Altair acquires Univ of Bath startup for additive manufacturing
Altair just announced that it has acquired Gen3D, a “startup out of the University of Bath, U.K”. I wasn’t aware that Gen3D but Altair characterizes the company as “implementing the implicit geometry method for describing highly complex geometries such as lattice structures in additive manufacturing (AM)”.
Altair says Gen3D uses implicit modeling to “rapidly create complex geometry not practical with traditional boundary representation (BREP) solid approaches”. This fits into Altair’s upfront simulation approach because parts can be designed by specifying functional requirements such as loads, hole locations, keep-out zones, and other specifics.
Why is this interesting to Altair? Because additive will, once material technology, printers, and corporate acceptance of the technique heats to its potential, require redesigning a lot of parts that we currently make using subtractive techniques. The redesign can be done using upfront, topology optimization techniques — but also likely means rerunning simulations to ensure that the new design/materials/process creates a part that is as functional as the older version. Added together, this will be a big, big market.
Said Altair CEO Jim Scapa, Gen3D’s technology “helps organizations navigate the challenges of design for additive manufacturing”. But as with most acquisitions of this type, it’s as much about what they do as who they are. Mr. Scapa continues, “the Gen3D team brings deep industry knowledge and experience in advanced additive design techniques such as generative design, topology optimization, and lattice structure generation.
Altair says Gen3D’s technology will be integrated into Altair Inspire, the product family targeted at simulation-driven design.
Terms were not announced, but it seems like a done deal.