MSC Software, a stalwart of the simulation industry and some of the brains behind the NASTRAN general purpose structural analysis program, is joining forces with Hexagon AB, a Swedish measurement and technology company, to firm up a play in automated manufacturing.
The $834 million deal, the biggest for Hexagon since it snapped up engineering software provider Intergraph for $2.1 billion in 2010, was positioned as a move to create a portfolio of offerings that connect design and production. The goal is to create a digital thread and actionable manufacturing intelligence that would allow manufacturers to better identify and correct potential production problems early in the cycle when it is easier and more cost-effective to make changes.
MSC, which has 1,200 staffers and had $230 million in revenue last year, will continue to operate as an independent business unit within Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division, when the deal closes, which is expected in April, officials said. Dominic Gallello, MSC’s president and CEO, says the merger makes sense as the pair share a common philosophy. “The MSC brand will stay, the management team will stay and the passion will stay,” he said on a conference call. “The MSC brand will run fairly autonomously except where we can find opportunities for synergy.”
One of the key areas for synergy is manufacturing intelligence, and MSC’s simulation expertise and portfolio can play a big role in Hexagon realizing its “smart connected factory vision in discrete manufacturing industries such as automotive and aerospace,” said Hexagon President and CIO Ola Rollén in a press release. “We can now leverage the data our MI division is generating to improve design choices and processes upstream in the workflow.”
Over the next three years, Gallello said the first touch points for the MSC/Hexagon technology to come together are around manufacturing process simulation, for example, for the welding formation of parts or in additive manufacturing. “Simulation of AM with their metrology technology is a perfect fit,” he said. There will be other opportunities over time as the pair have a broad technology portfolio, with one potential area of collaboration related to autonomous vehicle operation, he says.
MSC’s Simufact Additive, acquired through its 2015 acquisition of Simufact Engineering, is a good example of where the pair have synergy. Simufact Additive is a simulation tool designed for metal laser powder-bed-fusion processes, used to predict distortion and deformation with predicted values and identifying residual stresses. By applying such simulation to additive manufacturing processes, companies can eliminate costly trial and error processes as well as any potential damage to costly AM machines.
Watch this technical presentation to find out more about Simufact Additive.