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University spin-out uses Qdot to develop propulsion solutions

Posted on 12 Nov 2021 and read 609 times
University spin-out uses Qdot to develop propulsion solutionsQdot Technology, an Oxford University spin-out is using PTC’s latest design software to help it develop new propulsion solutions for use in future electric aircraft. The company has chosen to use Onshape, a cloud-native product design solution, to help it with the design and prototyping of new products for use in its high-performance cooling technologies that help to take the heat out of batteries.

The start-up required product design software and the subscription model for this particular solution appealed as it enabled the company to only pay for the number of seats it needed. Importantly, the fact PTC uses the power of the cloud to run the software meant that all engineers had access to the latest designs and could make live alterations — perfect for internal collaboration and, as commercialisation moves closer, for working with other members of the supply chain.

Qdot’s Dr Holt Wong said: “The aviation industry is projected to account for over 22% of all transport CO2 emissions by 2050, so the race is now on to balance sector growth and climate targets. The electrification of flight has a vital role to play here, so the sooner we can get our thermal management technology onto the runway, the sooner the whole sector can start embracing greener travel.”

He continued: “Onshape has been a key feature in helping us accelerate the commercialisation of our technology. Any of our engineers can access the latest version of the design. They can open it, manipulate it and make edits.

“Then they can share those changes with the team and another engineer can review the modification, provide input and approvals. It is a team effort, but we do not all have to be sitting in the same room — a revelation during the Covid-19 lockdown with everyone working from home.”

Onshape is already performing several important tasks at Qdot Technology, with product design files regularly shared with manufacturing partners who use them to create parts and components for prototypes.

They are now being used internally by engineers to create heat exchangers for electric aircraft that are prototyped using an additive manufacturing process called binder jet printing, an area where accurate detailed files will be vital to securing the right results.

Mr Wong added: “Onshape’s release management capabilities should also prove a big benefit as we get closer to commercialisation, as they guide users through the process of finalising files for their release to manufacture.

“When you are just doing concept development and working on potential designs, release management is not so important. However, when you are close to getting things made for you, you want to be 100% certain that what you have got in a particular version is exactly what you intend to have made.”

PTC, which helps industrial customers solve key business challenges through a combination of AR, IIoT, product lifecycle management and CAD solutions, has recently worked with research firm Isurus to launch the State of Product Development and Hardware Design 2021 survey.

The report surveyed nearly 800 industrial professionals and covered the capabilities gap, data management challenges, the impact of the pandemic and how we manage the growing generation gap.

The full report can be downloaded here.