EarningsAcquisition news continues to roll. Yesterday, Altair announced that it has acquired Multiscale Design Systems, makers of the MDS suite of products that enable modeling, simulation, testing and optimization using multiple spatial and temporal scales. I know, I know: what does that mean? Composites, for example, are made up of strands of fiber that can be specifically oriented to meet objectives for the completed material. That has implications from the atomic level all the way to the finished product. What are the material’s properties at the tiniest, Angstrom, level to the full-sized, millimeter, levels? How can you gain the fullest-possible understanding to make sure that the material is right for your use? By using multiscale methods that enable traditional finite element methods to upscale and downscale as required, relying on experimental data where appropriate. But it’s not just composites: auto, aero, biopharma, civil, electronics and other industries use these methods to look at models at different scales.

Multiscale Design Systems’ products include plugins for ABAQUS Standard, ABAQUS Explicit, ANSYS, LS –DYNA (and others?) that add multiscale capabilities to those commercial codes. MDS is a member of the Altair Partner Alliance, so the code has been available to HyperWorks users for the last year. Altair says it plans a much tighter integration with its RADIOSS and OptiStruct solvers as a result of this acquisition.

MDS also markets its own parallel nonlinear macro-solver (MDS-MACRO);  it’s not clear what will happen to that.

Altair’s CTO, Uwe Schramm, said that Altair will continue to support the plugins even as it works to build out their capabilities: “We will continue to develop, enhance, and invest in MDS as part of HyperWorks while retaining an open architecture approach with respect to other 3rd party solvers. Altair is committed to creating good interfaces and continuing to build partnerships to excel in the domain of composite materials.”

MDS was formed to commercialize technology developed as a result of over 20 years of research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Since 2008 MDS has been working to grow the product set by focusing on areas like thermal fatigue, the effects of moisture, physics-based life prediction capabilities, and modeling concrete failure under blast and fragment loading. As a result, says Dr. Jacob Fish, MDS co-founder, “We have partnered with a number of significant original equipment manufacturers to analyze state-of-the-art materials for automotive, aerospace, and defense.”

It seems as though Altair is following its proven pattern: get to know a company, its technology and people through the Hyperworks Partner Network. See how customers respond to the offering, identify holes or areas for greater integration, feel out the current team. If all signs are positive, acquire. This is clearly a technology buy (MDS didn’t have a whole lot of revenue to add to the topline) and will push the company further into fatigue, composites and other materials and multiphysics simulation.

Details of the acquisition were not announced.

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