Having spent some time working at a local battery company started from Carnegie Mellon, I saw firsthand as a SOLIDWORKS user how companies in the energy sector utilize the software. It would be very narrow-minded to exclude the totality of this industry. There are many products in the SOLIDWORKS portfolio, if leveraged properly, that can be powerful for those in the industry, from oil/gas, hydroelectric power generation, hydrogen power and many more. During my time at the battery company, I utilized the SOLIDWORKS mechanical design suite of products including the basics with sketching, product and assembly design to the more advanced capabilities and SOLIDWORKS validation products. In this blog, I go through a very high-level overview of the tools most likely to be used by a designer in this field.
SOLIDWORKS Tools Ideal for the Energy Industry
While working at an energy company based in Pittsburgh, PA, I was responsible for a few things including the mechanical design of the casing for the battery cells, finding plastics vendors that could ensure that the battery case would last a certain period of time and also involved in manufacturing, ensuring that the battery could be built timely, with ease, and have a consistent output. As SOLIDWORKS is now a vast product, there is a benefit for having almost the entirety of the product portfolio from mechanical to electrical, from design to assembly instructions and SOLIDWORKS ever-growing line of validation tools at your disposal. For those in other areas of the energy industry, there can be large benefits from other SOLIDWORKS products.
SOLIDWORKS Plastics is embedded within the SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. It will help you evaluate form, fit and function. It allows you to review your parts early in the design process to avoid manufacturing defects and reduce the number of design versions that need to be created. SOLIDWORKS Plastics is also available in Professional and Premium versions.
This image shows SOLIDWORKS Plastics ensuring that the design is moldable. With Plastics, users can check for sink marks, weld lines, shrinkage, warpage and help reduce costly mold rework. SOLIDWORKS Plastics is one of the three main validation tools in the SOLIDWORKS portfolio.
>> Click here to download the SOLIDWORKS Plastics Product Matrix
SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation
SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation allows users to simulate laminar and turbulent flow fields, along with internal and external flow that for distribution of oil/gas can be highly beneficial in determining the proper layout of skids and other plant layouts. Another use for SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation is thermal analysis, performed to calculate temperatures and heat transfer within and between multiple components in a model. In the picture below, a thermal analysis was completed via SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, allowing users to understand how heat, over a period of time, may degrade the life of the design. Flow Simulation capabilities don’t stop with transient thermal analysis, but users can also understand clearly the distribution of gas in pipes as well.
In the oil/gas industry, there are several SOLIDWORKS tools that will benefit your design experience. Routing, which is included in SOLIDWORKS Premium, allows users to run pipe, electrical wire, tubing and other standard profiles along a path and immediately have an up-to-date bill of materials (BOMs) and reports. The process is largely automated and producing piping drawings with detailed BOMs (including pipe lengths), is a simple process. In the picture below, a wide view of a manufacturing center using SOLIDWORKS routing and weldments can be seen, SOLIDWORKS can help in the creation of full plant layouts and walk-through paths.>> Click here to watch our Video Tech Tip, Three Routing Tips in Less Than Three Minutes
Other SOLIDWORKS Products Useful for the Energy Sector
The SOLIDWORKS tools mentioned above are the ones I believe to be used most frequently by designers and engineers in the industry. However, there are other SOLIDWORKS products available for different uses within the energy sector:
- Process and plant design: SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, SOLIDWORKS Manage, SOLIDWORKS Electrical Professional
- Oil and gas production: SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Composer
- Alternative energy: SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D
If you're just starting to get familiar with any of these SOLIDWORKS products, we invite you to watch our on-demand webinar series, Get to Know SOLIDWORKS. Choose as many webinars as you'd like to watch below.