You know the old expression: One man’s trash is another man’s activated carbon and syngas.

When Carbon Black Global was first developing its mobile trash-to-energy plants – which can process unsorted landfill garbage (including plastics, tires and diapers) into clean steam or electricity – its design team was like a CAD Tower of Babel.

With its team spread between multiple locations – Tennessee (Maffett-Loftis Engineering LLC), Georgia (Practical Steam), Washington (Designworks Ltd) and Ontario, Canada – the company had to deal with the chaos of engineers working with three different CAD systems.

“I was using AutoCAD, one of my engineering consultants was working in SOLIDWORKS and another engineering firm was using Pro/ENGINEER,” recalls Earl Decker, Vice President and patent holder of Carbon Black Global. “We struggled for a while using all these different systems, and to be honest, it was a real pain in the neck.”

To get the entire design team on the same page, CBG switched to Onshape, a modern professional CAD system that unites 3D modeling tools and design data management in a secure cloud workspace. The value of having multiple team members working together on the same model in real time is immense, says Decker.

“If we change one part, the entire team can see it right way. There’s no confusion over what version of the design we’re working on,” he says. “That was one of the keys for us to adopt Onshape. If a colleague wants to make a change, I say, ‘yeah, go ahead!’ and we both see it happen.”

“That’s all I think about is continuous improvement. How can I make this better? What if I do this? Using Onshape’s comprehensive edit history, all the changes are automatically tracked for me. I can go back to any of my old parts, make a change, flip it into a diagram, share the PDF and it’s done. It’s just incredibly fast.”


EXPLORING SOLUTIONS – Representatives of Carbon Black Global recently met with Tongan government officials to demonstrate the benefits of their waste-to-energy technology. From left to right: Sean Teo (CBG Tonga), Mark Fields (Evans Petree P.C - CBG Attorney/Council),Carl Sanft (Chairman of the Board, Tonga Power/Wastewater), Earl Decker (CBG Vice President), Robert Matthews (CEO, Tonga Power), Malakia L Sika (CEO, Tonga Waste Authority), Vincent Harkins (CFO, CBG), Mike Mentikov (President, CBG). (Photo courtesy of Carbon Black Global.)

When CBG engineers were each using their old CAD systems, projects were constantly interrupted by the need to make all the incoming design data compatible.

“Since switching over to Onshape, I’d say we’re easily saving hours a day. I was working with three different drawings and it would take me a day to import them and get them in the right places,” Decker says.

Saving hours of work each day. It’s worth pausing to consider the power of this testimonial.

Using Onshape’s modern CAD system has helped Carbon Black Global reclaim time they never should have lost in the first place. Onshape was built from scratch to eliminate what we call “design gridlock,” the frustrating delays that today’s engineers endure every day due to inefficiencies in old CAD technology.

If you’d like to learn more about how Carbon Black Global’s waste management technology can help with the environment, energy conservation and natural disaster relief, visit Onshape’s Customer Story page.