Vuala Slashes Development by 6 months with SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

Engineering biology company innovates food waste separation technology to reach its lofty sustainability objectives by positively impacting an entire country's economy and productivity.


Tackle the world's food waste problem commercially by building a product that would shift the conventional focus on food waste treatment to the first stage within the supply chain: Waste production.


Using discounted licenses with the 3DEXPERIENCE Works for Startups offer, including 3D Creator, 3D Sculptor, Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS, Collaborative Industry Innovator, SOLIDWORKS Premium, and 3DSwymer roles—from the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio, as well as SOLIDWORKS Premium desktop product development software.


  • Streamlined product development
  • Create customized customer designs in real time
  • Achieve sustainability goals
  • Shorten development time by 6 months

Vuala Chief Technical Officer Anthony Ma PhD conducted food-based research for more than a decade before he and his son, Chief Executive Officer Abiel Ma, decided to tackle the world's food waste problem commercially by building a product that would shift the conventional focus on food waste treatment to the first stage within the supply chain: Waste production.

With an estimated 920,000 tons of food waste produced annually by hospitality alone in the U.K., the London startup sought to benefit U.K. economy and productivity while turning food waste into "liquid gold."

Protecting Those in Harm’s Way

The company invented a way to separate food waste from other waste automatically. It developed a prototype that could turn food waste into raw material for energy production within hours on site. The Vuala X1 is an air-tight indoor/outdoor solution that digests food waste without creating a smell, using microorganisms to create "liquid gold" for various uses.

Clients include hotels, offices, cafes, universities, care centers, hospitals, and central kitchens. The company picks up full tanks of raw material that is turned into biogas, electricity, animal feed, or hydrogen. The treated waste can also be stored for months without creating any odors.

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Streamlining Product Development

Vuala participated in Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE® for Startups program. The startup received a one-year license to use SOLIDWORKS software through this program. Additionally, Dassault Systèmes provided personalized, fast-response support for any issues Vuala encountered.

After 30+ iterations in SOLIDWORKS, the company built a small prototype of the Vuala X1 both inexpensively and rapidly. "SOLIDWORKS helped us to build prototypes the easier and cheaper way," says Ma, while enabling the company to "basically validate what we're thinking within our design process and to constantly improve the user experience." He estimates that SOLIDWORKS shaved at least half a year off the development trajectory.

Customizing Customer Designs in Real Time

Ma stresses that the cloud is one of the best things about the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Everything is convenient, especially because the physical product is installed in different sites around the U.K. He can talk with customers on-site and instantly alter and improve the design via his iPad according to the customer's specific needs and then show them exactly how their configuration will look in real time. "[This capability] has been really useful and very important [to our business]," says Ma.

Reaching Sustainability Goals

Vuala's automatic food waste separation technology is able to prevent 100% of food waste from going to landfills and reduce 75% of carbon emissions for every ton of food waste. The company is working to reduce 100 million tons of CO2 in 10 years. Ma concludes, "Our goal is to help U.K. be a global pioneer in food waste recycling while benefitting U.K. economy and productivity in a positive way."

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