Autodesk Acquires Solid Dynamics For Mechanical Motion Analysis
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Autodesk Acquires Solid Dynamics For Mechanical Motion Analysis

Autodesk, Inc. announced the acquisition of Solid Dynamics, SA, a French company whose kinematics/dynamics technology enables designers in the manufacturing market to simulate, analyze, test and optimize physical motion and loading in mechanical assemblies, a process known as motion simulation and analysis. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Solid Dynamics' technology is already in use by Autodesk customers as a certified application of Autodesk Inventor. The acquisition will allow Autodesk to integrate the technology into future releases of its design software product line.

This technology is vital to designers who want to simulate the motion of mechanical assemblies without the expense of building physical prototypes, thereby significantly reducing costs and time to market. This increased design efficiency allows designers to realize their ideas, spending more time on innovative designs that provide a distinct business advantage.

"Dynamic simulation is another example of how Autodesk is delivering highly sophisticated functionality to all manufacturers," said Robert Kross, vice president of Autodesk's Manufacturing Solutions Division. "This acquisition allows us to incorporate Solid Dynamics' technology and engineering team directly into the Autodesk family, providing highly specialized capabilities and expertise to our customers. The Solid Dynamics technology is recognized in the industry as best in class, exactly what we look for as we extend our solution capabilities and further our commitment to the manufacturing market."

Based in Roanne, France, Solid Dynamics was founded in 1992 by Dr. Fabien Chojnowski, the CEO and president; and Laurent Chojnowski, director of R&D. The company's technology is used by commercial manufacturers and in education -- notably in French high schools and universities that offer mechanical engineering training.

Not too surprisingly, Autodesk recently polled its manufacturing customers, and dynamic simulation was ranked as a key technology requirement in helping them achieve significant cost reductions and time-to-market improvements, largely due to the reduction in the number of physical prototypes required. Motion products from Solid Dynamics are available for Inventor, SolidWorks, CATIA, as well as a standalone version. The version for integration with Inventor is called MotionInventor and is an interesting tool for simulating mechanisms.

MotionInventor lets you fully define the physical environment in which an assembly will operate. You can then simulate the dynamic behavior of your model, analyze the results, and refine the design before making any physical prototypes. You can specify mechanical joints between parts with play, dry friction, torque, imposed motion, non-permanent contact, stiffness, damping, stops, locks and laws of motion. A large range of mechanical joints can be simulated, including permanent, rolling, sliding, and also non-permanent contact. You can also calculate accurate loading for FEA of components.

Large and complex moving assemblies coupled with hundreds of articulated moving parts can be simulated. The software provides interactive, simultaneous, and associative visualization of 3D animations with trajectories, velocity and force vectors, deformable springs. Graphical and numerical results are achieved using a graph generation tool for representing and post-processing the simulation output data.

I assume that MotionInventor motion/mechanism analysis will be integrated into the next version of Inventor Professional. It will provide a complement to the FEA stress analysis capability (courtesy of Ansys) that is currently in Inventor Professional and will continue to round out the overall simulation side of Inventor.

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Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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