Succes Stories

Latest Success Stories

The nationally and internationally recognised Austrian Competence Centre for Tribology (AC²T) is one of the world’s largest independent, privately organised, non-profit research service providers in the field of tribology – the system-oriented science of friction – and offers holistic tribological knowledge and attractive financial framework conditions for the cooperative processing of fundamental research questions to industrial clients all over the world.

AC2T research GmbH, as the supporting organisation of the COMET K2 Centre InTribology, is funded within the framework of the research funding programme „COMET – Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies“ by the BMK, the BMDW, and the federal states of Lower Austria and Vorarlberg. The COMET research funding programme is administered by the FFG.

Without DLC, the engine will pay the fee!

Even for extremely wear-resistant DLC coatings (diamond like carbon), there are critical conditions of use.

Sustainability by optimal material selection

The appropriate rail-laying strategy paves way for a longer lifetime of rails and wheels.

Hidden info uncovered for machinery health

A data mining approach that correlates chemical data of lubricants with machinery performance in terms of lifetime and efficiency.

A «Machine Learning» algorithm for the detection of abnormal operating behaviour

Assessment of friction-induced acoustic emission enables diagnosis of operating condition of sliding elements.

Archive

2020

Measurement of friction between the eyelid and the ocular surface and evaluation of the effectiveness of innovative eye drops.

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Trendsetting wear protection systems enable an enormously increase of efficiency in the manufacturing industry.

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R&D engine for the development of new engine components with optimized friction and wear

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Deep insights into tribochemical processes through simulations with reactive molecular dynamics.

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2019

Lifetime prognosis models cannot be set up for practical usage, since field testing up to lubricant failure is not feasible for economic and safety reasons. for service life prediction of the grease, lubricating greases are evaluated in the AC²T laboratory.

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Voestalpine is operating a new production plant since 2016 for directreduction in corpus christi (usa). the strategic cooperation between voestalpine and ac²t in the field of plant technology enables the transfer of knowledge concerning design of plant and machine components with minimum wear, with a clear goal of sustainable cost savings.

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“Reinforced” plastics of the future lead to a sharp increase in stress of machine components. a new laser coating process protects the steel surfaces, precisely where it is really necessary.

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Properties of wear-effected components under extreme conditions are scarcely documented. the material properties can be realistically determined from a virtual model scratch test, thanks to a newly developed simulation method.

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2018

Lubricants degrade in service. That affects lubrication performance. Component tests often pay insufficient attention to this effect, since used lubricants with adequate reproducibility are not available in sufficient quantity and in a reasonable time. This leads to a component and system design that does not take into account the influence of oil ageing. The large scale artificial alteration device developed by AC²T is a fast, environmentally friendly and economical method for producing defined “used” oils for experimental and development purposes. This enables a comprehensive life assessment of the entire lubricated system.

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Conventional lubricants like greases, oils and solid lubricants exhibit application limits at high temperature and in vacuum. In order to overcome these restrictions, a novel lubrication design has been developed. The needed lubrication comes out of solid components of the material, to reduce and control friction without the use of a liquid lubricant. These novel self-lubricating materials show high application potential in various fields.

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Steel ropes are used in various fields of applications (cranes, cable cars, mining or subsea cable winches). A variety of influences are affecting steel ropes (e. g., temperature, salt water, number/size of pulleys). In order to increase service life or safety (e. g., for passenger cable cars), their influence must be determined.
Selected influences on the service life of steel ropes (lubricant type and coatings, salt water) were specifically quantified and evaluated by means of a modular laboratory setup for characterizing the “steel rope lubricant” system.

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Cylindrical food cans made of decorative cardboard represent a functional and ecologically sensible form of packaging, and at the same time give the product an individual and visually appealing look. To connect the packaging base and wall, the tubular wall is crimped in a forming tool and glued to the base. The geometric contour of the forming tool was optimized in a combined experimental and numerical approach in terms of extended tool life and increased product quality.

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2017

Wear is a crucial factor for determining the service life of agricultural implements. Together with its project partners, AC²T is searching for the optimal material for the proverbial “use in the field”. For this purpose, wear tests in the laboratory and computer simulations were combined in order to enable a service life prediction for real operating conditions. With this Lab-2-Field environment the development process for wear-resistant tools/components can be significantly accelerated. New materials and their behaviour in real operation can be quickly evaluated and optimised by coupling a laboratory test with a wear simulation.

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The demanding and competitive environment in the steel industry requires conveyor belt systems to provide 100% reliability and availability under extreme conditions. Commonly used belt lengths vary from several meters to sometimes a few kilometers. Maintaining conveyor systems which are constantly under high load is obviously a significant cost factor. Therefore the goal of this interdisciplinary research project was to increase the service life of the relevant materials and to ensure their proper function for its duration. After identifying the relevant wear mechanisms in real application, they were simulated via a suitable test setup under lab-conditions. Subsequently an evaluation of commercially available belt patterns and prototype belt compositions lead to the development of a new belt type with a 25% increase in service life.

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In order to strengthen Austria as a production site the local industry needs to reach and maintain technological leadership in in their respective fields. In addition to high product quality, economical production facilities are necessary for a competitive product. This can only be achieved by innovations which make use of alternative materials and novel manufacturing processes, in order to save resources and reduce costs during production.

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2016

Also lubricants play a critical part in safe and efficient operation of steelworks. To ensure smooth operation, lubricants must withstand the most adverse conditions, such as extreme temperature changes, aggressive atmospheres, or large quantities of steam and dust. By selecting suitable lubricants, operating times can be extended many times over.

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The demand, e.g. higher speeds and axes loads, requires a faster development of rail track materials. The current period for rail materials from conception to use in field lasts up to 10 years. AC²T set up a development environment from simulation – over model tests – to prototype verification in lab-scale with a novel test rig for investigating early-damage performance. These research work is done in close collaboration with one of the project partners, who is running fullscale tests.

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The measurement of size and number of small wear particles in lubricants is useful for identifying wear mechanisms and early recognition of any damage or failure of industrial machinery. With the novel measurement method it is possible to detect very small metallic particles in not transparent oil and precisely determine their size in order to predict imminent threats to industrial facilities.

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The quest of AC²T and leading automobile parts suppliers for a porous journal bearing system for the automotive industry that is not only long-lived and reliable, but also extremely quiet even at the lowest operating temperatures, was crowned with success. The smart combination of modelling, laboratory experiments, measurement technology, and analysis led to the market launch of a novel lubricant that allows windshield wipers and power window lifts to operate without that dreadful cold squeaking noise, even well below freezing.

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2015

For the operation of large facilities, oil lubrication is usually necessary. In the case of a re-oiling procedure special care is needed because an alternative oil having nominally identical properties can be still inadequate for the specific field of application. The procedures developed at AC²T are based on laboratory methods for the evaluation of alternative oils. These methods are adapted to the operating conditions in the field or to specific mechanisms of oil degradation, respectively. For the comparison with the oil to be replaced, various methods of artificial alteration are especially applied. Evaluation methods adapted to the application allow a clear differentiation of oils as one step towards safe change of the oil type in use.

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The development of cost-efficient wear protection techniques such as hardfacings and overlays for abrasion, corrosion, and thermomechanical protection, based on laser technolog allows increasing the lifetime of critical components. A state of the art 8 kW direct-diode laser allows the processing of sophisticated hardfacings with novel microstructures. This laser offers the possibility to apply a high end surface processing technology. The laser equipment is particularly suited for industrial sampling and prototyping in order to optimise process parameters and develop taylor-made hardfacings while simultaneously achieving high deposition rates.

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The open pores at the surface of a sintered component can act as a reservoir for the lubricant, which often provide sufficient lubrication for several thousand hours of operation. Within this research project metal injection moulding (MIM), a near net shape manufacturing technology, was used for the development of Cu-based bearings. This method combines the designfreedom of the plastic injection moulding with the variety of production routes of powder metallurgy. Near net shape components with complex geometries can be produced in large numbers at much lower costs compared to conventional routes via casting and hot forming.

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Detailed insights into interfaces at an atomistic level are of fundamental interest for a better comprehension of tribological processes, like wear, which is still not fully understood due to its huge complexity. Density-functional theory (DFT) calculations in turn allow for a quantum mechanical description of interfaces and therefore here they are used to ab-initio investigate interfacial properties on the nanoscale such as the adhesion and material transfer, respectively.

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2014

Tubing wear in oil production is a strong issue when the coupling of the sucker rod gets in direct oscillation contact with the tubing. The aim of this work is to characterise and furthermore to compare the tribological mechanisms and the corrosion attack of different steels in contact with the coupling of the sucker rod under variation of their heat treatment procedure. An increase in lifetime of the tubing steels in addition with the gain of fundamental expertise on this topic will be a benefit for both, the industrial partners and for the science of “tribocorrosion” at the centre.

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Potential applications of the AE method in tribology are extraordinarily versatile. This project provides a comprehensive investigation of tribosystems including the classification of single AE events up to a frequency of a few MHz. For this purpose, leading edge methods of data analysis such as Multiresolution Analysis (MRA) are applied. Thus, an intelligent, adaptive noise filtering has been successfully accomplished as well as the detection of single events in highly noisy signals, which is not possible using commercial available AE software.

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Multiresolution analysis (MRA) is a mathematical method which enables at various levels of resolution– by using the discrete wavelet transform – decorrelation of topographical surface data into form, waviness and roughness. By applying MRA and correlating the behaviour of a given diesel fuel with the pattern structure of the worn surface resulting from similarly performed tribological experiments, a new numerical tool was developed permitting the identification of lubricants by their fingerprints.

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Modifications of the lubricant dynamics and the materials and coating properties of tribological systems through surface treatments using laser ablation represents an interesting alternative in order to decrease the friction and improve the wear properties of tribological systems. The investigations for lubricated friction contacts have shown that the surface textures consisting of ripples combined with the use of an anti-friction-coating provided the lowest coefficient of friction.

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2013

Online oil condition monitoring is gaining more and more in importance. The continuous monitoring of the oil condition as well as the plant condition that can be specifically derived from oil condition significantly contributes to the safe and reliable operation of lubricated machines. It is indispensable to adapt the measuring methods of the sensors and the interpretation of the sensor signals to the intended application. Therefore, substantial work is needed comprising expertise in oil chemistry, application conditions and the response characteristics of the sensors. Such a sensor system was successfully realised for ester containing hydraulic fluids. The algorithm developed for this application provides reliable values for oil acidification based on online sensor signals for viscosity, relative permittivity and electrical conductivity.

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Tubing wear in oil production is a strong issue when the coupling gets in direct oscillation contact with the tubing (Figure 1). In addition to the mechanical wear, corrosion demands play an important task within the operation of the crude oil pumps. The aim of this work is to characterise and furthermore to compare the tribological mechanisms and the corrosion attack of different steels under variation of their heat treatment procedure. An increase in lifetime of the tubing steels in addition with the gain of fundamental expertise on this topic will benefit for both the partners and for the science of “tribocorrosion” at AC²T.

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Improvements in materials science and surface engineering ensured arthroplasty applications to be a convenient solution for people who have various problems related to knee and hip joints. However recent reports reveal complications long before the expected life-span. Major issues are pointed out to the compatibility problems of the biomaterial with the actual body parts or to the contact problems in the artificial joints. The solution of the aforementioned problems require deeper knowledge about high loaded biomechanical systems in the human body, natural functions of the tissues and advanced bio-medical investigations in the field of tribology. In order to avoid necessity of implants and enhance the performance of long-term biomedical implants, this project aims to develop mechanical models (devices) for simulation of the in situ occurring forces and friction behaviour in joints and modulations/modifications thereof.

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For the simulation of large deformations, of contact mechanical demands, and of several other complex phenomena in tribology, particle methods are often more useful than the usual approach with Finite Element Methods (FEM). The smoothed particle methods are one of these particle methods, which describe a continuum, and hence can be utilized for simulation of liquids, as well as solids and the wear phenomena in tribology. This method is already in use in many research areas. AC²T works on its recognition in the field of tribology.

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2012

(GER only)

Schmierstoffe unterliegen in der Anwendung chemischen und physikalischen Veränderungen, die bis zum Versagen des geschmierten Systems führen können. Die Kenntnis des Ölzustands („Gesundheitszustand“) ist ein wichtiger Beitrag zum verlässlichen Betrieb einer Anlage. Dazu werden Ölproben in regelmäßigen Abständen in Schmierstofflabors auf wichtige Kenndaten analysiert – allerdings ohne genauere Kenntnis der Vorgänge im Schmierstoff. Die Massenspektrometrie (MS) hat sich hier als Methode der Wahl herauskristallisiert, da Restgehalte an Additiven sowie Bildung von Alterungsprodukten eindeutig qualitativ und quantitativ bestimmt werden können. Die MS wurde erfolgreich auf die Identifizierung von Alterungsprodukten neuartiger Schmierstoffe angewandt und gab so unerlässlichen Input für anwendungsspezifische Formulierungen.

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Durch Umformen hergestellte Innengewinde kommen in vielen Bereichen wie Haushaltsgeräte („Weiße Ware“), der Elektronik und als wichtigstes Einsatzgebiet in der Automobilindustrie, zum Einsatz. Durch die große Zahl an Anwendungsgebieten und die hohe technische Relevanz bietet eine Effizienzsteigerung beim Gewindeformen ein hohes Einsparungspotenzial. Die Vorteile dieses Verfahrens sind die spanlose Bearbeitung, die hohe Wirtschaftlichkeit und Prozesssicherheit, sowie die durch die eingebrachte Kaltverfestigung gesteigerte Auszugsfestigkeit der Gewinde. Im Zuge der Forschungstätigkeiten wurden auf Basis einer Tribosystemanalyse neuartige Beschichtungen und Schmierstoffe erforscht, die es ermöglichen die Taktzeit beim Gewindeformen zu steigern und simultan die Lebensdauer der Werkzeuge zu erhöhen. Die dabei gewonnen Erkenntnisse hinsichtlich Wechselwirkungen von Hartstoffschichten und Schmierstoffen, stellen dabei nicht nur einen wirtschaftlichen Vorteile für Unternehmenspartner dar, sondern bilden auch eine wichtige Wissensbasis für weitere Aktivitäten auf dem Gebiet der Umformtechnik.

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In der industriellen Fertigung von metallischen Werkstücken kommt der Oberflächenbehandlung große Bedeutung zu. Ein weit verbreitetes Verfahren ist das Schleifen von Oberflächen. Bei diesem Fertigungsverfahren treten oft unerwünschte Begleiterscheinungen auf, die eine maßgebliche Auswirkung auf die Qualität des Endproduktes haben. Zu diesen Erscheinungen zählen periodische, topographische Strukturen z.B. auf der Metalloberfläche, welche „Rattermarken“ oder auch Schleifmarken genannt werden. Diese sind mit freiem Auge zu sehen und konnten erstmals mittels optischer Sensoren sowohl als Rauheitsänderung als auch als wellige Höhenänderung nachgewiesen werden. Zur Identifikation wurde dabei eine eigene Filtermethode, basierend auf der Weiterentwicklung von Wavelets, eingesetzt. Die so
gewonnenen Erkenntnisse über die speziellen Oberflächeneffekte dienen zur Untersuchung der Ursachen von Rattermarken als auch als Ausgangsbasis für die Optimierung des Produktionsprozesses und somit zur Steigerung der Qualität der fertigen Produkte.

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Um die zeitliche Veränderung der Oberflächentopographie, die infolge von Verschleißerscheinungen im Kontakt zwischen zwei Reibpartnern auftreten kann, in ausreichend kleinen Schritten darzustellen, ist der Einsatz eines numerischen Verfahrens notwendig. Im Bereich der Mikro- und Makroskala werden heute am häufigsten Programme auf Basis von FEM (Finite Element Method) und BEM (Boundary Element Method) verwendet. Eine Kombination zwischen FEM und BEM
ermöglicht einen detaillierten und schnellen Einblick in die Kontaktzone von rauen Kontakten im 0m-Bereich. Im Rahmen der Forschungsarbeiten ist es gelungen, den Kontakt zwischen rauen Oberflächen und auch die zustande kommenden Verschleißerscheinungen mittels einer neu entwickelten Verknüpfung der FEM- und BEM-Methode zu simulieren, kontinuierlich darzustellen und auszuwerten. Die damit ermittelten Kenngrößen sind in für die Auslegung von Tribosystemkomponenten in der biomedizinischen Technik (z.B. künstliche Hüftgelenke) und der Automobilindustrie zur Anwendung gekommen.

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2011

(GER only)

In ölgeschmierten Anlagen ist die Kenntnis des aktuellen Ölzustands wesentlich, um auf den „Gesundheitszustand“ der Anlagen schließen zu können. Ölsensoren, die den Ölzustand laufend anzeigen, sind somit ein wesentlicher Beitrag zur Betriebszuverlässigkeit. Aus ökonomischen und ökologischen Gründen soll ein Ölwechsel dann und erst dann durchgeführt werden, wenn das Öl seine Aufgaben nicht mehr erfüllen kann. Im Rahmen der strategischen Forschung wurde ein Ölsensorsystem entwickelt, das neben üblichen Größen, wie Temperatur und Leitfähigkeit, auch die Ölkorrosivität messen kann. Dadurch ist es erstmals gelungen, die Ölkorrosivität bzw. Ölversäuerung auch abseits des Labors – direkt in der beetreffenden Anlage – zu erfassen. Die Anwendungsgebiete für dieses Ölsensorsystem sind breit und dort zu finden, wo die Ölversäuerung ein wichtiges Ölwechselkriterium darstellt, z.B. in stationären Biogasmotoren.

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Das Sinterbrechersystem im Hochofenbetrieb der Voestalpine Stahl Linz ist hohen Verschleißbeanspruchungen (Stöße, hohe Temperaturen) ausgesetzt. Werkstoffbasierende und designbezogene tribosystematische Optimierungen wurden erarbeitet und im Sinterbrechersystem implementiert.
Durch diese Maßnahmen konnte die Standzeit des Sinterbrechersystems der Vöstalpine Stahl versechsfacht werden. Die Instandhaltungskosten pro Jahr der optimierten Komponenten konnten dadurch um 80% gesenkt werden. Die Netto- Ersparnis der neuen Lösung beträgt 500.000 € / Jahr.

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Eisenbahnzüge müssen zuverlässig gebremst werden können. Angestrebt werden eine lange Lebensdauer der Bremssysteme und niedrige Wartungskosten. Im Hinblick auf Systemoptimierung wurden technisch etablierte Bremsmaterialien analysiert. Aus diesen Erkenntnissen heraus neu entwickelte Werkstoffe für Bremsbacken wurden an tribometrisch untersucht. Die Charakterisierung der eingesetzten Materialien vor beziehungsweise nach den Tests erfolgte einerseits durch klassische metallographische Methoden und andererseits durch spezielle oberflächenanalytische Verfahren. Aus dem Vergleich des tribologischen Verhaltens der verschiedenen Werkstoffpaarungen konnten die Materialien für die weitere Optimierung selektiert werden. Mathematische Modellierungen und Computersimulationen ermöglichten den Einflusses von definierten Materialkenngrößen sowie des Bremssystem-Designs nachzubilden.

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Eine große Herausforderung in der Simulation von tribologischen Prozessen besteht in deren Vielskaligkeit, d.h. tribologische Phänomene sind auf einer einzigen Längen- und Zeitskala nicht zu beschreiben und verstehen. Aus diesem Grund besteht weltweit in der Community das Bestreben, diese Skalen und die ihnen zugeordneten Simulationsmethoden zu verknüpfen.  Im Rahmen einer im April 2011 publizierten Arbeit ist es Forschern der Area 4 gelungen, moleküldynamische Simulationen von Mischreibungsprozessen (solche, bei denen der Schmierstoff die Reibpartner nur noch teilweise trennt und daher direkter Festkörperkontakt auftritt) mittels der „Smooth Particle Methode“ kontinuierlich darzustellen und auszuwerten.  Die dadurch zugänglich gemachten Kenngrößen erlauben den Ansatz eines neuen Reibgesetzes für Mischreibungs-systeme auf der Nanoskala.

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