EarningsAltair today announced that it is acquiring Visual Solutions, makers of the VisSim graphical block diagram language for modeling and simulating complex dynamic systems, including embedded systems.

Visual Solutions says it has over 250,000 users worldwide, scientists and engineers in process control, aerospace, mechatronics, electric motor control, pulp and paper, nuclear, wind and hydro power, data communications, economics, HVAC, and biomedical applications, who rely on VisSim’s for real-time execution of high fidelity models.

As more users move towards modeling and simulating the controller along with the plant being controlled, and automatic generating the controller codes, technologies like VisSim become more critical. VisSim itself lets users define and simulating large-scale complex dynamic systems; VisSim add-ons extend this functionality to include real-time hardware-in-the-loop prototyping and control, C code generation, and the modeling, simulation, and building of embedded systems.

I did a bit of research into this area several years ago and learned that this workflow, from simulation through to code, is critical. Block diagram tools like VisSim (as well as LabView, MapleSim and MATLAB/Simulink, among others) let users drag and drop blocks into a work space and join them to CREATE OR REPLACE VIEWs into design.  He said that Virtual.Lab and Samcef feed into 3D systems simulation while Amesim (aka Imagine.Lab) is used in 1D system synthesis, all supported by Test.Lab and SCADAS for test-based engineering. Integrating all of this with Teamcenter and NX takes time, but is proceeding well and will ultimately result in scalable 1D to 3D simulation with real-time virtual to physical and back again. It’s unique — no one else can boast the combination of CAE/simulation and physical test; 1D, 2D and 3D.

  • On the business front, Siemens PLM stayed stumm. Tony Hemmelgarn, EVP, Global Sales, gave a few tantalizing hints that I still haven’t had time to parse: Total revenue is up 7% on a compound annual growth basis from 2009 to 2013; organic license revenue is up 13% on the same basis. Mr. Hemmelgarn believes that Siemens PLM grew faster than PTC and DS in 2013 — though I need to check on the numbers and basis of presentation. We’ve got calendar vs fiscal, Dollars vs Euros, organic vs acquired — it’s a mishmash that will take time to detangle.
  • The lack of numbers is frustrating but typical of mega conglomerates like Siemens. I can imagine that the company is more forthcoming when customers demand answers … I’ll get into the details and try to write more about it soon.
  • Siemens also spent a lot of time covering its strategy in various end-industries. I attended as many sessions as I could and it’s clear: Papa Siemens , the AG, is finally figuring out how to combine the PLM assets with his vast array of industrial machinery, medical imaging and other products to create tailored solutions for select industries. At the analyst event and then at the SMM conference in Germany (more on that soon), Siemens PLM spoke about delivering digital models to designers and owners along with the actual, physical generators to help in layout and simulation –not there yet, but coming– as a harbinger of future interaction between systems designers and their suppliers. That’s a good thing, and a differentiator for Siemens among its competitors and for the PLM business, too.

    My takeaways: No big product announcements or wins so the message was continuing focus and execution, ongoing customer successes and moving each product forward. Incremental, perhaps, but strong nonetheless. Incorporating the intellectual property of other Siemens divisions into PLM solutions (or soliciting their input into the solutions, as internal customers) creates best practices that are proven before they even hit commercial air. Someone said that Siemens PLM is “mining” the AG — seems to me a golden strategy.

    More on SMM and the Siemens marine/shipbuilding offer soon — it’s a crazybusy time of year. In the meantime, check out this eye candy: ships, props and machinery. Oh my.

    Image courtesy of Siemens PLM.

    Note: Siemens graciously covered some of the expenses associated with my participation at the event but did not in any way influence the content of this post.