How does computational material design support the maintenance business?

Blog post
Anssi Laukkanen

Can the lifetime of a material, material solution or product be assessed accurately and in a cost-efficient way while extending its ultimate lifetime? Widely used, traditional methods of doing this do not provide these benefits while having limited predictive capabilities. At VTT, we decided it was time to change this status quo.

We approached development of our solution by identifying the actual industrial, maintenance and product lifetime problems which needed solving. Then we set our sight on how clear and substantial benefits in saved time, lowered costs and accuracy of results could be provided. Lastly, we wanted to enable businesses to do things that they see as the most relevant. This is how VTT ProperTune® was born. 

A new approach to solving tomorrow’s challenges today 

VTT ProperTune® is a modelling tool set designed and built to tackle material related problems virtually in a simulation driven manner while answering lifetime and maintenance related questions. It is used to build physics based or data-driven models of critical material properties related to products, systems and their operations.  

Material research - the way it’s approached most commonly - still largely relies on lifetime models based on statistical analysis or large experimental datasets. This means it involves extensive testing and manual trial and error, generating avoidable costs and consuming time. 

VTT ProperTune® is a digital tool which is already ahead of the curve, making the traditional approach a thing of the past. It is built from the ground up to be flexible and can be adapted easily and extensively to serve various tasks. At the fastest, it delivers accurate results within just weeks and has greater predictive capabilities than currently used methods.  

Addressing industry challenges in much more detail 

VTT ProperTune® challenges the approach to developing detailed material lifecycle models and targets actual problems identified by customers. It uses modelling and simulation tools to assess the lifetime of a material, material solution or product.  

This allows for taking results into account in design processes, exploiting their full potential from both a technical and commercial perspective, but also optimising materials towards targeted use in products, a feature that is not available even in current ways of working. And the possibilities of a virtual environment also make results more accurate and obtainable faster and at a lower cost.  

Because the respective VTT service is already used by over 50 customers worldwide, VTT can assess how these benefits materialise in many areas essential to businesses. As a digital tool, VTT ProperTune®: 

  • Shortens R&D processes by a factor of 2-3 and reduces their cost by a factor of 2  
  • Provides performance increases typically falling between the range of 20-100% with identified cases where the number was over 300% 
  • Gives a return on investment (ROI) of 4-10 as a lower bound estimate 

The Holy Grail of material science 

VTT ProperTune® is well suited to not only develop and optimise currently used materials towards targeted use in specific products, but also discover new ones, effectively becoming the Holy Grail of material science. It allows for building digital twins of materials or products operating in specific environments or developing lifetime management systems. 

Furthermore, its cutting-edge possibilities make it ready to enter the world of AI-driven material development. Such a system can link to tools used directly in the field (be it IoT solutions or establishing digital twins) to allow for optimising the performance, capabilities and lifetime of materials or products. This can include business and sustainability targeting metrics. At the same time, it improves revenue and makes reaching for new sustainability goals easier. 

And all of these capabilities are already proven by results achieved with VTT ProperTune® by varied industrial clients. It has enhanced design processes for ArcelorMittal that allowed for making steel with performance improvements of 200-250%. Furthermore, it was also able to optimise performance of a protective coating solution by 40% for Caterpillar, and in another case, Wärtsilä boosted design processes and methods for extreme conditions 3-5-fold.  

VTT ProperTune® is ready to open up a realm of possibilities for your business. Contact us if you’re curious to see what can be done. 

VTT ProperTune® helps to design durable materials 

Watch the recording of the VTT ProperTune® webinar and learn more!

Mika Malkamäki
Mika Malkamäki
Solution Sales Lead, Knowledge-Driven Design
Our vision beyond 2030

Every phase of a product’s lifecycle from raw material to end product as a part of recycling needs to be understood as well as possible. In this way, we can save important natural resources, reduce emissions and create new markets.