KOBE, Japan — Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. (SRI) has been given access to what has been described as the world's "most powerful computer" in order to develop tire materials for future mobility.
SRI said it will be using the new "exascale" Fugaku supercomputer at the Riken Center for Computational Science in Kobe to expand its materials-simulation capabilities at the smallest particle level, to support the development of "long-lasting" tires.
The Riken Center started development on the Fugaku — named after an alternative name for Mount Fuji — in 2014 as the successor to the K computer.
Sumitomo Rubber previously used the Riken Center's K-supercomputer to launch its 4D nano design process, which it claims helped improve the performance of the tire maker's Falken-brand tire range.
The new computer, according to SRI, has "up to 100 times the application performance of its predecessor, and is capable of performing approximately 442 quadrillion calculations per second."
For SRI, one key application of the Fugaku supercomputer will be to advance tire-performance sustaining technology (PST), which the tire maker said prevents the decline in tire performance that occurs over time due to wear and tear, allowing tires to maintain "like-new performance" for longer.
The supercomputer will help simulate the molecular behavior of rubber more accurately during tire usage, so that chemical changes in the tire can be controlled.
"As we look to the near future, the role of tires will change," Bernd Löwenhaupt, managing director, Sumitomo Rubber Europe, said.
Tires will need a longer lifespan to support the new autonomous and connected mobility trends, he said.
"Fugaku provides a crucial tool for us to deliver those attributes and continue to be a leader in advanced rubber technology," he said.