‘Save Our Planet’ starring Solar Impulse

By Kate
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It’s a bird . . . it’s a plant . . . it’s a car . . . no, it’s a plane!

Actually it’s like the Superman of planes, ready to save our daily planet.

Solar Impulse, you know it?

Solar Impulse is a solar airplane, sporting 12,000 photovoltaic cells on its wings, which, like a plant, soaks up energy from the sun for power, but the power juices the four electric motors.

It’s like a giant bird, with a wingspan of an Airbus A340 (63 meters), but weighing only as much as a car, so light enough to surf on wind currents for miles and miles.

What a plane!

Today near Zurich Solar Impulse was unveiled to the public for the first time. Six years of hard work by 70 people, creating a true aerospace innovation, and just in time. We desperately need viable eco transportation solutions given the state of our planet.

According to the official Solar Impulse website, here’s the challenge:

In a world depending on fossil energies, the Solar Impulse project is a paradox, almost a provocation: it aims to have an airplane take off and fly autonomously, day and night, propelled uniquely by solar energy, right round the world without fuel or pollution. An unachievable goal without pushing back the current technological limits in all fields…

I just got off the phone with our PR Manager Virginie who was lucky enough to attend the unveiling. Her impressions:

Today marked a page in history. When everyone saw the aircraft, it was a WOW moment. The plane doesn’t look like any plane you can imagine. It’s very long, and very thin.

Virginie was impressed by the project’s “around the world” ambition, because:

There will only be one pilot in the plane at a time. And each pilot will take a shift of five days, during which he will fly NON-STOP. No sleep, just meditation and micro siestas.

That cockpit better be pretty darn comfortable! Well, not too comfy- don’t want any accidental dozes . . .

Did you know the engineers used Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA and ENOVIA Smarteam to design Solar Impulse? According to the press release:

Because Solar Impulse is a new and complex aerospace invention, it was critical for engineers to be able to test a wide range of design configurations, including various combinations of solar panels and lightweight composites structures. For example, Solar Impulse engineers used CATIA to define the best allocation of solar cells to comply with the energy specifications. The engineers also used CATIA for ergonomics analysis to optimize the aircraft pilot’s comfort in various positions.

Virginie told me that first flight tests will begin this fall, and that a second Solar Impulse will be built.

I should have photos taken at the event to publish in time for Monday, so stay tuned . . .

Meanwhile, enjoy this Solar Impulse Unveiling video:

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And if you were there for the unveiling, please share your impressions and any photos you took in the comments section! (I’ll try not to be jealous ;-) )

You can also see what people are saying about #solarimpulse on Twitter.

Best,

Kate

Meet Oleg Shilovitsky: 7 Questions

By Kate
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Have you ever thought about what folksonomy, mashups and robotic swarms have to do with . . . product lifecycle management?

Oleg Shilovitsky has. He churns out regular think tank-like thoughts and chats on such matters in his blog PLM Twine. Word’s getting out in the blogosphere about this goodness, yet we know little about the man behind it. I thought you might like to meet him.

Oleg and I both work for Dassault Systèmes, but we’ve never met in real-life. He’s in Boston on the ENOVIA side and I’m in France at headquarters. Since everyone’s traveling less these days, I organized a visio conference with Oleg so I could “meet” and interview him for 3D Perspectives.

Here’s what I asked:

1. How’d he get involved in PDM/PLM?
2. What does he do at work (besides blogging)?
3. Which blog topic does he prefer?
4. What’s PLM’s biggest challenge?
5. What’s the solution?
6. What does Innovation mean?
7. What inspires him?

Watch the video interview below and find out what Oleg has to say:

YouTube Preview Image

Best,

Kate

P.S. Here’s another Oleg interview you might enjoy, this time focusing on ENOVIA SmarTeam.

Do You Comply?

By Kate
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I imagine I’d go crazy if I were a manufacturer today. There are so many regulations to follow, and with the burgeoning environmental/green standards, which can differ per country, the complexity grows. Then, when I begin to think about the various substances that are regulated, like lead, hazardous chemicals, etc., coupled with the specific industry regulations, I start feeling like I need a Business Intelligence solution to understand it all. (Breathe now.) And then, I imagine how extra-complex it must be for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers who are outsourcing their parts manufacturing around the globe, where depending on the country, the manufacturing cultures differ, and thus their awareness/compliance to the complex web of. . . directives.

Welcome to the second post in our introductory Green PLM blog series.

We can quickly get overwhelmed when we start digging into Compliance. When it comes to Green Compliance, we’re still in the early days, i.e. there’s a lot more to come. Most of the directives bubble up from Europe, and to my knowledge, so far there are no widespread, ISO-type standards.

Mike Zepp, our in-house regulatory compliance expert, used to deal directly with the type of scenario I imagined above, and now he helps Dassault Systèmes arm companies with tools to successfully navigate through the green compliance jungle. Mike was in Paris recently and kindly agreed to let me video-interview him. Here’s what Mike has to say about Compliance and the role PLM, particularly managing product-linked data throughout the lifecycle, can play to help. The real-life example he cites in the video is particularly telling:

It seems to me that using an efficient compliance assessment and impact analysis data management tool will help put some greenbacks into your Green PLM, or at least save you some. While this is only a piece of Green PLM, it’s a major one.

Stay tuned for my next Green PLM post on reducing material use in product design.

Best,

Kate

P.S. Here are some Green Compliance resources:

Examples of product recycling directives:
End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV)
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE)

Examples of banned substances directives:
Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Directive
Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)

Whitepaper:
The Voice of the Customer: Process Integration and Traceability Through Requirements Management



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