliable crack propagation rate and stress intensity factor curves. The stress intensity factors determine what state of stress is sufficient to actively propagate a crack and how many cycles the shaft can survive before failure. Both of these quantities are strongly influenced by the actual fabrication process.

The Navy has been testing for the fatigue failure mode on the shafts under combined torsion and bending loads to isolate the failure cause and develop design improvements. VEXTEC is conducting additional fatigue crack growth tests on specimens cut from the shafts under variable mission loading conditions. The specimens are an arc sector of shafts that have been used in operation and have the geometry, residual stresses and surface condition of actual shafts. Traditional crack growth specimens are of simple rectangular geometry with machined large cracks. A test fixture has been designed and built to replicate the loading of the actual shaft in operation.

A major contributor to component durability is the mission load sequence that the component experiences in operation. In traditional crack growth testing, data is taken at constant amplitude load and the variable amplitude effects are not determined. The objective of this program is to determine the influence of mission overloads, offloads and sequence on the component material crack growth rate as well as the threshold loading for the crack to grow and the critical loading to cause fracture. This information is critically important since it determines the effect of operational loading on the shaft durability. Successful completion of this effort will provide reliable data to complement the fracture analysis.

About VEXTEC:

VEXTEC (http://vextec.com) was founded in 2000 and has developed its patented technology on virtual material modeling and predicting product durability. VEXTEC offers its Virtual Life Management (VLM) services to a variety of commercial and government customers.

Contact:

VEXTEC Corporation

Ashley C. Clark

Marketing Manager

(615) 372-0299 (ext. 233)

aclark@vextec.com

VEXTEC Article Published in February Issue of Gear Solutions Magazine

VEXTEC article featured in February issue of Gear Solutions magazine

VEXTEC article featured in February issue of Gear Solutions magazine

Feb. 17, 2014 – Brentwood, Tenn. – The February issue of Gear Solutions Magazine features an article  from VEXTEC entitled “Using Integrated Computational Material Science to Create Virtual Simulations of Gear Fatigue Life.” The team of authors included Ganapathi Krishnan, Richard Holmes, Robert Tryon and Ed Pope of VEXTEC along with Richard Warns of Chrysler and Vikas Tomar of Purdue University. Former Purdue University Aeronautical Engineering Head Thomas Farris (Now Dean of Rutgers School of Engineering) and his graduate students also contributed. Portions of the article describe work that was funded by the U.S. Naval Air Command.  The program paired VEXTEC’s probabilistic modeling capability (called Virtual Life Management or VLM) with Purdue’s CAPRI software, which models local surface stresses near contact points. Chrysler provided an extensive amount of test data of 9310 case hardened sun gears that were subjected to many demanding cycles on a dynamometer. Although designed to industry standards, about 4% of tested gears showed pitting damage.  VEXTEC’s simulations also showed that 4% of gears would suffer pitting damage. The Navy was interested in using the VLM approach to analyze helicopter gears, which were made of Pyrowear 53. Notched, three-point bend data from technical reports were used to calibrate the model. Analysis was then performed on baseline gears, and those which had been superfinished to a very smooth surface.  Virtual Life Management showed that superfinishing more than doubled gear life. The goal of the program was to develop a model that could quickly evaluate changes in design, material or processing. This was accomplished with probabilistic models that simulated the actual failure process. The benefits of this approach include (1) Reduced physical testing, (2) Accelerated research and development plus reduced time to market, and (3) Reduced warranty costs due to increased accuracy of life calculations. This approach can be used on all kinds of components, not just gears. To date it has been used in the aerospace, automotive, defense, electronics and medical device industries. Click here to View the Full Article in Gear Solutions Magazine.