What happens when you tie a kite to a boat?

May 10, 2012 by Darren Engineering 0

skysails 1

When SkySails CEO Stephan Wrage was boy in Germany, he loved to fly kites. And as kids’ minds tend to wander into the whimsical world of “What if…,” he wondered what would happen if he tied a giant kite to a real boat.  Would the wind be strong enough to tow it?

Wrage, who grew up to study industrial engineering at the Technical University of Dresden, held on to that fantasy.

Based in Hamburg, his SkySails company is now a world pioneer in creating wind propulsion systems for ships.  The sails, which they call “kites,” look a bit like parachutes and they tap into the high-energy potential of high-altitude winds.

SkySails reduces fuel costs for cargo ships, consequentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The company designs its kites with SolidWorks, the 3D CAD cousin of DraftSight, which also plays a vital role.

SkySails uses DraftSight, a free professional-grade 2D CAD tool from Dassault Systèmes, to import manufacturing drawings of new cargo ships.

DraftSight is used by the company to import manufacturing drawings from various cargo ship companies to check if the wind sail components will fit properly.

Estimated fuel savings are between 10-15 percent.

We recently caught up with some of the brains behind SkySails at SolidWorks World.  Take a look for yourself at what could become the future of commerce!





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