You’ve been asking some great questions, here on the blog, via email and over on LinkedIn — and since you tell me you rarely have time to go back and look at old posts for updates, I’ve collected a few right here, right now.

First, more on Siemens closing the Mentor acquisition last week. You wondered what would happen to Mentor’s CFD brand, Flomerics, given that Siemens PLM spent a great deal of money to acquire CD-adapco a few years ago. Here’s Siemens’ Shaun Ennis on the company’s intentions:

At this point we view everything as potential to enhance each other’s offerings and thereby providing our customers with a more complete solution. Although detailed discussions haven’t taken place yet specific to FlowEFD we do see potential to offer FlowEFD to SMB customers wanting WIP CFD answers in the electronics industry, as an embedded component. We also can see a complement with the CD-adapco offerings. Upon close the respective teams will be meeting to further detail the potential. Flomerics FloEFD will continue to support 3rd party products. We have always supported openness and the ability to integrate multi-vendor applications and share information with the supply chain.

My take on this: CD-adapco is a high-end product, with a high-end price tag. Flomerics, via the plugins to SolidWorks and other mid-weight tools, is more accessible to many more users. It’s up to Siemens to figure out how to target each offering, where duplication might be a good thing, and to create those WIP (work in progress) workflows where it can. The most important bit it the last: FloEFD plugins don’t seem to be going anywhere.

I also asked about Cadence and Synopsys, and how Siemens views that competitive space. Mr. Ennis responded:

With Mentor on board Siemens intends to invest and compete aggressively in the EDA market. We will continue to invest in IC design tools and keep our solutions at the leading edge. Siemens sees IC design as an integral part of our business strategy and a real opportunity for market expansion.

That’s cool. I’m not at all an expert in EDA (last touched that stuff while I was at Computervision in the 1980s/1990s) but more competition is always good, as is a statement of commitment to those Mentor customers who now find themselves to be Siemens customers.

Moving on to ESI’s results for the fiscal year ended January 2017. ESI’s earnings releases can be quite opaque, and I really appreciate the opportunities I have to speak with management for a bit more detail. We couldn’t make a live call work this time, so emailed back and forth to get a bit more clarity. ESI’s Director of Corporate Governance Corinne Romefort-Régnier gathered the following answers to my question regarding focus and direction:

ESI’s focus on new technologies, methods and initiatives overshadows its traditional virtual manufacturing offerings in recent earnings announcements. What’s happening with the traditional tool sets?
ESI has been certainly the pioneer of the virtual press especially after the acquisition of Optris in 1999. ESI gains the reputation to be the most accurate representing the way to skip costly press setup. And ESI keeps this reputation to be the most accurate virtual press for sheet metal forming (PAM-STAMP) and recently the fastest one. In addition ESI had a superior technology in many special forming variances for a very large such as hot-forming, rubber forming, hard rolling forming, superplastic forming, etc. for transportation, aero, Heavy Industry, Fabricated Material, Consumer products, etc.; another very differentiator of ESI sheet forming solution (SMF) is the fact that we can threat the full assembly line including welding, assembly, heat treatment etc in a single core environment providing the most accurate SMF solution. Positioning ESI has a solid # 2 in the SMF. 

[#1 is Autoform, a company that recently was acquired by a private equity firm for a boatload of money . — Ed.] 

Autoform came from a different approach: Rapid sheet metal forming analysis providing rapid evaluation of the Formability of material for costing evaluation of tool and die. Expanding faster than ESI in the Press Tooling design. Those solutions were largely appreciated in the relationship between OEM Automakers and their suppliers as the standard for bidding for tooling … [Autoform] continue to expand including in more accurate representation but never eat up the business of ESI which stays the ultimate supplier for VALIDATION before production . Nevertheless ESI has continuously developed an integrated die design solution (including a fully CATIA based solution)

The fully integrated solution is completely compatible with the full VMS (Virtual Manufacturing Solution) in term of accuracy, speed, variety of special process , Multimaterial, completely encapsulated within the Visual Environment, Visual Process and Visual DSS allowing a degree of automation and optimization allowing super benefit in term of productivity .

The next stage of ESI stamp will be fully GEOMETRIC based to allow economy of CAD EXPERTs in the Tool and Die solution combined with easy to use for stamp practitioners. But globally VMS is the biggest business of ESI in line with the virtual prototyping’s claim of ESI

On a broader view we have release during FY16 [calendar 2016 — Ed.] the leading ESI COMPOSITE Solutions totally integrated within Visual Environment , Visual Process and Visual DSS, we are launching a comprehensive Additive Manufacturing solutions, we have numerous on-going projects for next generation physics-base NC Machining solutions, etc. And of course we are taking new large projects ( co-creation, EU, etc.) in line with our PPL (PRODUCT PERFORMANCE LIFECYCLE ) solutions benefitting the VMS of AI, IOT, ML, that will be revealed as soon as authorized by various users.

My take: ESI has a lot of products which don’t get much publicity — but which are important from a revenue/earnings perspective and to solidify ESI’s position in the market. By focusing so much on the new (and inventing terms like PPL), the lens isn’t often enough on the strong performers in the lineup. But now we know that they do still matter to ESI, and that ESI continues to invest in them. I’m looking forward to physics-based NC — that ought to be interesting!

Finally, a year ago Geometric Solutions announced that it would be acquired by HCL Technologies, an engineering services business. That deal finally closed and, as of March 15, Geometric Solutions became GeometricPLM by HCL Technologies. The combo company says it is “one of only eight 21st century listed technology companies in the world to cross $1bn in Net Profit, $6bn in Revenue and $15bn in Market Capitalization … [The] Engineering R&D Services (ERS) line-of-business has today grown to a 25,000+ strong technology workforce aligned to the engineering objectives of its customers. From product blueprinting to support, from software or hardware to mechanical engineering, HCL works with the R&D units of the leading engineering and technology companies across the world – across all key industry-verticals. HCL ERS is making all the right investments with a sharp focus on transformational 21st century technologies to emerge as a partner of choice for its customers in helping transform their business. Geometric today, is embarking on this journey with HCL.”

That’s it for now. Keep the questions coming!


Updates: Siemens+Mentor, ESI earnings, what ever happened to Geometric?

Apr 4, 2017 | Hot Topics