SolidWorks plays key role in Cambridge Eco race effort


Cambridge Eco racing team exploit 3D design technology to optimise solar powered racer for World Solar Challenge.

3D design technology experts, Innova Systems, have announced their support for Cambridge Universities' Eco Racing Team. By providing support and training for SolidWorks, a leading 3D engineering design software, Innova Systems will be helping the engineering team behind a project to develop a faster and more reliable car in time for this years Eco race in Australia.

Every two years, teams from around the world compete in solar powered cars in a race that covers 3000Km through the outback. The World Solar Challenge attracts around 40 teams from universities, car manufacturers and individuals and this year will be held in October.

"We are excited to see SolidWorks playing such a major role in the development of this vehicle," said Mark Bradford, Managing Director of Innova. "The team behind its design are very passionate about what they are doing and they are clearly very capable engineering students, it's a real pleasure to be working with them on the mechanical design side."

The Cambridge University Eco Racing Team (CUER) has already built a prototype called 'Affinity', which was the first solar powered car to drive legally on UK roads. They are now working on 'Bethany', a solar powered car that will cruise at 60mph yet only use energy equivalent to that of a hair dryer. The entire CUER team involves approximately 70 college staff and students, with some members of the team working on important non-technical issues such as sponsorship, financial management and logistics. Current sponsors include ARM, HP and Cambridge Precision. The core design team involves 15 engineers, mainly 4th year engineering students.

"In terms of optimising the design ready for the race, we have been under a lot of pressure," said Anthony Law, Team Manager. "Using SolidWorks has been a great help. SolidWorks is easy for new members of the team to learn how to use. This is particularly important because of the need for an efficient handover to new team members as the more senior members complete their studies and are replaced from the year below. SolidWorks is a very capable and powerful software, and the support and guidance from Innova has always been responsive and informative. The aerodynamics and internal structure play critical roles and have been a major part of the development; SolidWorks has helped us test ideas and has enabled us to create rapid prototypes for wind tunnel testing. SolidWorks has also played an important role in helping us communicate our design ideas to the wider team, suppliers and sponsors."

The SolidWorks and Simulation software packages have been donated by their creator, ‘Dassault Systems SolidWorks Corporation’. Innova are one of their UK distributors and have agreed to provide SolidWorks technical support to the team and training when required. Innova have recently celebrated being the first company in the UK to have passed the full range of accreditation exams set by SolidWorks Corporation.

"It has always been important to us that we employ the very best engineers," said Mark Bradford, Managing Director of Innova Systems Ltd. "We work at the very leading edge of design technology, so we have to have a passionate and capable team. Passing these examinations means that we are now equipped to provide the most comprehensive SolidWorks training and support available in the UK, it also means that the CUER engineers will have access to the best in the business."

The CUER team was inspired by an engineering student returning from a placement at MIT in the US, where they had been developing a vehicle for World Solar Challenge. Now established, the hope is that the CUER team will race every two years and provide engineering students with a wealth of experience and knowledge that they can take into the wider world, helping to develop energy efficient vehicles and similar green technologies.

Innova will be presenting their SolidWorks technology at The Embedded Masterclass event in Cambridge, May 7th, a conference and exhibition for developers of hi-tech products.

About Innova Systems
Innova is the leading UK distributor of SolidWorks, an advanced 3D Mechanical CAD system that enables engineers to rapidly develop and refine ideas to create innovative products. By combining SolidWorks with Innova Systems’ expertise, training facilities and commitment to support customers, Innova is helping companies across the UK to significantly change and improve the way new products are created.

SolidWorks® is a registered trademark owned by the SolidWorks Corporation

Innova Systems Contact: Mark Bradford
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 200 690

About Cambridge University Eco Racing
Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) is a team developing a solar-powered car to compete in the World Solar Challenge 2009. Founded in 2007, CUER has already built a prototype vehicle Affinity, which was the first solar-powered car to drive legally on UK roads, following its launch in June 2008. They are now using this experience to create a racing car capable of taking on the world's most technologically advanced solar cars in the 'Formula One of environmentally-friendly motorsport'. By taking an uncompromising approach to vehicle efficiency and performance, the CUER team will produce a car capable of cruising at 60mph using the same power as a hairdryer.

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