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SolidWorks used for JetBlack World Land Speed record attempt

Supplier: Solidtec Solutions
15 December, 2011

During the recent Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand, another kiwi team unveiled its plan to take on and dominate the world.

The team from Jetblack, led by kiwi entrepreneur Richard Nowland, have plans to make an attempt on the World Land Speed record by 2016.  Nowland and his team unveiled a model prototype of the vehicle 'JetBlack' at Auckland's Queens Wharf as part of the 'Real New Zealand Innovation Showcase' held adjacent to the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Nowland originally manifested the idea to attempt to break the New Zealand and Australian land speed records in 2007. Shortly after, he successfully bid for two ex-RAF Rolls Royce Avon 206 turbojet engines in an online auction.

Since then Nowland has built a team around him that he believes will highlight the potential of engineering and innovation in New Zealand.

"My goal for Jetblack is to promote New Zealand's engineering and innovation capability," said Nowland. "Every single part of the car must be designed – there is almost nothing we can take off the shelf. And that poses great opportunities and challenges for our technology, engineering and manufacturing industries."

The Jetblack team includes an aerodynamicist, Richard Roake, an engineer, Glynn Bowsher, who also happened to be the engineer for the current world record holder, and driver, Royal NZ Airforce Wing Commander, Stephen Hunt. The vehicle itself has is being modelled in the powerful 3D CAD software SolidWorks, and will have its parts manufactured in different areas of the world.

When asked about the design challenges faced during JetBlack's creation, Richard Askin, designer and SolidWorks user, commented "One of the biggest challenges has been bringing in different forms of data together into SolidWorks from different sources and different design/analysis software. Converting surface data has posed problems as imported geometry does not contain the design history and therefore is not directly editable as it is in SolidWorks. There are various specific software packages which are required for the range of areas we work in such as aerodynamic analysis, animation and visualisations."

Because of SolidWorks ability to integrate various design tasks such as 3D modelling, design analysis and powerful surfacing tools, the task of bringing together new data from different parts of the project has become much easier for the JetBlack team.

"Because all the team members have different specialities, some of which need different software packages for their particular purpose, SolidWorks has worked well as a central hub to feed data into and out of during the design phase," says Askin. "SolidWorks has excellent surfacing tools which eventually allowed us to overcome most of the challenges posed through data exporting/importing."

When asked about his thoughts on the most valuable features of SolidWorks in relation to the JetBlack project, Askin commented that "for this project specifically, it has definitely been the ability to use the surfacing tools to their fullest potential. The iterative nature of the aerodynamic design has resulted in various changes which needed to be adapted in SolidWorks. The ability to move up and down through the design history when new data comes in from other areas of the project has proved invaluable, and definitely sped up development and production. The ability to quickly convert new design ideas into tangible models has also been helpful during the production of the full size prototype."

Solidtec Solutions is a specialist company offering design and manufacturing solutions in 3D CAD Software, Design Validation and Simulation, Design Automation, Product Data Management (PDM), Documentation Software and CAD Tools.

Solidtec focus solely on the SolidWorks community and its range of products and have been excited by the innovation and progress made by the JetBlack team using SolidWorks.

"Solidtec have provided us some really positive support and great advice during this project and I've been happy to associate with some of their knowledgeable New Zealand based team," commented Nowland. "They've been an important contributing sponsor." 

The race to finish the design, manufacture the vehicle, and have their name etched in the history books is now on for the JetBlack team, who are on track to showing the world the capability of New Zealand based engineering and innovation.

For more information on the JetBlack World Land Speed Record attempt, visit www.jetblack.co.nz. For more information on Solidtec Solutions and their range of design solutions, visit Australia: www.solidtec.com.au or call 1800 824 883, New Zealand: www.solidtec.co.nz or call 0800 765 438.