Quality Magazine

SolidWorks Launches Program to Raise Awareness of Sustainable Design

November 5, 2009

CONCORD, MA - Dassault Systèmes (DS) SolidWorks Corp. has launched a donation program to promote environmental sustainability among designers of products as simple as water bottles and as complex as industrial machinery.

SolidWorks will donate $1 for every download of its SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress solution, up to $10,000, to Formula Hybrid, an international competition of university engineering students to develop high-performance fuel-electric hybrid vehicles. SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress software provides advanced functionality that aides engineers in determining a product’s carbon footprint, energy consumption, air and water impact. By downloading SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress, engineers and designers will help educate the next generation about environmentally friendly design while gaining a tool to help them create green designs today. SolidWorks’ goal with this new program is to spread the idea that any product can be designed with the lowest possible environmental impact.

“Environmentally sound principles apply to every product, not just those we automatically think of as ‘green,’ like wind turbines and solar cells,” says Rick Chin, SolidWorks director of product innovation. “A water bottle can be designed around environmental principles if the engineer considers the material they use, how much of it they use, how and where it’s manufactured, and what happens when the bottle isn’t useful anymore. Is it made of injection-molded plastic? Or formed aluminium? Those are the kind of basic decisions that any product designer can make to reduce the environmental impact of their designs, given the right tools and the right mindset.”

SolidWorks’ donation will help offset the cost of Formula Hybrid’s annual May competition, where students from North America, Europe and Asia test their designs for speed and fuel economy in a professional-style race. Last year’s winning team, from Texas A&M University, used SolidWorks to design its vehicle. Formula Hybrid Deputy Director Wynne Washburn says, “Putting sustainability tools like this into the hands of engineers/designers at the earliest stages of the design process is innovative, forward thinking, and vitally important for the future of all product and process design.

“SustainabilityXpress will aid in student’s decision making process regarding sustainability and life-cycle of any one component and/or material that is used in building their plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles for the Formula Hybrid Competition. This product gets students thinking, from the very beginning of the process, about where their resources are coming from,” Washburn says. “If they know a certain material is created through a process that’s not environmentally sustainable while an alternative material is sustainable, they can decide to use the sustainable material. Today, issues of sustainability are critical; this tool sheds light into an area where, previously, there has been very little information.”

For more information, visit www.solidworks.com.