ANSYS turns 40!

I INTRODUCTION:

The editors of MCADCafe.com are pleased to offer its readers a chance to see an article written by long-time MCAD/MCAE and EDA veteran Dr. Russ Henke, about the 40th Anniversary of ANSYS, Inc. (Dr. Henke is the author of the MCAD Commentaries that have appeared quarterly (since 2003) in MCADCafe.com, that recount the then-current financial performances of a group of leading public MCAD/MCAE vendors). This same article (“ANSYS turns 40!”) is running simultaneously on EDACafe.com.

This month's EDA WEEKLY article by this writer features ANSYS, Inc. [0]



Hello? Are there not at least two paradoxes in that opening sentence?

First of all, how does a series of articles that appears monthly, wherein each article initially gets posted in IBSystems' EDACafe.com for a fortnight, ever get called a “WEEKLY”?

Secondly, this is EDA WEEKLY in EDACafe, right? Isn't ANSYS that hoary old Mechanical CAE finite element analysis software vendor that you write about in your MCAD Commentary every quarter, in MCADCafe.com no less?

The answers, my friends, are written in the wind…but I digress.

The answers to those two paradoxical questions are: (1) I don't know, and (2) Yes and no!

Let's deal with the SECOND, more relevant of the two paradoxes. It is certainly true that ANSYS, Inc. is easily the oldest of the previous five companies [1] singularly featured by this writer since his latest series of EDA WEEKLY articles began to appear last Fall; see Table 1 below:

ArticlePosting DateFeatured CompanyFounded
MAD Progress 12/07/09 Mentor Graphics 1981
Virage Logic –
On the Move!
12/22/09 Virage Logic 1996
Agilent EEsof
EDA – Part I
02/01/10 Agilent EEsof 1983
Altium Ltd. –
Focus on the Americas
03/01/10 Altium, Ltd. 1985
Agilent EEsof
EDA – Part II
03/29/10 Agilent EEsof 1983
All About EVE 04/26/10 EVE S.A. 2000
ANSYS turns 40! 07/19/10 ANSYS, Inc. 1970
Table 1 Single Software Vendors covered in this writer’s EDA WEEKLIES



But ANSYS, Inc. at age 40 is hardly ready for a rest home! Rather, it is arguably one of the best positioned software & services entities in existence today for enabling modern product development among its customer base via multiple real world engineering simulations.

Gone are the days when ANSYS software tools were aimed solely at Mechanical CAE.


II FOCUS OF THIS ARTICLE:

Because of its age and accomplishments, a full history of an active and robust 40 year old company such as ANSYS, Inc. would take a several-hundred-page book. So the focus in this article is on ANSYS' more recent activities, such as:
(1) Multi-physics engineering simulation, &
(2) The role of the current CEO in leading ANSYS to its remarkable success over the last decade.


Accordingly, the sequel is organized into the following sections:

  1. MULTI-PHYSICS IS KEY
  2. CEO PIVOTAL
  3. ANSYS TODAY
  4. JUST HOW GOOD ARE ANSYS' FINANCIALS?
  5. EFFECTIVE ACQUISITION STRATEGY
  6. COMPETITION
  7. ONE FINAL EXCELLENT MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS
  8. PERFORMANCE RECOGNIZED
  9. ANSYS CEO'S
  10. PROFILE OF JAMES E. CASHMAN III
  11. FOOTNOTES

By the way, the writer of this article has been frequently involved at arms length in one way or another with SASI/ANSYS from 1970 onward, mostly during SASI's first dozen years, but not altogether infrequently since then. See Footnote [2].



[0] Numbers in brackets refer to Footnotes provided at the end of the article.


III MULTI-PHYSICS IS KEY:

The ANSYS transition has occurred by building on the foundation of the company's first thirty years and relentlessly executing over the last ten years a strategy of assembling a powerful collection integrated software tools for real-world simulation of modern industrial products across multiple physical environments, including not only mechanical and structural influences, but also fluid dynamics, electronics, electro-magnetics, thermal, dynamics & vibration, drop testing, etc. ANSYS' breadth across many forms of physics appears truly unique; it's hard to find any other vendor that offers the same range and depth of electro-magnetics, mechanical and fluids physics.

And all these applications are knitted together and organized with user-friendly, enabling software tools, including ANSYS Workbench TM that accelerates the customer adoption curve and integrates the technologies that ANSYS either builds or acquires, and also eases the installation of third-party technologies within ANSYS' customer environments.


A modern automobile is a perfect example of the evolution of a relatively straight-forward, mostly mechanical & structural vehicle design 25 years ago to today's complex product that demands multi-physics for its proper engineering design and simulation. Each bubble in the illustration below requires electrical, electronic, thermal, or fluid dynamics to be correctly considered.




IV CEO PIVOTAL:

The 10-year transition has been carried out by the team assembled and led by CEO Jim Cashman while simultaneously producing along the way what many consider to be spectacular financial growth and profitability.



Skillful selection and absorption of key acquisitions over the last decade combined with vigorous organic growth have also been exemplary, along with deft leveraging of scores of software partners and modern high performance computing resources.


V ANSYS TODAY:


So these days ANSYS, Inc. globally markets engineering simulation software and multi-physics technologies widely used by engineers and designers across a broad spectrum of industries. ANSYS continues to focus on the development of open and flexible solutions that enable users to analyze designs directly on the desktop, providing a common platform for fast, efficient and cost-conscious product development, from design concept to final-stage testing and validation. Each year, ANSYS developers and applications personnel exert a maximum effort to continually “democratize simulation” by improving and simplifying the user interfaces of ANSYS software, so that ANSYS tools that were once the exclusive realm of PhD experts can now be effectively used by a far broader group of senior analysts and design engineers.

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