A 3D software firm in Abercynon is supporting the design of a world-first
hypersonic engine which will cut the flight time from London to Australia
to just over four hours.
CCSL, which is Wales’ only reseller of the 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD)
software called SOLIDWORKS, is marking a decade-long working partnership
with innovative technology experts Reaction Engines.
Since May 2008, CCSL, which has one of its two offices with training
facilities in Abercynon, just north of Cardiff, has supplied Reaction
Engines with the licences and technical support needed to maximise their
use of this vital piece of 3D software.
Over the years, CCSL has supplied more than 35 licences to the
Abingdon-based firm, which was formed in 1989 to design and develop the
technologies needed for a new class of innovative hypersonic propulsion
system – the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE).
The hybrid air-breathing rocket engine, which is a cross between a jet and
a rocket engine, is being designed to send an aircraft from a standing
start to over five times the speed of sound for hypersonic flight in the
atmosphere, and over 25 times the speed of sound for space access.
The project has been backed by industry giants such as Boeing, Rolls Royce
and BAE Systems. The UK Government has committed £60 million via the UK
Space Agency and European Space Agency.
CCSL’s technical knowledge of SOLIDWORKS, which is used globally in all
corners of the design and engineering sectors, has been instrumental in
supporting the engineering experts at Reaction Engines to maximise their
use of the software as they seek to bring the revolutionary engine to life.
Emyr Hughes, Managing Director of CCSL, which also has a Deeside base in
North Wales, said: “They bought two licences from us initially back in 2008
and have since grown to become one of our biggest clients and it’s an
extremely exciting project to be part of.
“The whole team at CCSL including myself and CCSL Technical Director Mike
Jones feel quite privileged to be working with such a talented team who are
developing something of such global might in the aerospace industry.
“Space exploration and engineering intrigue me and I have therefore always
been interested in the technicalities behind it.
“The work at Reaction Engines, being carried out by this team of
fantastically talented engineers, is pushing current manufacturing design
and material capability to the limit. I am proud of the fact that they
wouldn’t be achieving this without the 3D software we are supplying to them.
“We provide them with not only the actual design software licences but also
the associated licences to manage the data they are producing through the
“With the amount of licences and the subsequent data which is being
produced, it needs to be managed efficiently in terms of revision control
“In the world of product design controlling the data being produced by the
design engineer is very important.
“It can take days to produce a design document and they become very
valuable documents because those generated are then sent to a manufacturer
to produce the correct components.
“If you don’t have revision control and you don’t manage the workflow so
the correct document is going to the correct person throughout the design
and manufacturing process, then the manufacturer might be sent the wrong
design document. This could mean the wrong item might be produced which is
an extremely costly mistake to make in terms of time and money.
“The document management systems we are able to supply companies like
Reaction Engines help to guard against this happening and become an
essential part of the design and procurement process.
“Reaction Engines has grown massively as a company since we started with
them and that’s another reason why the software we supply is so important
“With the growth of personnel, it becomes more and more important to make
sure all the data being produced is being managed efficiently and I think
it is fair to say, this has been a very important part of their move
forward as a growing organisation.”
Stuart Webb, Design Office Manager for Reaction Engines, heads up the team
responsible for supporting the SABRE design activities.
Stuart, who formerly worked in Formula One, has worked with Emyr and his
team from the start.
When he first arrived at the firm 10 years ago, 2D software was being used
in the design process.
With CCSL’s help, Stuart and his team introduced the far more effective 3D
software which helps the design engineers to virtually build the component
they are working on and see more easily any flaws or limitations in their
design and whether it can be manufactured effectively.
He said: “The software which CCSL provide us is used very heavily in the
design and concept generation of what we do. We use SOLIDWORKS for all our
manufacturing drawings which provide the necessary information for
manufacturing or assembly.
“The software is also crucial in the management of the data we produce,
because of the collaborative way in which we design what we are working on.
“It allows people to work on the same project much more efficiently by
allowing multiple users access to the data which is constantly being
revised. CCSL has worked closely with us to help configure the software so
it works best for us.
“They are always willing to help if there are technical problems and the
technologies we are looking at are very unique so we need help to push the
CAD software to do something different a lot of the time.
“The team at CCSL are technically very supportive and we have established
an excellent working relationship over the last decade.”
For more information contact CCSL on 01443 719191 and website is