Yesterday, I marveled at how many acquisitions have gone down in the engineering software world in the last 10 days or so — and today, we add two more to that list.
The Siemens Industry Automation Division announced that it has acquired VRcontext, whose Walkinside has been a mainstay of 3D visualization for collaboration and training in shipbuilding and process plant construction. VRcontext used to exhibit at the Daratech Plant conferences, so I am very familiar with the product and its developers — and its customers, who typically rave about Walkinside. Walkinside uses CAD and other data to realistically display an asset that users interact with using an Xbox 360 handset or a helmet device. I’ve seen users practice maintenance tasks to minimize the amount of time spent in hazardous environments, plan escape routes in case of fire or other danger, and designers work through concepts in Walkinside’s immersive model.
VRcontext was having a hard time offering global distribution and support, so being part of the Siemens family will bring it to a wider audience than it could get to on its own. Siemens Automation Division’s software offering already includes COMOS, an integrated solution for plant lifecycle management and, of course, Siemens PLM. It is unclear to me how Siemens plans to create a single message around its design and maintenance/operations software offerings for the process and power industry — but it’s an embarrassment of riches, so not a bad problem to have.
In another bit of news for the process industries, AspenTech announced that it has acquired the PSVPlus software product from Softbits Consultants. Designers use PSVPlus to size pressure relief valves to ensure the safety and reliability of process plants. Incorrect pressure relief = boom. AspenTech says that PSVPlus will eventually enable it to provide a complete overpressure protection system optimization capability.