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Qdot Technology has designs on electric aircraft opportunity

22 November 2021

An Oxford University spin-out is tapping into the power of PTC’s latest design software to help it develop new propulsion solutions for use in future electric aircraft.

Qdot Technology 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 had to find a way to equip its people with product design technology and the subscription model for this solution made it easy for the company to only pay for the number of seats it needed.

Importantly, the fact PTC utilises 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 commented: “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’s a team effort, but we don’t all have to be sitting in the same room – a godsend during the Covid-19 lockdown and 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.

Holt Wong went on to add: “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’re just doing concept development and working on potential designs, release management is not so important. However, when you’re close to getting things made for you, you want to be 100% certain that what you’ve 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 Augmented Reality, Industrial IoT, 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 took the pulse of 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.

To read the full results, please download the report HERE.

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