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Down the Drain

By Sara Ferris

Wessex Water, one of the largest water supply companies in the United Kingdom, selected SolidWorks 3D CAD software for the design of all its new wastewater treatment plants. The company expects its software choice to reduce design time and errors as well as allow engineers to explore different design options.

“Some of our projects involve several thousand components and can take months to complete, so we can’t afford to spend any time recreating drawings because of engineering changes or fixing errors in 2D,” said Simon Oldfield, 3D CAD technician and drawing systems administrator responsible for rolling out SolidWorks software at Wessex Water. “SolidWorks’ intuitive interface, collision detection, and built-in analysis tools ensure we get the design right so we don’t have to backtrack.”

One of the first projects assigned to SolidWorks is a refit of an existing sewage treatment plant that passes wastewater through a series of 20,000 filters. The plant measures 200 square meters and incorporates thousands of components, including an extensive pipe system. Oldfield and his team will use SolidWorks’ built-in Design Checker to make sure designs meet the utility’s standards. They also plan to use COSMOSXpress design analysis and COSMOSFloWorks computational fluid dynamics software, which analyzes fluid flow through the system, to ensure that future 3D plant designs are accurate and ready for manufacture. COSMOSFloWorks allows engineers to plan for water volume, flow, and piping configurations.

Wessex Water also uses SolidWorks eDrawings e-mail-enabled design communication tool to share design information internally with operations crews so that technicians who are building and installing equipment can easily provide feedback. eDrawings enables engineers to share 3D models that recipients can understand because they can rotate, pan, and study the models as if they were holding the component in their hands.

Headquartered in Bath, Wessex Water provides water services to 1.2 million people and sewage services to 2.5 million people over a 10,000-square-kilometer region in southwest England.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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