Aero Union Puts Down Raging Wildfires With SolidWorks-Designed Airborne Firefighting Systems
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Aero Union Puts Down Raging Wildfires With SolidWorks-Designed Airborne Firefighting Systems

3D mechanical design software accelerates product design and reduces errors for tanks, snorkels, automatic doors, and other systems on planes and helicopters

CONCORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 18, 2003-- The largest aerial firefighting contractor in the U.S. is using SolidWorks(R) software to help stop forest fires that ravage millions of acres of land every year. Aero Union Corporation has standardized on SolidWorks 3D mechanical design software to quickly design custom tanks, hydraulic loading and unloading systems, and other products for fighting rampant wildfires.

Chico, Calif.-based Aero Union purchased 24 licenses of SolidWorks to create a uniform, easy-to-use 3D mechanical design system for all engineering disciplines. Using SolidWorks, Aero Union will be able to design new products faster and with fewer errors than when engineers worked on different systems. For more than 40 years, the company has set a standard for effective airborne wildfire suppression systems. The company now provides air-to-air refueling systems for large military aircraft stationed around the world; special operations sensor systems that provide reconnaissance for search and rescue; border patrol, and other missions; and advanced spraying devices used to eradicate insects, including locusts in Morocco. Aero Union's customers include Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., the United States Forest Service, the Canadian Department of National Defense, and the government of Thailand, among others.

"Outsourcing parts manufacturing and sharing designs internally when our engineers were using different software slowed production and increased the chances of design irregularities," said Bill Strait, Aero Union's director of engineering. "We need to be able to design products that, for example, allow firefighters to use a snorkel system that fills a 2,000-gallon tank on a Sikorsky helicopter in under a minute. Standardizing on SolidWorks allows our engineers and suppliers to work from the same page so we can develop new products faster and with less chance for errors."

After an extensive search for a 3D mechanical design package, Strait and his team chose SolidWorks for its intuitive user interface, its ability to handle complex product designs, and its affordability. Aero Union is also deploying PDMWorks (TM), SolidWorks' product data management software, so engineers can work concurrently on product designs and effectively manage all of the company's design data. Aero Union also plans to integrate SolidWorks with a new manufacturing application to streamline the product lifecycle process from design to manufacturing.

"By standardizing on SolidWorks, Aero Union will save precious time on developing new firefighting and special operations systems that save lives and minimize wildfire damage," said Mike Crismond, vice president of North American sales at SolidWorks. "SolidWorks adapts to most any design challenge so engineers can explore all possibilities, quickly and efficiently."

Aero Union works with SolidWorks reseller GEI technology inc. for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

About Aero Union Corporation

The Aero Union Corporation is a privately held aviation company headquartered in Chico, California. It specializes in airborne firefighting services, in the design and manufacture of aircraft payload systems, in aircraft maintenance, and in the design, manufacture, and installation of special mission equipment for airborne firefighting, fuel transport, and reconnaissance. For additional information, go to Aero Union at

About GEI technology, inc.

Since 1974, GEI technology, inc. has provided a wide range of engineering, business, and hardware solutions to support the product development needs of manufacturers. With certified SolidWorks training and technical support facilities in San Mateo, Roseville, Santa Clara, Rohnert Park, and Dublin, California, GEI helps manufacturers move their organizations forward through the implementation of state-of-the-art MCAD and business solutions. For further information about GEI technology, access the company's Web site at

About SolidWorks Corporation

SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systemes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software for mechanical design, analysis, and product data management. Founded in 1993, SolidWorks' mission is to unleash the power of 3D for everyone in product development and foster a collaborative user community. In seven years of delivering product, SolidWorks has shipped more than 268,000 total seats of software worldwide. SolidWorks has offices around the globe and sells, distributes, and supports its products through a worldwide reseller network. For the latest news, information, or a live online demonstration, visit the company's Web site ( or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).

SolidWorks is a registered trademark and PDMWorks is a trademark of SolidWorks Corporation. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2003 SolidWorks Corporation.

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