ESI Group acquires ITI GmbH to add 0D/1D to its offering

Jan 6, 2016 | Hot Topics

ESI Group just announced that it has acquired 96% of ITI GmbH, maker of the 0D/1D SimulationX solution, and has the option to purchase the remaining 4% in three years. All ITI staff will join ESI (and it sounds like it will be business as usual for ITI customers, at least in the short-term). Remember the added borrowing ESI announced at it’s last earnings? That’s what’s funding the acquisition — though no price was announced for the deal.

ESI’s statement says that ITI has 700 clients spread over 27 countries and reported revenue of €5.4 million in 2014. ESI lists Ford, Liebherr, Nikon, Siemens and Total as representative ITI clients, and points out that these span a wide set of industries — many outside ESI’s historical strength in ground transport. Aside from bringing 0D/1D technology to what has mostly been a 3D offering, ITI brings the opportunity to cross-sell ESI’s main portfolio into new industries.

0D/1D technology is increasingly important, as it’s a type of simulation that can be done early in a design cycle, quickly and with limited information. This allows many more alternatives to be quickly evaluated and sorted into those that should be pursued in more detail or abandoned before more effort is wasted on them. Too, many products now involve non-geometric systems like controls and software; 0D/1D is perfectly suited to capture their impact upon what will eventually be a fully 3D design. In a perfect world, these types of simulations will be integrated and managed to ensure that the simplified representations correctly represent the design as more and more detail is added.

SimulationX supports the Modelica language, an open-source, object-oriented language of equations that is used to model complex systems of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, control, power and other components. These components can be created –say for a particular type of fuel cell battery– and shared, enabling researchers and industry to collaborate without disclosing proprietary information. That’s a simplification for the non-CAE readers, but incredibly important in complex supply chains where critical components are designed in parallel. SimulationX supplies its own libraries as well, and a drag-and-drop interface to tie components together into systems.

The real benefit of 0D/1D comes when these components can be exercised in a variety of domains, say the heat generated by a mechanical braking system or the drag on an engine climbing up a hill when the air conditioner is turned on. This intersection of mechanics, electronics, and controls isn’t optional, as car makers want to recover the braking system energy, or optimize and entire vehicle’s energy usage across many different systems.

ESI CEO Alain de Rouvray says of the deal that the deal brings together “two leaders and two complementary types of model representation in virtual engineering … This acquisition allows ESI to expand upstream its positioning in the industrial product manufacturing value chain. The advantage becomes critical and disruptive when innovation changes the system component interaction, which is increasingly common. ESI Group’s collaborative virtual engineering platform will provide direct access to a product’s functional features and enable more efficient and faster decisions to be made at the system level. We are very confident in this unique and disruptive operation’s value-creating potential, driven by the substantial and effective commercial and technological synergies in the short term and immediately accretive.”