Global intelligenceThere’s never a dull moment, is there?

Kernels and marketing 101

Earlier this week SolidWorks CEO Bertrand Sicot took to the company blog to talk about the future of the core SolidWorks product, add-on offerings and which kernel will be used where. You may recall that a couple of years ago then-CEO Jeff Ray said that his team was working to swap out Parasolid (a Siemens PLM product) for CGM (a Dassault Systèmes product that underlies CATIA). Ever since, the company has been sidestepping/avoiding/confusing people by not clearly stating what was going to happen or when. Competitors loved it because it gave them a reason to call on SolidWorks customers, analysts opined, and SolidWorks customers wondered what the heck was going on.

This week’s blog post said, in part:

SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is the first of many planned complementary products that will … use components developed internally by Dassault Systèmes.

SolidWorks Mechanical CAD … will continue to leverage the Parasolid kernel. There is no plan to change the kernel. [W]e will continue to develop and improve SolidWorks Mechanical CAD, and have no end-of-life plan for the tool …

It’s entirely possible that this is exactly what SolidWorks has meant all along, although I don’t remember it that way. But the company’s language has been so confusing and contradictory that it gave competitors the opportunity to put their own spin on it. DS used to be a marketing machine: no matter who you talked with, the message was 100% consistent. People had memorized the day’s/week’s/month’s message down to the tiniest nuance. CEO Bernard Charles and a local marketing guy said the exact same thing. I hope, for SolidWorks’ sake, that M. Sicot can get all of the DS execs saying (15:05) the same thing about SolidWorks …

Of course, even M. Sicot’s unambiguous statement leaves a lot unsaid: how does one get a part from Mechanical Conceptual to Mechanical CAD? How will the other complementary products interact with SolidWorks? What about legacy models?  But if you use old-school SolidWorks and don’t see yourself needing these new complementary products, this should ease your concern.

[Full disclosure: Schnitger Corp. wrote a white paper about CAD kernels last year that was funded by Siemens. We cover some of the very good reasons CAD vendors switched kernels in the past and try to map out the costs to the user.]

One word: Composites

Composites are right now what plastics were when The Graduate made famous the quote: “One word, plastics”. On Wednesday, ANSYS announced that it has acquired its partner EVEN (aka Evolutionary Engineering), perhaps best know for its ComPoLyX offering for composite failure analysis. The EVEN team of 12 will become ANSYS Switzerland, a wholly owned subsidiary of ANSYS, Inc. ANSYS and EVEN partnered up in 2008 and currently offer ANSYS Composite PrepPost, a pre/post-processing solution for layered composites. The teams are now working to integrate ANSYS Composite PrepPost into ANSYS Mechanical and the clear growth in the use and importance of composites technology as well as the “synergy of the teams [and] our common goals” led to the deal. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

This acquisition also helps ANSYS jumpstart its consulting business. The EVEN team has broad industry application experience in wind, marine, automotive and aerospace.