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SolidWorks / TriMech
3D CAD Software Enhances Communication in Design of Solar-Powered Compactor
Trash Compactor Reportedly Cuts Public Garbage Collection Emissions Up To 80 Percent
SolidWorks software was instrumental in the design of an innovative product. BigBelly® Solar, a developer of trash compaction systems that save money and reduce the environmental impact of waste management, recently used SolidWorks® 3D CAD software to design what it claims is the world's first solar-powered, cordless trash compaction system. Currently deployed in over 35 cities and towns across the United States and in 15 countries around the world, the BigBelly® Solar trash compactor uses only the sun's energy to compact and store five times more garbage than receptacles of the same size. BigBelly Solar, headquartered in Needham, Mass., standardized on SolidWorks software to optimize the unit's design and accelerate development to meet customer demand.
"Escalating steel prices forced us to rethink our approach to early development models," said Jeff Satwicz, product manager for BigBelly Solar, in a prepared statement. "SolidWorks' sheet metal features, along with simple load analyses in COSMOSXpressTM, enabled us to re-design the machine with 30 percent fewer steel parts. That not only cut costs for a young startup company, but also jibed with our eco-friendly philosophy."
The BigBelly trash compactor is used in busy areas, like shopping districts, food courts, and entertainment venues, as well as in remote places, such as parks and beaches. Standing 50 inches tall and weighing 300 pounds, BigBelly employs up to 1250 pounds of force to compact trash periodically until the unit is full. By requiring less-frequent emptying, BigBelly is said to reduce the fuel costs and carbon emissions resulting from garbage truck trips. The unit stores energy even on cloudy days, and can operate for a full day with the equivalent energy required to toast a slice of bread. It can also operate for eight years on the equivalent energy required to drive a garbage truck one mile, the company says.
SolidWorks software is said to have had a key role in enhancing the communication among designers at BigBelly Solar, its manufacturing partner, and its suppliers. Most of BigBelly Solar's suppliers use SolidWorks, and they use the eDrawings® e-mail-enabled, design communication tool to share design concepts. The eDrawings design communication tool allows users to send and receive 3D models or 2D drawings of product designs that recipients can view, rotate, and study as if they had a physical prototype in front of them.
"It's important to have everyone speaking the same language," said Satwicz. "That helps us look at the big picture as well as the details."
BigBelly Solar recently unveiled recycling units that connect to BigBelly or can stand alone, for customers who want to extend their environmentally friendly waste solutions. Designed in SolidWorks, the BigBelly Recycling Unit looks similar to the BigBelly, but offers an insertion hole for cans and bottles, mixed paper, or both.
"The 'green' movement's success is measured in increments," said SolidWorks CEO, Jeff Ray. "BigBelly is a great example of innovation in the face of a global problem. Its rapid adoption across the U.S. and in foreign countries demonstrates that we can find ways to reduce our impact on the environment--in this case, one BigBelly at a time."
BigBelly Solar relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller CADD Edge for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
For more information, visit www.solidworks.com.
SolidWorks and eDrawings are registered trademarks, and COSMOSXpress is a trademark of SolidWorks Corporation. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners.
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