The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., has announced that it has developed a new technology for tyre design that involves the application of informatics to the development of rubber materials used in tires and the design of the shape of tyres. The most notable feature of the new design is that it uses AI (machine learning) to conduct information and knowledge searches. This is expected to significantly increase the speed and precision of the development process of new high-performance tires.
In the past, Yokohama Rubber has used applied simulation technologies as part of its development of rubber materials and tyre shape design. For instance, in 2005, Yokohama came up with a highly precise multi-scale simulation technology and a multi-performance map for displaying numerous optimum designs in a map-like configuration. In 2015, it came up with a simulation technology for multi-objective design exploration of rubber materials. This allowed Yokohama to create models of a huge number of virtual rubber material morphologies.
The new technology takes these technologies one step further and uses AI (machine learning) to conduct information and knowledge searches previously performed by technicians. This significantly reduces the time needed to run such searches. Using AI translates into a more objective and quantitative analysis of the factors that are involved in tyre design with a balanced array of performance attributes that are suitable for various product categories.
For example, when working on the development of a tyre that needed to deliver outstanding performance with regard to two criteria that normally work against each other, like fuel efficiency and rolling resistance, Yokohama Rubber used the new technology as part of the rubber material design process (materials informatics) to determine the optimal range of values for the size of the compound filler and the thickness of the bound rubber layer formed on the filler surface. The technology was also used to design tyre shapes by generating the optimal size for the radius of the curvature of the tire’s cross-section.
The new technology also makes it possible to pull in data from a vast design space that far exceeds the scope of previous studies. This will make it possible for Yokohama’s research team to get new design factors that lead to new breakthroughs. They will also be able to conduct more indepth analysis of the mechanisms important to each design factor, and this will help them to come up with new development approaches based on those mechanisms.
Data science, AI, and other informatics techniques have played an increasingly important role in the development of products and technologies in recent years. Yokohama Rubber will make extensive use of these advanced technologies to develop products that meet user needs and to promote the development of innovative products that deliver new value.
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