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November 21, 2011
Siemens To Acquire Vistagy
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Siemens expands its industrial software portfolio with the acquisition of Vistagy, Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, a leading supplier of specialized engineering software and services with emphasis on designing and manufacturing structures made of advanced composite materials. An agreement to this effect was signed in early November. This acquisition allows Industry Automation, a Division of the Siemens Industry Sector, to continue to enhance its position as the world’s leading supplier of industrial software. The parties agreed not to disclose the terms of the acquisition. The transaction is subject to customary
approvals, and is expected to close before the end of 2011.

Companies that use composite materials like carbon fiber components in their products are faced with the task of further reducing costs and time-to-market in order to sharpen the competitive edge composites offer. With their unique combination of low weight, high strength, and durability, composite structures are already used extensively in the aerospace industry and for rotor blades of wind power turbines. Composite materials will continue to experience more widespread use – primarily in the automotive and marine industries – as the complexity and time required for developing and producing composite structures is

This is precisely the aim Siemens is pursuing by adding industry-specific engineering software to its industrial software portfolio for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Already today, Siemens is among the technology leaders for the automation of production lines for carbon fiber components. With the acquisition of Vistagy, Siemens will become the only company worldwide to support the whole value creation for carbon fiber components with its software tools – from product definition and development to manufacturing and service.

“Advanced software solutions tailored to specific industry requirements are vital for companies to achieve the next level of performance in their products. This type of industry focus will be the differentiating factor for success in the industry software market”, said Anton S. Huber, CEO of the Siemens Industry Automation Division. “The planned integration of our PLM Software business with Vistagy’s universally acknowledged expertise in industry-specific software, such as composites, will make us the partner of choice in this market today and well into the future.”

Vistagy, Inc., is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Around 300 customers worldwide are applying Vistagy’s software products for a variety of applications ranging from composites engineering and design and manufacture of complex assemblies and large aerostructures to design and manufacture of transportation seat systems and interior components. Siemens is planning to integrate the software supplier and its products, services and support into its PLM Software Business Unit, a part of the Siemens Industry Automation Division. Siemens PLM Software is a leading global supplier of software and services with the capability
to optimize the entire lifecycle of products and radically reduce their time-to-market. The company’s well-established open business model that serves the needs of all customers regardless of their mix of IT solutions and CAD platforms will help ensure the ongoing support and satisfaction of all Vistagy customers.

“Vistagy has spent the last 20 years supporting the engineering and production work of its customers by providing robust solutions and excellent service,” said Steve Luby, Vistagy, Inc.’s President and CEO. “We have been working successfully in partnership with Siemens PLM Software for a long time. And now we are looking forward to becoming a part of Siemens’ comprehensive offerings and to significantly expand our current customer base.”

Recent years have seen a number of acquisitions by the Siemens Industry Automation Division, in each case involving leaders in their respective field of industrial software: UGS in the United States (2007), Innotec in Germany (2008), Elan Software Systems in France (2009) and Active SA in Brazil (2011).

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

Well, the acquisition march continues with Siemens’ acquiring Vistagy. Siemens seemed particularly interested in Vistagy’s composite material design expertise, saying that, with the purchase of Vistagy, “Siemens will become the only company worldwide to support the whole value creation for carbon fiber components with its software tools.” That’s a pretty heady statement, but an important one because composite design, analysis, and optimization can pose extremely tough problems to solve correctly, and should be a good fit in the Siemens PLM mix.

Vistagy will be assimilated into the PLM software business unit of Siemens, a part of the Siemens Industry Automation Division. Vistagy was founded in 1991, and has approximately 80 employees and 300 customers worldwide. Not exactly huge numbers, but the company is at the top of the heap when it comes to dealing with the complexities of composites. Since the company is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, home to Dassault Systemes new HQ, I was surprised that DS didn’t make a play for Vistagy, especially with its emphasis on aerospace and automotive, but I guess you can only acquire so many companies in a
short span of time (See our coverage of Dassault’s recent acquisition of Elsys in the previous edition of MCADCafe Weekly).

The bulk of Vistagy’s customers are in the aerospace, automotive, and wind energy industries, and include Bombardier Aerospace, General Motors, Lotus Renault GP and Sinomatech Wind Power Blade Co., among others.

Although it has a number of products, Vistagy’s most renowned product is FiberSIM. FiberSIM has become the world’s leading software for composites engineering—used by numerous leading manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, marine and medical equipment industries. The FiberSIM suite of software supports all of the complex design and manufacturing methodologies necessary to engineer composite products and parts.

As far as I know, it’s also the only software suite that addresses the entire composites engineering process, from conception, laminate definition and ply creation through simulation, documentation and manufacturing. FiberSIM is integrated into most major CAD systems (CATIA V4, CATIA V5, NX and Creo Parametric) to help capture a complete digital product definition.

VISTAGY’s composites engineering environments support every step of the composite part development process including:
  • Specifying laminates and selecting ply creation methodologies including ply-based, zone-based or structure-based design to utilize the best process for the job
  • Automatically creating ply geometry by defining transitions with sequence, drop-off and stagger profiles that automatically populate the CAD model, as opposed to the tedious process of manually creating the CAD curves for each ply
  • Generating variable offset surfaces and solids, including mock-up surfaces for interference checking, mating surfaces that model where two parts join together and tooling surfaces for manufacturing
  • Verifying and communicating design requirements and details through the generation of engineering documentation and/or Microsoft Excel tables
  • Simulating part manufacturability by providing feedback early in the design process to streamline development efficiency
  • Defining extended boundaries and other manufacturing details such as splices, darts and tape courses in order to reduce time-to-part and costs
  • Creating manufacturing documentation for factory floor instruction that verifies all data is correct
  • Automatically generating manufacturing data—such as flat patterns and data to drive automated cutting machines, laser projection systems, fiber placement machines and tape laying machines—and sharing it downstream and across the enterprise.

  • VISTAGY created the FiberSIM Composite Engineering Environment (CEE) to help engineers realize the potential of designing and manufacturing products and parts made of advanced composite materials. The FiberSIM CEE is specialized engineering software that transforms a CAD software system into a high-performance tool specifically for designing and manufacturing composites.

    The FiberSIM CEE helps manufacturing organizations capitalize on the potential of composite materials. The software increases engineering productivity and reduces development time, material waste, design revisions and tooling costs. The software enables engineers to:
  • Utilize a specialized interface within their existing CAD systems specifically designed for composites engineering
  • Specify and validate laminate requirements at critical locations
  • Identify and resolve design and manufacturing problems early in the development cycle
  • Generate flat patterns from complex 3D models
  • Import, export and share composites design data across the enterprise and the entire supply chain.

  • The FiberSIM Advanced Composite Engineering Environment (ACEE) is specialized engineering software integrated into your existing CAD system that provides an environment for digitally defining composite products while automating many of the repetitive design, simulation and manufacturing tasks related to working with composite parts. The software accommodates designing a wide variety of composite parts and the complete range of materials and manufacturing processes used to create them.

    The ACEE exploits the inherent advantages of many different composite design methodologies—including structure-based design, zone-based design and ply-based design—to enable efficient engineering of large, complex aerostructures, structural components, and highly contoured composite skins.

    Another week gone by, and another good acquisition, this time around with Siemens acquiring Vistagy. Many years ago in the movie, The Graduate, the one word that Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) was told to remember for his future was “plastics.” Today, 40+ years later the key word to remember is “composites,” and Siemens has taken it to heart.

    The Week’s Top 5

    At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

    Geomagic announced the release of its 3D imaging products: Geomagic Studio 2012, Geomagic Wrap 2012, Geomagic Qualify 2012, Geomagic Qualify Probe and Geomagic Wrap OEM Edition.

    Geomagic Studio 2012

    Geomagic Studio 2012 transforms scans of physical objects into precise 3D models. Geomagic Studio delivers this data into polygon, surface and CAD models for use directly in reverse engineering, product design, art, rapid prototyping and analysis. The data can also be transferred directly from Geomagic Studio as history-based parametric models into many MCAD systems. Providing an efficient means of 3D scan data conversion with new and enhanced features, Geomagic Studio revolutionizes the digital content modeling and manufacturing process. Geomagic Studio 2012 supports direct output of 3D parametric data into major MCAD
    platforms including Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, CATIA and Creo Elements/Pro (formerly Pro/ENGINEER), and SpaceClaim.

    Geomagic Wrap 2012

    Geomagic Wrap 2012 transforms scan, probe, and point cloud data into usable 3D polygon data. Providing performance of automation and instant downstream usability, Geomagic Wrap adds new and enhanced tools to include intuitive, intelligent processing of mid-range and probe data, automated and precise remeshing of imported 3D polygon data, increased data handling performance, enhanced sketching tools, and the addition of a new scripting environment for advanced automation of key commands. The software can export superior 3D data from scan data into all industry-standard polygonal formats, enabling rapid use in design,
    visualization, art, prototyping and archive, thereby improving productivity. Geomagic Wrap 2012 will also be available to many scanner users in the form of Geomagic Wrap 2012 OEM Edition. This software is available exclusively as a bundled solution delivered by selected scanner vendors.

    Geomagic Qualify 2012

    Geomagic Qualify 2012 utilizes technology to deliver 3D inspection and metrology software with precision, speed and comprehensive reporting on the quality of as-built parts for first-article and production inspection, as well as supplier management. The software analyzes precise measurements from a physical object and draws comparisons to a digital model and includes enhanced support for probe and scanner measurement workflows.

    PLM interoperability specialist Theorem Solutions announced support for CATIVA V5 R21. The new versions of Theorem's CADverter offers fast and accurate translation of CAD data for CATIA V5 R21 and Creo View (formerly ProductView) and the Siemens JT visualization formats with other formats being released soon. Theorem's commitment to keep pace with the latest releases of CATIA V5 is based on its use of application development utilities provided and supported by Dassault Systemes. This not only ensures parallel development of new CADverter products, but also complete compatibility with fast-evolving and increasingly capable
    product development systems found in CATIA V5. They will be available to existing Theorem users with a current maintenance agreement, as well as to all new customers.

    Longview Advisors announced the 2012 Collaboration & Interoperability Survey. The annual survey looks at trends and best practices in areas such as collaboration, data exchange, preferred 3D formats, downstream data deployment, software requirements, data re-use and much more. Readers are urged to take the 10-minute survey at
    www.longviewadvisors.com. The survey results will be published in Longview Advisors’ free, annual Collaboration & Interoperability Market Report, which provides a collection of relevant and timely invited papers examining the latest strategies, trends and technologies in collaboration and interoperability. Longview’s Collaboration & Interoperability Market Report is widely regarded for determining collaboration and interoperability strategies, best practices and processes in both manufacturing and supplier organizations, and the software companies who serve them. The Report will be free to
    the public via registered download, when it becomes available in 2012.

    The addition of Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based CAM software and three Mazak Integrex mill-turn machines has been a success for the Coventry Engineering Group. The combination of the mill-turn machines and a new programming system has increased productivity and shortened lead times, while maintaining consistently high quality.

    Coventry Engineering Group comprises three companies, which were brought together in a management buyout in 2003. The core businesses are Coventry Toolholders, which designs and manufactures spindle-nose tooling, and Centreline, which produces driven toolholders. The Group’s Engineering Services Division provides precision subcontract manufacturing. While it was initially established to fill any gaps in capacity in the other two businesses, the ESD has now grown into a successful operation in its own right.

    Autodesk announced Autodesk ForceEffect, a new mobile simulation app for the iPad that allows engineers to quickly and easily simulate design options during the conceptual phase, and is now available on the App store. ForceEffect provides an intuitive environment for drawing, constraining, and simulating concepts using free body diagrams by tapping objects to select, move, rotate, and scale. Real time solving capabilities provide immediate feedback on the performance of a design, enabling users to bring engineering to the point of the problem. ForceEffect solves static systems analysis using free-body diagrams. Users simply
    create diagrams be leveraging existing design images or create new systems from scratch. Autodesk ForceEffect generates a results report that can be printed, emailed, or viewed using any Web browser. In addition, export capabilities enable workflow continuation in any CAD design application. The Autodesk ForceEffect App is available for free from the App Store on the iPad or at iTunes App Store. Videos are also available on the Autodesk YouTube Channel.

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
    Email Contact or 719.221.1867.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.