Smartflyer AG was founded in 2016 by Rolf Stuber, ambitious CEO of Smartflyer and enthusiastic captain at Swiss International Airlines. The team’s vision is to develop an environmentally friendly 4-seater cruise aircraft. The maiden flight is planned for 2023. For the design and engineering, the Smartflyer development team relies on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and SOLIDWORKS solutions.
Rolf Stuber’s eyes really light up when he explains the drive of the Smartflyer.
“We don’t simply convert an existing plane to build this electric-hybrid one. Since the electric motor is about five times lighter than a conventional drive, it is placed on the rudder. This enables efficiency gains of over 30%.” The heart of the drive consists of an Emrax electric motor and about 3,000 battery cells. The electric motor gives power to a propeller that is vibration-free and particularly quiet. Take-off and landing are always performed electrically. Pilots and fellow passengers will be able to talk on board without headphones, and the low noise emission will also have a positive impact on populated areas. A combustion engine is coupled to a generator, which is positioned in the nose of the aircraft and provides the energy for the cruise flight.
The Smartflyer team consists of young, highly trained specialists. Smooth cooperation between aerodynamics, electrical engineering, software development and structural engineers is crucial for the success of the company. Rolf Stuber: “The Smartflyer developing team is small and focussed on the essential. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we are creating a basis to unleash our innovative power: We do not have to worry about software updates, data mirroring or data backups, but can fully focus on the development of the Smartflyer. Furthermore, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is scalable, i.e. it grows with our dynamic team. Overall, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform saves us valuable time and IT budget while optimising product quality and efficiency, which is worth a lot to us. And if there are ever any questions, Solid Solutions is extremely helpful, immediately available and can even assist on site if needed.”
Gildas Höllmüller, CAD Administrator at Smartflyer, is convinced: “Software that runs locally on large servers today will be cloud-based in the future. That’s how we see it. In this respect, using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform was only logical for us."
In a project as highly complex and interdisciplinary as the development of an electric-hybrid aircraft, it is very important that all employees can access the information they need for their work at any time, from anywhere and with any device. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables us to safely store all project-relevant information at one central location to which all employees have access. Besides design and engineering data this also includes manufacturing data and team communication. It also allows external partners to be involved. This is a huge advantage for us and improves collaboration drastically”, explains Höllmüller.
The entire team always has access to up-to-date data from anywhere, can track the changes made and communicate smoothly.
Gildas Höllmüller, CAD Administrator at Smartflyer
SMARTFLYER is a hybrid-electric aircraft that seats four passengers. The smartflyer operates purely electric during starts and landings. The Emrax electric motor on top of the vertical stabiliser is very efficient and quiet. A range extender charges the batteries during cruise and provides a range of more than 800 kilometres. Smartflyer’s maiden flight is scheduled for 2023. Smartflyer has already received several awards for its forward-looking project, for example the InnoPrix Soba 2020, the Baloise Bank’s innovation prize for sustainable impulses in the canton of Solothurn.
Concerning his company’s vision he adds: “Turning our vision into a physical product brings great challenges. The solution to these are modern tools that are made exactly for this kind of thing. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, as well as SOLIDWORKS CAD for design, SOLIDWORKS Simulation for analysis and SOLIDWORKS CAM for manufacturing, we have very powerful tools that simplify our working life and allow us to put the idea into practice.”