From cars to airplanes and everything in between, the engineering that powers our lives requires a lot of rubber, whether for tires or parts we can’t see. But rubber parts will only last so long, and companies need to establish exactly how long that is. And in Ohio, rubber capital of the country, Findlay startup Endurica is pioneering the virtual process of determining fatigue life, saving companies time and money.
“Our customers are developing products with a durability requirement,” said Founder and President William Mars. “Typically, these are companies who have had to build a prototype and then break it in a test to satisfy those requirements. But that’s very expensive. So what our company does is give people a way to do that virtually, which is faster and cheaper. The value we add is that we can get through all the iterations that don’t work and get it right the first time.”
The difference between completing expensive and time-consuming real-world tests versus multiple simulated tests is huge for Endurica’s partners. With the company’s process, they can blow customers’ away at the amount of time and effort that can be saved.
“We build a virtual model of your part and then say, ‘These are the loads that go into the part X, Y, Z and this is how the part is supported,’” Mars said. “You get a schedule of loads and then our tools can tell you how many repeats of that schedule the part could endure. Our tools can tell you which loads are the most damaging so you can mitigate that. And our tools are fast; people can get through testing in a week or two. I think a lot of people don’t even know that you can simulate durability — they think of that as too computationally challenging, but it’s not.”
They may be rubber experts, but at the heart of Endurica is its impressive tech. Now, with more than a decade of innovation behind them, the company is breaking new ground, able to simulate more than ever before.
“The code today is lightyears ahead of what it was 14 years ago,” Mars said. “Our code is the first to be able to basically process road load data, which was previously computationally beyond what anybody could do. We have a tool called EIE that can solve half a million time steps in just a few minutes. Another new application we’re working on is called Ozone Attack, which lets people simulate the cracking that develops on the lettering and the sidewalls of tires or any molded rubber product. I’m a rubber nerd; I grew up in the rubber industry and I’m fascinated by it. So I get all fired up about the science behind rubber, and it’s deeply satisfying to create tools that make everyday products better, stronger and cheaper.”
Not every project has a tangible impact on the world around it. But for Mars, the work Endurica does to empower their partners can be seen all around him.
“I always tell my kids, ‘Look at all the rubber parts out there — in 10 years, they’re going to be failing a lot less because people are using our stuff,’” he said. “That means a competitive advantage for our users and being in control of durability issues, which ties into all sorts of things, like the warranty on your car. When a manufacturer gives you a warranty of 100,000 miles on a car, that rests on the foundation that everybody who makes a part is going to satisfy some durability requirements. We’re making it easier for people to do that, and that’s a real competitive advantage.”
And for a project with such massive impact, Endurica’s Findlay home is perfect. Not only is it in the ideal location within the rubber and manufacturing space, it’s also providing the company the high-level employees it needs to advance its groundbreaking work.
“I always tell people that we’re located halfway between Akron, the rubber city, and Detroit, the motor city; this is exactly where a capability like this should be,” Mars said. “Ohio is the rubber and polymer center in the United States, and our proximity to the automotive industry has really given us interesting problems to work on and to solve. Findlay has a very strong software development culture, too. It’s been amazing to find the caliber and the quality of help that we’ve found right here in Findlay.”