FVA Software and Service’s expert team of mechanical engineers and software developers enables its customers to develop and implement individual transmission models, complex calculations, and programming tasks.

Designing and creating gears can often be a complex task involving mountains of data and mathematical equations.

It can be a daunting, but necessary, endeavor that some manufacturers might struggle with from time to time.

The experts of FVA Software and Service are available to ease that struggle and ensure the proper scientific methods are being implemented, supplying software, the FVA-Workbench, and support that aids customers in designing and simulating gears before they’re physically made.

“We guide them in all the functionalities and theories, which are available to rate a gear,” said Norbert Haefke, managing director of FVA. “In our software, the FVA-Workbench, we use advanced simulation, as well as new and older proven research results to shrink the size of the gear, to increase the power density, to increase the lifetime, as well as the sustainability of their gear. We are getting more and more detailed in the modeling and get more and more detailed information from the customer. We are digging deep with our customer.”

Wind turbine gearboxes with calculation results for shaft, bearing and gearing. (Courtesy: FVA)

No job is too complex

FVA is capable of assisting its customers on multiple levels. Basically, no job is too complex for FVA’s staff, according to Haefke. On a basic level, FVA can help with customers who have trouble handling software, whether that be with installation, documentation, or more.

“If they are doing gear design, they often have questions on how to model a gear in a very complex construction,” he said. “They have to ask if the boundary conditions are correct. It could be that the results are, say, realistic, so they want to know how to model their real gear to the software so that the virtual behavior is the same in the physical world.”

But FVA’s advanced technical support allows the company to take a deep dive into the subject to ensure that its customers are succeeding in their gear requirements.

“The next level — and that is very deep — is we are going down to formulas, to theories, to factors, to support our customers and to explain what the base of these calculations are and where they come from,” Haefke said. “Most of our simulation functionalities are based on research work, which were done in the research association ‘Forschungsvereinigung Antriebstechnik e.V. (FVA).’ With many of our software components, we have huge amounts of documentation where the basics are documents and formulas from various well-known universities. We support our customers to show them where the results come from, why the theories are described in that way, and what the effects are. That’s our main business. All we are implementing is a result of research work.”

The FVA-Workbench is a professional simulation platform for transmission systems. (Courtesy: FVA)

Years of research available

FVA essentially provides software that includes the formulas and everything else that would allow further research into gear creation, according to Haefke.

What FVA brings to the table is a collaboration of decades of research and expertise that was developed at the best research institutions in Germany. The result is a massive library of research, which guides FVA’s customers to their final product, according to Haefke.

“Sometimes our customers have simple questions, and we enable them to get sophisticated ratings and thus, an optimized gear result,” he said. “But generally, our customers are very educated experts, and in some cases, they want to go very deep into the  theoretical framework. And they discuss formulas with us or even the physical test methods where the formulas come from. And if we discover that some approach is not proven itself sufficiently, we will start research projects within the research association FVA.”

In a nutshell, FVA goes that extra mile so its customers don’t have to, according to Haefke.

Modeled shaft using FVA-Workbench. (Courtesy: FVA)

Simplifying the complex

“Our motto is that we bring theory to reality,” he said. “In the research work, we have an uncountable amount of theory, but for the daily use, you need a tool that’s very handy, that’s easy to use, that’s very efficient to do ratings and to document your results and to derive your construction from the results. That’s our job: to involve all these complex theories in an easy-to-use tool for daily practice. And we support the use of all this content, which is a part of our software, with training from our special network. That’s an additional service we offer.”

For example, FVA knows many people who are experts in drivetrain design, according to Haefke. And they will offer training for FVA’s customers in order to share their knowledge and educate the younger technicians who are still growing within the industry.

Pressure distribution on the tooth flank using FVA-Workbench. (Courtesy: FVA)

2004 beginnings

FVA’s foray into software and service assistance began in 2004 when many developments were being done at different universities, according to Haefke.

“They did software coding and developed algorithms for drive-train simulations. But they were all separated,” he said.

This means that a lot of tools were incompatible with a huge lack of usability. Haefke said that he discovered the concept that would bring all these disparate scientific principles and experts together into one central platform, which eventually became the simulation software FVA-Workbench.

“The template is so we have a common and centralized usability strategy,” he said. “We have a centralized model; we have centralized components and attributes, and this is all standardized within the FVA-Workbench as a platform. And, therefore, all the research people are developing small parts, which enhance our overall simulation capabilities.”

Wind-turbine gearbox with FE-modeled housing and planet carrier. (Courtesy: FVA)

FVA-Workbench spinoff

As the concept grew, it branched off into what is now FVA Software and Services in 2010, according to Haefke.

“We changed the mindset of the industry, because in former times, a lot of the members of this association had access to these separated results from research work, and they weren’t paying  anything,” he said. “And then, after we established our business model, they joined us; they support us, and they see that what we do is very valuable to their businesses. And I think that was
the major breakthrough to get this success we have today, because we had huge support from the German community, who were willing to finance us, and who is willing to use our services and software.”

From that development, FVA launched a software training department, as well as a consulting department.

And Haefke expects FVA’s services to be just as important as the gear industry continues into the future, as the company maintains its steady growth.

“We have very sophisticated software solutions,” he said. “It’s very unique in the world. Not only in functionality and usability, but also with its vast scientific background where 50 universities in Germany are pushing our development to implement and deliver new results every year. It’s a very powerful ecosystem with a very powerful software department research community in which industry customers are working together. We drive our innovation by ourselves.” 

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