Quick and easy data handling
The drones have a service radius of 80 kilometers and can carry up to 1.75 kilos of cargo per flight. It is also important that they can work in all weather conditions and deal with any unforeseen problems. The design software used in the company's early years quickly reached its limits. "I really pushed hard to move the company to NX", recalls Scott Parker, Mechanical Engineer at Zipline. "Something that you want to do with an aircraft like this is check that your part fits with the rest of the plane. In the previous CAD package, that would be a multi-hour ordeal. With NX, you just load it up. Everything is fast, and you don’t make mistakes." In addition, using NX Journal enables Zipline to quickly and easily create a bottom-up Bill of Materials that gives a detailed mass buildup, which helps the firm optimize the aircraft in terms of weight.
Virtual tests for real-life rescue missions
In addition to maximum weight reduction – each kilogram saved increases the range of the drone by five percent – test flights also play a key role. With virtual test flights, Zipline can simulate the heat characteristics of the battery or the thermal performance of the drone cost-effectively and without physical prototypes. Jeremy Schwartz, Roboticist at Zipline, sums up what this work means to the team: "When one of our drones takes off in Rwanda, it’s delivering blood to somebody who needs blood. It’s saving somebody’s life, and just thinking about that is an incredible thing."