Aras & ANSYS team up but no acquisition

Jan 14, 2020 | Hot Topics

This just came into the inbox:

Aras Licenses Platform to ANSYS in Strategic OEM Deal

Partnership will enable better processes and data management of simulations for digital thread traceability across the lifecycle

You know Aras, the open source PLM platform, and you know ANSYS, the CAE powerhouse. What are they doing together? Aras is licensing the Aras Innovator platform to ANSYS so that ANSYS can use it to build configuration management, interoperability with PDM/PLM solutions, and “simulation-specific capabilities to … connect simulation and optimization to the business of engineering”.

Allrighty. What does THAT mean? It’s likely a recognition of the fact that Siemens, with Simcenter+Teamcenter, and Dassault Systemes, with SIMULIA on the V6 3DEXPERIENCE platform, offer something it cannot. Even though ANSYS has had a simulation lifecycle management tool for a decade now, modern innovation cycles need simulation to be governed by the processed and connections made possible by PLM. Simulation can help identify the perfect design, but it’s pointless if it can’t be economically manufactured and supported in the market. Connecting ANSYS’ broad CAE bench to a PLM like Aras lets its users tap into those workflows, ensuring consistent processes and traceability. And since Aras maintains APIs to lots of other platforms, an ANSYS user can get to all sorts of enterprise system via Aras Innovator.

According to the info made public today, ANSYS isn’t buying Aras. Right now, any way. ANSYS says it will deliver commercial offerings for simulation process and data management, process integration, design optimization and simulation-driven data science. on top of Aras Innovator.

Peter Schroer, CEO of Aras, says “We believe that simulation is essential to developing tomorrow’s next generation products, and that better data and process management of simulations is required to enable the digital processes of the future which will support these products. We see the ANSYS and Aras partnership as a potential game changer in connecting simulation to engineering processes for traceability, access and reuse across the product lifecycle.”

For its part, ANSYS’ Navin Budhiraja, VP of cloud and platform business said, “… this unique collaboration combines the strengths of ANSYS’ industry-leading multiphysics portfolio and the resilient platform from Aras for digital connectivity to dramatically enhance customer value … [W]e see the ability of ANSYS solutions to interoperate and link with heterogeneous systems as an important step to accelerate the digital transformation for our customers.”

So many questions: How much ANSYS is investing in this platform? What happens to ANSYS Minerva, the multiphysics collaboration application which carries the logo, “powered by Aras”? Is today’s announcement an outgrowth of a demonstrator AMC Bridge showed last summer (see it here)? AMC Bridge says it “enables users to access Aras Innovator directly from ANSYS AIM, store ANSYS AIM files on the Aras Innovator server, and use the functionality of Aras Innovator to manage ANSYS AIM projects.” How will this go to market — via Aras’ app store or ANSYS’ sales teams or both or something new? Who supports what?

I’ll let you know if I find out more. But for now, the key things are 1. it’s a partnership, not an acquisition; 2. Aras is serious about CAE; and 3. ANSYS continues to reach outside its traditional comfort zone. Partnerships with SAP, PTC and nowAras change the conversation about CAE and make it relevant in new and interesting contexts.