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Dassault Systèmes Acquires Archividéo and FE-DESIGN

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: April 26 2013

Dassault Systèmes, a provider of 3D design, 3D digital mockup, and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions, is expanding its footprint in the energy, process, and utilities segments. This industry set is expected to grow rapidly to meet the needs to expand energy production, both to grow the global economy and to support demographic changes in view of the depletion of natural resources.

The industry needs to change its game:

  • Design and validate efficient and safe plants for industry processes—in a rapidly growing market, design exploration and optimization techniques are becoming essential to balance the demands of product performance against resource efficiency and time-to-market constraints

  • Accelerate innovation for renewable energy

  • Balance demand and supply

With two significant acquisitions, Dassault Systèmes is on track to cater better to these industries and be more competitive in general.

FE-DESIGN: Bolstering Simulation Capabilities

Dassault Systèmes has announced the acquisition of FE-DESIGN Group, a private provider of design optimization software for early-stage virtual product development. The acquisition of its longstanding partner based in Karlsruhe, Germany, expands Dassault Systèmes’ SIMULIA applications to provide a more complete design optimization solution on the market.

With about 50 employees and more than 200 global product manufacturer customers, including General Motors, BMW, SIEMENS (the parent company of Dassault Systèmes’ fierce PLM and computer-aided design [CAD] competitor, no less), and Suzlon, FE-DESIGN is the technology leader for non-parametric optimization solutions in both the structural and fluids-based domains. The amount of this transaction was not disclosed, but FE-DESIGN’s 2012 revenues were about €5 million, including €1 million original equipment manufacturer (OEM) fees from Dassault Systèmes.

FE-DESIGN’s products will enhance Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform and its ability to automate the process of simulating the right design more quickly and more efficiently. FE-DESIGN develops TOSCA Structure and TOSCA Fluid, two leading optimization technologies for both finite element method (FEM) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. By adding non-parametric optimization to complement existing optimization technologies under the SIMULIA brand, Dassault Systèmes can better help its customers balance product performance against resource efficiency in time-constrained product development environments. The vendor will become much more competitive against ANSYS, MSC Software Corp., LMS International, and Altair Engineering, as well as versus its CAD and PLM archrivals, PTC and Siemens PLM Software.

Archividéo: 3D Urban Planning

Dassault Systèmes has also announced the acquisition of Archividéo, a private company that creates and manages large-scale 3D digital models of urban environments and landscapes. The acquisition of Archividéo, based in Rennes, France, its technology, and its talents (about 20 employees), brings a new dimension to Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE strategy and platform, extending the 3DEXPERIENCE universes to urban environment planning. The amount of this transaction was not disclosed either.

It appears that the next step for sustainable planning is to imagine cities, countries, or industrial fields in 3DEXPERIENCE virtual universes. With the integration of Archividéo technology within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Dassault Systèmes can provide a 3D model of any country to simulate what-if scenarios of energy, transportation, or construction flows. Archividéo will be a part of Dassault Systèmes’ new brand GEOVIA, which was started with the 2012 acquisition of Gemcom Software International.

This type of 3D city model allows more consistent and accurate merging of multiple sources of data (from open data to proprietary information), and provides an independent reference for a city and all the players involved in it. Archividéo’s heuristic technology, geo-photographic modeling, and procedural modeling technologies allows complex urban and geo-environment models to be quickly created, with deep detail and tight mapping to the real world. Dassault Systèmes’ expects to help authorities plan and manage urban developments. The vendor aspires to help countries like China that are facing urbanization complexity to anticipate country development and to improve their citizens’ quality of life.

Archividéo has had a long partnership with IGN, the French National Geographic Institute that co-published the online service Territoire3D. The company has over 250 customers, ranging from cities and municipalities to major utilities and other technology companies. The potential of Archividéo’s technology and applications is broad. Dassault Systèmes is trailblazing in this esoteric design software category; its direct PLM and CAD competitors lack similar capabilities.

Gaining Traction

While the impact of a recent soft economic environment has been visible on Dassault Systèmes’ mainstream CATIA, ENOVIA, and SOLIDWORKS brands, there was a much better market dynamic for specialized applications—i.e., sustained demand for SIMULIA and a very strong quarter for DELMIA (see TEC’s in-depth article on all of these product lines). Dassault Systèmes recently professed the goal of harmonizing of products, nature, and life through various 3DEXPERIENCE universes, and the company’s solid Q2 2013 results bear out this strategy.
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