CAE roll-ups continue, with Siemens and Altair active

Apr 1, 2019 | Hot Topics

I work with a lot of investors and software companies, and perhaps the most common question I am asked is, what’s left to acquire? It’s rare that an industrial company acquires a simulation provider (as Juul did when it snapped up Envenio); this is usually more about what a software developer can do to expand the range of physics, physical test, user interaction, data management or other capability. Given the breadth of the offering marketed the simulation biggies, it’s getting harder and harder. But as I try to explain, our mathematical explanations of physical phenomena just keep growing, meaning that the expansion potential is still pretty vast. Two cases in point: both Siemens and Altair acquired technologies in the last week.

Siemens announced last week that it will acquire Saab Medav’s Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) testing business. Saab Medav is part of that Saab, but that Saab is much more than cars and aircraft — it also makes signal processing and quality solutions such as for NVH testing. In this context, Saab Medav supplies its Anovis platform of signal recording, signal analysis, mobile vehicle measurements and similar technologies. for early discovery of damage on the test bench. Saab Medev says it has “hundreds of installations … working in the field”, with an impressive customer list. Siemens says the Saab Medev team will join the Siemens PLM Software business, and that the solutions will be incorporated into the Simcenter simulation and test platform.

Jan Leuridan, SVP of Siemens PLM’s Simulation & Test Solutions said, “With the integration of Saab Medav NVH quality testing solutions, Siemens customers can gain the ability to enrich the digital twin of their product design with continuous quality control information from manufacturing.”

The transaction is to complete in the second calendar quarter of 2019 and, as is typical for Siemens, no purchase details were released.

Not to be out-acquired, Altair just announced that it has bought Cambridge Collaborative’s SEAM software, a high-frequency noise and vibration predictive technology. Altair says that SEAM will help product designers across industries meet buyer expectations for quieter products and create many other more positive user experiences. Altair says that the statistical energy analysis (SEA) embedded into SEAM enables designers “to identify and solve noise and vibration problems early in the design cycle, saving critical time and money, shortening the product development cycle and improving user experience”.

Altair CEO Jim Scapa takes a more romantic view of SEAM’s capabilities, saying “This sophisticated software has helped launch submarines, spaceships, cars and planes, and we are confident it will be a strategic complement to Altair’s portfolio. We continue to focus on our mission of enabling our customers to innovate intelligently through the use of our cutting-edge algorithms.”

SEAM software will be added to the Altair HyperWorks platform and will be integrated with other Altair technologies like NVH Director and OptiStruct for noise and vibration analysis, and UltraFluidX to simulate noise with external aerodynamics studies.

This one sounds like a done deal, though no details of the acquisition were released.

Did I see either of these coming? No — but, in hindsight, they make a lot of sense. Siemens, through its LMS acquisition, has a strong history of serving the automotive industry with NVH. This acquisition fills a gap I didn’t know existed and positions the company’s offering even more tightly for the electric vehicle market. Altair, on the other hand, is acquiring cool add-ons to its Hyperworks platform to make it into a one-stop shop across many industries and physics domains. Two thumbs up.