Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation
Upgrading a World-Class Observatory with SOLIDWORKS
MAKING UPGRADES FASTER AND EASIERSince moving to SOLIDWORKS software, CFHT has cut its design cycles for instrument and facility upgrades in half. One recent example is a dome venting project that required the installation of large, garage-type doors. “With the comfort level that I have with the SOLIDWORKS platform, we’re at least twice as fast as we used to be,” Green says. “Whether I’m opening an existing 3D model or drawing and extruding a sketch, SOLIDWORKS allows me to work faster and smarter,” Green adds. “With fully dimensioned, intelligent SOLIDWORKS models, I can open a design for something that already exists, make some changes—such as taking existing structural steel beams out and putting new beams in—and complete the project more quickly and easily.”
PORTABILITY, COMPATIBILITY, AND PERFORMANCEThe transition to SOLIDWORKS software has improved CFHT’s ability to complete design work on site as well as support a higher degree of compatibility with vendors. “Our manufacturing partners use SOLIDWORKS more than any other CAD package, which greatly simplifies collaboration,” Green explains. “However, what I really like about SOLIDWORKS is that it runs on my laptop, which allows me to do design work when I’m physically at the observatory. “With Inventor, I needed a big workstation to run the software, which relegated me to doing design work at our headquarters/machine shop,” Green continues. “I regularly need to be on-site to measure things and model new designs, and can’t pack up a workstation every time I go up to the summit. Portability is the key, and with SOLIDWORKS, I can take my laptop up to the observatory and model a structural steel beam, for example, while I’m sitting on a ladder right next to it.”
ADVANCING MAUNAKEA SPECTROGRAPHIC EXPLORERCFHT is using SOLIDWORKS software to support implementation of the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE), a 10-meter-class telescope that is fully devoted to spectroscopic exploration of the universe. The only facility of its kind, MSE will replace the current 3.6-meter telescope with a large, wide-field telescope operating a dedicated suite of spectroscopes. By breaking light down into its component colors, or spectra, MSE will give scientists valuable information not available via images alone. “On the MSE project, we’ve incorporated the design into a model of the surrounding landscape,” Green says. “Our consultants use the model to support wind flow and structural analysis, and I used PhotoView 360 to render a compelling image of the new facility— including a sunset and section view of the dome. SOLIDWORKS provides the design visualization tools that we need to conduct design reviews while also promoting the project to the public.”
Support observatory, telescope, and facility upgrades—as well as a range of scientific projects and experiments—more quickly, easily, and cost-effectively.
Implement SOLIDWORKS Research Edition 3D mechanical design software.
- Cut development cycles in half
- Realized increased compatibility with vendors and partners
- Expanded CAD usage to observatory itself
- Improved design visualization