Digital prototyping to cut costs for solar panel manufacturer

1st February 2013

Viridian Solar, a manufacturer of solar water heating and solar photovoltaic products, is using 3D design and engineering software from Autodesk develop leading edge renewable energy solutions to help customers meet government energy efficiency targets.
This follows Viridian Solar’s recent decision to join the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program which provides software for emerging clean tech companies in North America, Europe, Japan and Singapore. Joining the program has prompted Viridian Solar to standardise on Autodesk CAD software throughout the organisation. This has helped streamline the product development workflow, internal processes and collaboration across extended project teams, including partners and customers.
In addition, the ability to access high-quality software for a nominal fee has been invaluable, particularly for a small start-up like Viridian Solar, in freeing up expert resource to focus on other core aspects of its business. It has also given the manufacturer the opportunity to run more seats of design software than before at a lower overall cost. This has additionally allowed the company to deliver a better customer service and more easily meet peaks and troughs in demand.
Since joining the program, Viridian Solar has expanded its use of AutoCAD LT professional drafting software from Autodesk to create scaled pictures of its solar panels and to allow its customers to share with it DWG and PDF format drawings of their buildings. The software then enables Viridian Solar to analyse the drawings and to collaborate with their customers to decide on the right renewable energy package to meet their requirements.
Joining the program has also enabled Viridian Solar to leverage the benefits of Digital Prototyping. It now has several seats of the 3D mechanical design software solution installed within its R&D department.

“All of our new products are now designed in 3D in Inventor,” says Stuart Elmes, CEO, Viridian Solar. “Our engineers use individual part drawings which can then be made, prototyped, tested and launched as a production product.
“Our technical sales advisors can then use Inventor to help import a 3D model of the entire product into our customers’ drawings to assist them with roof layout. This has streamlined that process by enabling us to standardise on a single package,” he adds.
“Another key benefit of the software is ease of use,” continues Elmes. “Existing designers and engineers within our product development team, in particular, say that the software contains a lot of features that aid productivity and make processes simpler and easier to complete.”
Erwin Burth, business development manager for Clean Tech at Autodesk, says: “the aim of the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program is to support early-stage clean technology companies by providing design and engineering software that accelerates their development of solutions to the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Our rapidly expanding partner base is testament to the appeal of our offering to these companies.”

Burth continues: “Viridian Solar is a great example of a company that is using Digital Prototyping to help drive the construction industry’s transition to environmentally sustainable renewable energy solutions and to deliver genuine innovation in its field of solar water heating and solar photovoltaic products.”
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