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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

ANSYS Acquiring CEI For Visualizing Simulation Data

July 13th, 2017 by Jeff Rowe

ANSYS, known for its engineering simulation software, announced this week that it has acquired Computational Engineering International Inc. (CEI), the developer of a suite of products for analyzing, visualizing, and communicating simulation data. Terms of the deal, which closed earlier this month, were not disclosed.

The merger of the physical and digital worlds is resulting in products that with an overwhelming number of design decisions compared to previous product generations. That is something only engineering simulation can feasibly provide in a timely and cost-effective fashion. Users need to quickly analyze the huge amount of data that simulation generates to make the best engineering and business decisions.

Headquartered in Apex, North Carolina, CEI has 28 employees and more than 750 customers around the world. Its flagship product, EnSight, is used for analyzing, visualizing, and communicating simulation data in terms that mere mortals can comprehend.

“CEI has a long track record of success thanks to fantastic technology built by a world-class team,” said Mark Hindsbo, ANSYS vice president and general manager. “By bringing CEI’s leading visualization tools into the ANSYS portfolio, customers will be able to make better engineering and business decisions, leading to even more amazing products in the future.”

“We’ve worked with ANSYS informally for years, but now are thrilled to become part of this great company,” said Anders Grimsrud, CEI president. “Joining ANSYS will give our customers access to the best engineering simulation technology on the planet, and EnSight will help ANSYS users make faster, smarter decisions. It’s a win-win.”

ANSYS has agreed to purchase (merge) CEI Inc. and CEI’s subsidiaries in Germany, Japan, and India. As a result CEI is now a wholly owned subsidiary of ANSYS.  Previously CEI was owned privately, including shares held by some CEI employees. The international subsidiaries continue to be subsidiaries of CEI, Inc. and are, therefore, also 100% owned by ANSYS.

CEI, Inc. will continue operating, writing EnSight and related software, and continue serving customers.  No changes are currently planned that will affect product availability to its customers.

All staff members were offered jobs to remain at CEI, and all but one are remaining. EnSight software support, operations, availability, marketing, and sales are not affected.

Anticipating some concerns and questions, the company responded via the following Q&A:

Q:  Is this a good thing for the future of EnSight?
A:  This will be a good thing for all of our customers for a number of reasons:

  1. As we become integrated into ANSYS our customer will be able to reach technical support from multiple continents during all time zones.
  2. We will be adopting ANSYS development tools and procedures which should result in more robust software.
  3. ANSYS has an entire testing department which will provide the opportunity to find and correct more problems before you see a software release.
  4. We will have access to human factors expertise to help us build better user experiences.
  5. We will have access to a host of technology and expertise from ANSYS that we can take advantage of in the CEI products.
  6. Working from within the ANSYS sales and distribution channels we will surely gain many more customers.  More customers allows us more revenue to invest in more technology development.  More development means you will gain access to even more capability than you have now.
  7. Removing the burden of corporate compliance will allow us to spend more time and resources on software development.
  8. The integration with ANSYS solvers will become better and higher performance.  EnSight will also be integrated with ANSYS Workbench.

EnSight 2D Bounds Demonstration

Q: How will this affect the short, medium, and long term development plans for EnSight?
A: Short term roadmap for EnSight remains unchanged. CEI continues to be focused on serving the needs of EnSight customers. The medium term development roadmap for EnSight will begin to involve the requirements of a larger deployment of EnSight through ANSYS. Longer term development is still focused on providing the best post processing, visualization and analysis software for CAE simulations.

Q:  I have ANSYS products.  Will EnSight be bundled with my license so I get it included?
A:  In the short term nothing changes, i.e., EnSight will need to be licensed independently.  Longer term EnSight can always be purchased separately but it’s also possible that a “option pack” from ANSYS will include it – this decision simply has not been made yet.

Q:  I don’t have ANSYS products.  Can I still purchase licenses and support & maintenance?
A:  Absolutely.  There is no requirement to have other ANSYS products.

Q: How do I renew my EnSight software for next year?
A: Renewals will be handled in exactly the same way by exactly the same personnel at CEI.  No changes.

Q: Are CEI employees now ANSYS employees?
A: Yes.  CEI employees are still CEI employees.  But since CEI is a wholly owned subsidiary of ANSYS, CEI employees are also ANSYS employees.  In the same way that citizens of North Carolina are also citizens of the United States.

Q: What is actually going to change?
A: We will have future announcements about future changes. Our current focus is on a smooth continuation of operations. To be sure the overall goal will continue to be serving customers with our engineering simulation post-processing and visualization software, EnSight.

Q:  What is coming next?
A:  We’ve recently released EnSight 10.2 and our all new 3D viewer EnVision.  We just released the first version of Nexus.  Don’t know what Nexus is?  It’s big and exciting!  A launch of Nexus will be coming up soon.

Q: Will CEI licensing system change?
A: Not in the short term. Longer term, any changes will allow our customers a slow and orderly transition to any new license manager.

Q: Will being part of ANSYS hurt CEI’s support for data formats from solvers which are competitors to ANSYS?
A:  ANSYS desires all of our interfaces to continue forward with enhancements and support.  Of course we can not predict how ANSYS competitors might react, but we hope to continue our long and productive history of providing EnSight users access to data from a large number of CAE data formats.

Q: Where can I find more information about CEI and EnSight?

ANSYS said that more information would be provided during its Q2 earnings call, which has not yet been scheduled.

Looks like a good move by ANSYS.

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