Virtual Prototyping and Simulation Market Poised for Significant Growth

Category 2002 (Est Sales and Service) 2003 Forecast
PLM Market $7.49 billion
(down 5% from 2001)
$7.84 billion
(up 5% from 2002)
Mechanical CAD/CAM $4.37 billion
(down 10% from 2001)
$4.51 billion
(up 3% from 2002)
Virtual Prototyping + Simulation $1.53 billion
(up 1% from 2001)
$1.64 billion
(up 7% from 2002)
Systems Performance Modeling $794 million
(up 8% from 2001)
$865 million
(up 9% from 2002)
Structural Analysis $725 million
(down 6% from 2001)
$766 million
(up 6% from 2002)
source: Daratech (2/28/03)

It may represent only a subset of the product lifecycle management (PLM) sector, but in the increasingly important area of virtual prototyping and simulation, the growth opportunities are significant, with analysts estimating an average annual growth rate of 11.5% over the next five years to reach nearly $2.5 billion in 2007. In particular, systems performance modeling (defined as the segment of the digital prototyping and simulation market that includes solvers plus pre-and post-processors for CFD, crash, dynamics and motion, forging and mold design, durability and fatigue, heat transfer and thermal interactions, NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness), and control systems design, as well as analysis optimization, process modeling and results visualization) will enjoy vigorous growth of 14% annually over the next five years, topping $1.4 billion in 2007, according to Daratech, the Cambridge, MA-based market research and technology assessment firm.

Factors driving growth in this breakout segment of the digital prototyping (CAE) market include: the pressures on manufacturers to spend less on product development and shorten time-to-market by reducing physical prototype counts. According to Daratech, also spurring investment in digital prototyping is the rapidly improving price/performance of high-performance computers, together with better-quality deployment, implementation and training, as well as growing user and management confidence in simulation accuracy and correlation with physical test results.

The bottom line? There's "money to be made and money to be saved" using the latest virtual prototyping and simulation tools, particularly with respect to bridging the worlds of physical and virtual test. In this area, the companies to watch include: MSC Software (which acquired market leader, Mechanical Dynamics, Inc. last year), LMS International, ESI Group, ANSYS Corp., MTS Systems Corporation, Fluent, Altair Engineering, and CFX (recently acquired by ANSYS Corp.) as well as the leading CAD/CAM, CAE PLM providers - IBM/Dassault Systemes, EDS-PLM Solutions, and PTC.

Interested in learning more? Mark your calendars for the upcoming conference, daratechiDPS2003-- Intelligent Digital Prototyping Strategies, currently scheduled for June 9-10, 2003 in Novi, MI.

Another valuable source of information about this topic is the online resource, SmartSim Community, launched by MTS Systems Corporation, Mechanical Dynamics Inc. (MDI) and nCode International. Created in response to the automotive industry's demand for accelerated vehicle performance evaluation, the SmartSim Community was established by its founders to research and develop effective methods for sharing and using engineering data through integrated physical and virtual prototyping.

Comments? Feedback? Email Contact to tell us what you think about this topic or if you have additional information you'd like to share on this subject!

Amy Rowell is the managing editor of MCADCafe, and the editor of MCAD Weekly Review.

p.s. This week, March 3-6th, 2003 MCADCafe will be attending the National Design and Engineering Show (NDES), in Chicago. So stay tuned for important industry announcements and product news, as well as additional coverage and conference highlights.

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