Altair continues buildout, buys developer of ESAComp

Sep 14, 2017 | Hot Topics

Altair just announced that it has acquired Componeering, the Finnish developer of the ESAComp composites simulation software suite. I didn’t know this, but Altair’s announcement says that ESAComp came out of a project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA — get it?!) ). That goes a long way towards explaining ESAComp’s widespread use in the aerospace industry and, increasingly, adoption in other industries where lightweighting and strength tradeoffs are being made.

Unusually, the press release talks about how the deal was made — and it’s quite interesting and probably reflects how a lot of these deals start. ESAComp has been part of the Altair Partner Alliance offering for years, so customers had access to it alongside their HyperWorks licenses. One customer, RUAG Space, approached the companies about tighter integration of HyperWorks and ESAComp, to “streamline … and eliminate unnecessary breaks in the data flow,” according to Ralf Usinger, Manager Innovation & Industrialization, RUAG Space, in the press announcement. Clearly, the companies worked well together and led to today’s announcement. No financial details were given, but it sounds like a done deal.

If you’re not familiar with it, ESAComp is used in the design and analysis of composites. Composites are usually sandwich-like structures of layers that add strength or stiffening or some other mechanical attribute; it’s these layers that make composites so difficult to simulate. ESAComp includes a materials database that jumpstarts the design process, and feeds into analytical tools for the sandwich as a whole and for the micromechanics of each layer. Now realize that composites are three-dimensional, and ESAComp’s capabilities in flat and curved panels, stiffened panels, beams and columns, bonded and mechanical joints becomes impressive.

Altair’s CTO forSolvers and Optimization, Dr. Uwe Schramm, said that “Componeering’s ESAComp adds classic, well-established expertise to the Altair HyperWorks suite for early design of layered composite structures. Altair’s customers across all industries will benefit from the knowledge of composite design embedded in the product and tight integration with OptiStruct and Multiscale Designer. This integration with HyperWorks will bring more streamlined processes and time savings by having everything in one workflow.”

Componeering is pitching the acquisition this way: “Componeering continues at its Helsinki premises and becomes Altair Engineering Finland Oy … The acquisition brings to Altair our team with expertise in composites along with our industry-proven composites software ESAComp which complements Altair’s finite element offering perfectly on both pre- and post-processing side …  For ESAComp users, the future is bright. ESAComp continues as a stand-alone product, under Altair’s HyperWorks suite, and ESAComp technology will also be integrated in other Altair products. This will enable even more streamlined processes and time-savings by having everything in one workflow: A benefit for designers across all industries working with layered composite structures. In the coming weeks, Altair will be contacting ESAComp users to introduce themselves and to discuss the new opportunities that are now available.”

Composites are increasingly used in cars, planes, household and personal gadgets, ships and other manufactured items. Designers are looking for weight reduction, strength improvement and to create products that attract buyers with shapes that only composites can create. Simulating composites from concept to use case is hard; there is a near-infinite variety in the materials, glues and manufacturing methods, and every combo must be examined for the unique attributes it creates. Then, the use case needs to be considered: will the product delaminate, degrading all of the carefully designed attributes? Tighter integration with FEA will save time and lead to the evaluation of many more design alternatives.