Applying fuel-cell technology intelligently to deliver clean power is the mission of Intelligent Energy Limited. The U.K.-based global power technology company is a pioneer in the commercial application of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and partners with leading manufacturers to commercialize the development of fuel-cell applications.
According to Principal Engineer–Mechanical Engineering Matthew Lennard, Intelligent Energy has maintained a strong mechanical systems development team—to collaborate with partners on adapting fuel-cell stacks for use in mechanical designs—since its founding in the late 1990s. “We’ve relied on SOLIDWORKS mechanical design and FEA (finite element analysis) tools since the beginning,” Lennard says. “As fuel-cell applications have grown, we’ve sought to duplicate our mechanical engineering performance on the electrical systems side of our development effort.”
Intelligent Energy chose SOLIDWORKS® Electrical 3D® electrical design software to streamline electrical systems development by moving from 2D schematics to a 3D integrated electrical design solution. By using SOLIDWORKS Electrical to integrate electrical and mechanical design, the company can standardize component placement and automate the routing of wiring within the 3D mechanical design. Instead of addressing electrical system requirements as the last step in the process, their electrical and mechanical engineers can collaborate more freely, integrate electrical systems more efficiently, and respond to emerging packaging challenges more readily.
“SOLIDWORKS Electrical is helping us to improve our processes and automate key steps,” Senior Electrical Design Engineer Paul Gesmantel stresses. “It’s quite easy to place sensors, actuators, and transducers, and interface cables to the physical components. Then, we can hit the magic button that does all the wiring. SOLIDWORKS Electrical is truly a keen bit of software.”
Intelligent Energy uses other integrated SOLIDWORKS solutions to realize productivity gains. The company used SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis software to study and refine air intake manifolds for a fuel-cell powered motorcycle; leveraged SOLIDWORKS Plastics injection-molding simulation and analysis tools to eliminate voids and stress lines around clip mechanisms in its consumer electronics products; and utilized SOLIDWORKS Composer software to facilitate manufacturing knowledge transfer to a partner when different languages created a communications barrier.
“Although we started with SOLIDWORKS as our main mechanical design package, we’ve found that by implementing additional integrated SOLIDWORKS solutions, we can overcome development challenges more efficiently—whether they involve design, performance, manufacturing, or communications issues,” Lennard says.
To learn how you can integrate your electrical systems with 3D design, click the below banner and watch the 22-minute recorded webinar.