Silverside Detectors Chooses Onshape for Nuclear Radiation Detector Design

Defense R&D company says cloud CAD’s built-in data management and In-Context Design tools speed up production

Defense R&D company says cloud CAD’s built-in data management and In-Context Design tools speed up production

Cambridge, Massachusetts (December 13, 2018)

Silverside Detectors, a developer of next-generation nuclear radiation detection technology for the defense and homeland security market, has chosen Onshape as its primary CAD system. Onshape is a new-generation cloud design platform that combines CAD, data management, workflow, and real-time collaboration tools to speed up product development.

Dedicated to the emerging needs of security agencies, law enforcement, and private infrastructure, Silverside fuses expertise in detection physics, product engineering, and manufacturing to deliver a versatile building block for countering nuclear terrorism.

“We switched to Onshape because we urgently needed help with data management,” says Silverside VP of Hardware Engineering Philip Taber. “With our previous CAD system, we’d have engineers trying to figure out which version was the latest version of a design. With separate files for the front, back, the side plates and the base, each part would get a letter and number code so we could try to keep them straight, but they’d get all mixed and matched.”

“Onshape allows us to keep everything much more organized without needing a PDM system,” Taber adds. “Onshape probably cuts our design time in half because we’re designing our parts together in one place versus flipping back and forth between files. We can make changes without worrying about breaking the assembly.”

Silverside’s Li-6 neutron detectors are the next-generation of technology for sensing nuclear material, meeting performance standards at a fraction of the cost. The modular detector design allows plug-and-play integration in a range of detection systems, from ports to vehicles to backpacks.

“Silverside Detectors is genuinely making the world a much safer place,” says Onshape CEO Jon Hirschtick. “We’re proud that Onshape is playing a role in speeding up the production of their nuclear radiation detectors and getting them deployed on the ground as quickly as possible.”

Taber adds that his design team also highly values Onshape’s In-Context Design feature, which allows engineers to edit parts in the context of a higher-level assembly without them unpredictably changing due to motion.

“With our previous CAD system, I had to be extremely cautious when editing moving parts because something would accidently break on me,” he says. “With Onshape, the software gets out of my way. It lets me make these changes and everything just works.”


About Silverside Detectors

Silverside fuses physics, product design, and public policy expertise to develop solutions that make people, businesses and cities safer. The proprietary, lithium-based thermal neutron detection technology is used by the U.S. government and private sector for next-generation protection against nuclear terror threats.

Developed with funding from the Department of Defense (DARPA), Silverside is creating new products for both security markets and neutron research applications. Silverside is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit the company’s website, or contact

About Onshape

Onshape is a next-generation SaaS design platform that speeds up product development. It’s an all-in-one system that combines CAD, release management, workflow, collaboration, analytics, admin tools, and an API with more than 50 engineering applications. Onshape helps extended design teams work together faster and helps executives make better business decisions with real-time analytics and unprecedented visibility into their company’s design and manufacturing processes.

Founded in 2012, Onshape was acquired by PTC in November 2019 and will operate as a SaaS business unit within the company. For more information, visit

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