Hexagon adds to its additive bench

Jun 24, 2019 | Hot Topics

One of the things I learned at Hexagon’s HxGN LIVE conference (but haven’t had time to write about yet, sorry) is that the company is on a mission regarding 3D printing (3DP). Planning, prepping, simulating, doing. Today, Hexagon announced that it is acquiring AMendate to add to the offer.

AMendate makes technology that applies generative design to additive manufacturing processes. I hadn’t heard of AMendate before today but, completely by accident and without any idea that an acquisition was brewing, wound up talking to a couple of people who knew all about generative design and 3D printing at HxGN LIVE — might they have been from AMendate? Hmm.

These gents were passionate about the fact that too many designs are created for subtractive processes and then, OMG, printed additively. They’re not optimized for additive materials, machines or processes. Our conversation dove into generative design tools on the market today; my lunch partners felt that most solutions are too generic and aren’t suitable. They said that purpose-built software will be required before 3DP is used on a large scale, by manufacturers across industries and geos.

Hexagon says AMendate’s generative design software is targeted at just this problem: industrializing additive manufacturing, optimizing components at manufacturing scale in order to reduce raw material waste, improve sustainability, remove excess weight and so on.

Paolo Guglielmini, CEO of MSC Software says that “the AMendate acquisition … enhances our Smart Factory solutions by minimising time-to-print.” Dr. Thomas Reiher, CEO of AMendate adds, “the integration of AMendate’s software in MSC’s established simulation technologies such as Simufact and MSC Apex will enable us to further enhance our technology even faster and make its benefits available to a global audience.”

A couple of things to note about this deal:

  • It reinforces that MSC was a solid acquisition for Hexagon as a whole, creating a focal point for its diverse resources. First autonomous vehicles and now 3DP — MSC is the launchpad for these key efforts.
  • Because of the whole private equity thing, MSC had been lagging behind its competitors in R&D investment and in market-facing positioning. Hexagon is working to fix that, but autonomous and 3DP are such hot technology areas right now that, if handled correctly, they could make MSC relevant again in the eyes of people who had written the company off as a Nastran-only vendor. (That perception is not true, at all –see post to come about HxGN LIVE 2019– but it is the view of prospects who see the continuous news streams from other vendors.)
  • Of course, the end-game isn’t additive alone. It’s a suite of tools that enable designers to simulate all of their manufacturing alternatives: subtractive, additive or a combo of the two. Hexagon is uniquely placed to start closing that loop, combining simulation from MSC with CAM from Vero and metrology hardware and analytics from its sensor business.
  • Finally, announcements like this put MSC back into limelight as an acquirer. In a world where technological innovation is critical and can’t all happen in-house, it’s important that MSC hops back onto that stage.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is expected to close in the third quarter.