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Dassault Systemes Snatches Up FE-Design, Gets into the Optimization Craze


FE-DESIGN's optimization packages, TOSCA Structure and TOSCA Fluid, are destined to become part of Dassault Systemes' simulation product line.

FE-DESIGN GmbH, a German company with a product line named after a famous Italian opera, is going to become part of Dassault Systemes (DS), a French 3D software giant.

Today, in a transaction of undisclosed amount, DS acquired the Germany software maker known for its optimization packages: TOSCA Fluid and TOSCA Structure. DS already has a robust collection of simulation products, marketed under the SIMULIA brand. By acquiring FE-DESIGN, DS is boosting its current simulation offerings with the optimization technology in FE-DESIGN’s TOSCA products.

Talks Began Several Months Ago: DS press office said, “We have partnered with FE-DESIGN for over 10 years. We realized the full potential we have offered to mutual customers and discussions about the possibility of an acquisition started over the last several months. ”

“Design optimization is a complex way of saying ‘finding the right design’ for business, for customers, and for the world. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is all about optimizing a company’s business and the products it offers. This is why FE-DESIGN is such a good fit for Dassault Systèmes,” said Bernard Charlès, DS’ president and CEO.

TOSCA products help you identify the best topology using structural and fluid flow simulation. TOSCA Structure is for “rapid and reliable design of lightweight, rigid, and durable components and systems,” the company describes. It calls TOSCA Fluid “the only available system for topology optimization of channel flow problems.”

According to DS press office, “The Abaqus Topology Optimization Module (ATOM) offers a subset of the technologies offered by TOSCA Structure. In a different and related field of optimization, SIMULIA has offered Isight. TOSCA Structure and Fluid would cover structural topology, fluid topology, non-parametric shape, and bead optimization. In comparison, Isight covers sizing and parametric shape, geometric parameter, multi-disciplinary optimization, design of experiments, among other areas.”

TOSCSA to Remain Compatible with DS’ Rival Products: TOSCA Structure works with industry standard finite element analysis (FEA) packages, including ABAQUS, ANSYS, MSC NASTRAN, and NX NASTRAN. Whereas ABAQUS belongs to DS’ simulation product lineup, the other products belong to DS’ rivals. The FE-DESIGN acquisition, therefore, makes DS the owner of a technology that benefits those who use rival products as well.

DS press office explained, “We will preserve the product’s openness which means customers will have the integration required by any business platform built for enterprise-wide collaboration.  One of the benefits of FE-DESIGN is that it manages input from a variety of sources and this makes FE-Design the market technology leader.”

In the last few years, optimization — an automated approach to identifying the best shape or form that satisfies design requirements — emerged as a discipline of its own, driven by software packages developed specifically for the purpose. Examples include Autodesk Inventor Optimization, Siemens PLM Software’s NX 8.5 with topology optimization tools, Altair Engineering’s solidThinking Inspire, and ANSYS Fluent’s plug-in RBF Morph. (For more, read “The Twin Forces of Optimization and Inspiration,” December 2012.)

Strategy Alignment and Customer Overlap: FE-Design products target classic manufacturing segments, such as aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, and machinery. But they’re also serving the less traditional power generation, marine and offshore, building heating and air conditioning, and medical device industries. The strategy seems to match DS’ own, which expands beyond traditional manufacturing activities. DS has also begun pursuing the architecture and construction industry with its 3D modeling solutions, branded 3DEXPERIENCE.

FE-DESIGN has more than 200 customers, including General Motors, BMW, SIEMENS, and Suzlon. About a third of the new customers gained from the acquisition overlaps with DS’ own customers, according to DS press office. After the acquisition, DS plans to sell FE-DESIGN products while also integrating them into the company’s 3DEXPERIENCE business platform.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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