Maple used to make watches tick for longer

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Maplesoft has announced that Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin is using its Maple software product to lengthen the running time of new watches. Claude Bourgeois, an engineering consultant and former Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM) researcher, used Maple for Ulysse Nardin to model and optimise an oxidised silicon sprung balance resonator that doubles the operating time of watches when they are at rest. Symbolic calculation techniques in Maple enabled simplification of the model and speeding up of the calculations, and facilitated the analysis and optimisation of the system.

The use of silicon as an engineering material in watch-making is a fairly recent development, but the material offers many advantages over steel. This latest application aimed to produce a silicon barrel spring, and required the production of several springs which were more than 0.5m long, produced on a silicon wafer limited to a diameter of 15.4cm. Bourgeois developed a modelling and optimisation tool based on Maple, and he used this to design the spring component, with the aim of allowing watches to store more energy and run for longer on a single wind.

Maplesoft claims that its product makes it easy for engineers to identify the critical parameters related to the required function and the figures of merit of the system. It also helps to establish analytical macromodels, which are useful elements for analysis and for developing new concepts.