Solar Trash Compactor Cuts Emissions by up to 80 Percent

Eating its way to the forefront of the "green" movement, the BigBelly® trash bin designed in SolidWorks® 3D CAD software is the world's first and only on-site solar-powered trash compactor. BigBelly is used in busy places around the world like shopping districts, food courts, and entertainment venues, or in remote places such as parks and beaches.

Standing at 50 inches tall and weighing 300 pounds, BigBelly uses only the sun's energy to compact and store five times the amount of garbage as receptacles of the same size. The machine uses up to 1, 250 pounds of force to compact trash periodically until it is full. Municipalities and city parks that formerly emptied garbage cans twice a day can now empty BigBelly once a week, reducing fuel costs and carbon emissions from garbage truck trips. Headquartered in Needham, Mass., the BigBelly Solar company standardized on SolidWorks software to optimize the unit's design and accelerate development to meet customer demand.

"Escalating steel prices forced us to rethink our approach to early development models," said Jeff Satwicz, BigBelly Solar product manager. "SolidWorks' sheet metal features along with simple load analyses in COSMOSXpress™ enabled us to re-design the machine with 30 percent fewer steel parts. That not only cut costs for a young startup company, but also jibed with our eco-friendly philosophy."

The unit, which stores energy even on cloudy days, can operate for a full day with the equivalent energy it requires to toast a slice of bread. It can operate for eight years on the equivalent energy it takes to drive a garbage truck one mile. These feats are possible in part because BigBelly Solar, its manufacturing partner, and their suppliers have good design communication.Most of BigBelly Solar's suppliers use SolidWorks, and they share design concepts with eDrawings® e-mail-enabled design communication tool. eDrawings lets users send and receive 3D models or 2D drawings of product designs that recipients can view, rotate, and study as if they had a physical prototype in front of them. "It's important to have everyone speaking the same language. That helps us look at the big picture as well as the details," said Satwicz.

BigBelly Solar recently unveiled recycling units that connect to BigBelly or can stand alone, for customers who want to extend their environmentally friendly waste solutions. Designed in SolidWorks, the BigBelly Recycling Unit looks similar to the BigBelly, but offers an insertion hole for cans and bottles, mixed paper or both.

"The ‘green' movement's success is measured in increments," said SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray. "BigBelly is a great example of innovation in the face of a global problem. Its rapid adoption across the U.S. and in foreign countries demonstrates that we can find ways to reduce our impact on the environment – in this case, one BigBelly at a time."

BigBelly Solar relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller CADD Edge for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

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