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Sunway

Korea-based Sunway leverages MODSIM on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to optimize not only the design of its innovative solar fences, but also to determine the best installation method and layout design in rural areas including rice paddies and orchards.

Solar fences alongside agriculture

There’s a growing issue of food scarcity in Korea. And what’s making the problem worse is that, in the pursuit of greater profits, many farmers are to use their land for solar panel installation instead of crops. This, however, is set to change thanks to the work of companies like Sunway, which – as well as developing sustainable solutions such as colored glass building façades that feature integrated photovoltaics – has created innovative solar fences. These fences can be installed alongside crops, enabling crop production and solar power generation to work in harmony.

Founded in Busan, Korea, Sunway specializes in solar and renewable energy solutions and is participating in the Korea Energy Agency’s renewable energy supply project. Together with the local government, the company has helped construct several renewable energy power plants.

“Our goal is to increase our share of agricultural solar business that generate renewable energy via rural power plants by 2030,” said Kim Seung Jin, Sunway’s Director of Research. “To vitalize solar power in rural areas, we need to get to a point where farming and solar power generation can be combined.”

We use MODSIM to uncover the optimal design of our solar fences. It’s now easy for us to compare the advantages of different concept designs and elements concerning structural safety. We can review dynamic stiffness and carry out simulations to analyze the structure’s sturdiness and durability when faced with various stressors.

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Shin Eui Seop
Senior Researcher, Sunway

An innovative product demands innovative tools

Sunway’s solar fences are being developed as part of its partnership with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy for its new and renewable energy core technology development project. The aim of the project is to develop solar powered fences that can generate 200kW of energy each, while requiring minimal land for installation and coexisting with crop production.

As part of the development process, the team at Sunway needed to consider how the panels might withstand regular or extreme weather conditions with wind or snow, or in natural disasters such as an earthquake or typhoon. “That’s because solar fences tend to be affected by various natural disasters as they are installed on bare ground,” Kim said. “In the past, we have been able to perform 2D modeling ourselves, but what we really needed was 3D simulation capabilities. We were initially outsourcing this, but it wasn’t very efficient. We realized we needed our own 3D design and computer-aided engineering (CAE) tool for simulation.”

Sunway turned to local partner VPK for advice, and was recommended Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud.

VPK supported Sunway’s adoption with a training program tailored to meet its specific needs. “The process of learning how to use 3D modelling and CAE software, and then how to perform various simulations, can be time-consuming,” said Shin Eui Seop, a senior researcher at Sunway. “However, the time we needed was reduced thanks to VPK’s step by step training program which covered basic model configuration and analysis. VPK was also very responsive in providing support and prepared an easy-to-follow manual for us.”

Sunway quickly discovered that using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud had its advantages. “Being able to securely access design data from any location has been really useful,” Shin said.  “That data can be stored centrally instead of locally, meaning everyone in the team can access it. This ensures continuity if there are role changes.”

Achieving more with MODSIM

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has equipped Sunway with an integrated modeling and simulation (MODSIM) approach which is data-driven, collaborative and provides a common data model with a single, easy-to-use interface. The platform’s multi-CAD environment can read and process data from Sunway’s existing CAD software so that it facilitates the whole product development process.

“In the past, it was not easy for designers to access CAE, and they had difficulty finding relevance between design and analysis in many different graphical user interfaces,” Kim said. “This isn’t the case with MODSIM.”

Sunway designers and engineers can use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s multidisciplinary tools including CATIA for 3D design and SIMULIA to perform different simulations across different physics, such as structural load, fluid analysis and vibration and impact. The ability to use simulation in the earliest stages of development allows design exploration, knowledge capture and acceleration of sustainable design with improved quality.

“We use MODSIM to determine the optimal design of our solar fences,” Shin said. “It’s now easy for us to compare the advantages of different concept designs and the impact of using different construction materials to ensure structural safety. We can review dynamic stiffness and carry out simulations to analyze the structure’s sturdiness and durability when faced with various stressors. Any weaknesses in the design can be corrected right away and the results are instantly available through updates, without additional modification in the mesh and analysis process.”

Sunway has also been able to use MODSIM to determine the most appropriate installation method and layout design for a variety of rural areas, including rice paddies, dry fields, orchards and salt farms. They considered factors such as topography and land type, as well as wind volume by region and seismic wave design response spectrum by ground. “All of this has made the R&D process fast and efficient,” Kim said. “It has also significantly reduced costs as we were able to reduce trial and error during installation, so that the construction period can be reduced by 30%. We’ve also found that there is less reinstallation and complementary installation work after deployment.”

Sunway uses MODSIM for stress tests to ensure sturdiness and durability for the solar fences.

By using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create a virtual twin of our solar fences and integrating topography information monitored using 3D scanners, we expect to be able to offer greater functionality. We can also collect data that will help us to carry out predictive maintenance, ensuring our solar fences last long into the future.

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Kim Seung Jin
Director of Research, Sunway

Innovating for the future

In the future, Sunway hopes its solar fences can be used extensively alongside agriculture so that farmers can fully utilize the land to harvest crops and generate solar power. It also believes its solution can have more widespread applications, for example as safety and security fences in cities.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will help the company realize this vision, thanks to the power of virtual twins. “By using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create a virtual twin of our solar fences and integrating topography information monitored using 3D scanners, we expect to be able to offer greater functionality,” Kim said. “For example, farmers or landowners will be able to track the live installation status of an actual site and monitor changes that happen over time, such as the effects of soil erosion. We can also collect data that will help us to carry out predictive maintenance, ensuring our solar fences last long into the future.”

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Focus on Sunway

Founded in 2016, Sunway is a Korean solar energy company focused on the design, manufacture and supply of innovative solar energy solutions including solar panel systems and eco-friendly solar power plants. Sunway wants to contribute to the supply and expansion of renewable energy based on its commitment to professionalism and trust. Its mission is to keep building “the path of living together”, which means it wants to grow together with its customers while preserving the environment and maintaining its social responsibility.

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Focus on VPK

Dassault Systèmes partner VPK supplies diverse and accurate solutions for research and design in various fields, including automotive, machinery, metal, electricity, and electronics. It specializes in technologies that can analyze various structures, acoustics, and collisions to evaluate strength, life span, safety, and acoustic performance. The VPK team operates a testing facility that can experimentally verify various material properties, boundary conditions, and analytical models that are entered into CAE. Moreover, the team uses these practical CAE analyses to predict performance, improving the efficiency of design processes and reducing design costs.

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