SolidWorks Customers Making A Difference

There are many challenges when introducing new technologies to developing countries, and the main one often isn’t cost or distribution—it’s adoption. Think about all the things that you do because your mother or father or another family member showed you how – like cooking those traditional meals you probably ate during the holidays.

You may have heard there were better or different ways to make those meals, but why change what you’ve always done? Women in developing countries often feel the same way – “why change the way I cook meals?” For some of them, the risk of not changing could be deadly.

According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, two million people per year are killed by toxic smoke from indoor stoves and fires, and half of those killed are children. In addition to the significant health concerns, there are also physical and monetary costs incurred due to the amount of fuel needed to sustain a fire. Families in developing countries spend an average of 35% of their annual income on wood or charcoal, and women often walk 10+ miles and spend 30+ hours per week collecting wood.

So why am I telling you all of this? Two SolidWorks customers, Catapult Design and BURN Design Lab, are making a difference by developing custom cookstoves.

Dura-New-Product-HP-4Catapult Design, a technology and design firm working with companies for social change, used SolidWorks with client EcoZoom to redesign a fuel-efficient cookstove. The EcoZoom cookstove was created to reduce indoor air pollution and to support a development strategy for moving away from fire as a heat source in countries where deforestation is a concern. In order to get over the adoption hurdle, Catapult’s design needed to address both efficiency and meet the level of quality and durability seen in retail stores those countries.

When we spoke with Heather Fleming, CEO and founder of Catapult, we learned that they used SolidWorks for drawing, rendering and 360-degree views of conceptual stages. “We couldn’t create such an intuitive, affordable product design without SolidWorks. The software enabled us to be both creative and efficient during the design process, and to develop documentation for manufacturing. We’re also able to easily communicate with our clients, who are often not engineers, to ensure that our designs live up to their vision.”


BURN Design Lab, a nonprofit corporation that creates customized biomass stove solutions, also relied on SolidWorks to design stoves for the developing world. BURN begins its manufacturing process by working with cooks in third world countries to determine the critical needs for their specific region – different levels of heat and cooking surfaces are required when preparing stew and soup, oatmeal or flat tortillas.

jikopoa1According to engineer Dylan Guelig, SolidWorks sheet metal tools and SolidWorks Flow Simulation played a critical role in designing and prototyping the stoves. The software allowed BURN to evaluate the heat transfer and analyze the fluid dynamics to address the user criteria – and help with adoption. After the cookstoves were field tested, BURN developed the necessary manufacturing equipment and processes to produce the stove in its designated country. “Thanks to the capabilities of SolidWorks, we’re able to create a factory in a box for local stove producers around the world,” said Guelig. “Now our tooling, equipment and production processes have converged with local training to ensure a standardized, high-quality stove for nations in need.”

Learn more about other SolidWorks customers making a difference:

Design that Matters:

Ocean Renewable Power Company:

Kristen Wilson

Kristen Wilson

Senior Manager Brand Offer Marketing, SolidWorks at Dassault Systemes
As the Senior Director of Communications, 3DEXPERIENCE Works, Kristen drives marketing strategy and oversees the team responsible for developing and executing multi-touch marketing plans across the Buyer's Journey, including 3DEXPERIENCE World.
Kristen Wilson
Kristen Wilson