Mentor’s CFD story didn’t start with the Flowmaster acquisition. In 2008, the company acquired Flomerics Ltd., which sold general-purpose 3D multi-CAD embedded CFD and 3D electronics cooling thermal analysis tools. In addition to the FloTHERM CFD tool for predicting airflow and heat transfer in electronics equipment, Mentor also made a push for
general-purpose CFD with FloEFD, a tool Buergel describes as enabling “concurrent CFD.” Because FloEFD is embedded in popular CAD programs like Siemens PLM Software NX, Dassault CATIA, and PTC Creo, engineers can employ CFD studies and do what-if scenarios throughout a product’s lifecycle from directly within their preferred CAD tool. In addition, embedding the CFD tool within the familiar CAD environment and CAD workflow also eliminates the geometry and meshing processes, which historically has been one of the biggest bottlenecks for widespread use of CFD analysis, Buergel explained.
Mentor believes engineering groups will require both the systems-level and general-purpose embedded CFD tools, thus it sees synergies between the programs and in the potential user base. “Companies have a simulation requirement both at a systems level, and they also have to design components,” he explained. “Our goal is have tight integration between Flowmaster and FloEFD to allow companies to work on all three levels -- systems, subassemblies, and components.”
Mentor is not releasing terms of the acquisition. Buergel said the company is already at work integrating the two technologies.
Alex, this is not a direct answer to your question (and I am not Beth), but I see many vendors of CAE and CAD tools branching out to include more aspects of the design space. Ansys has branched out into electric and electronic analysis. A company called COMSOL has tools for multi-physics analysis and keeps adding types of physics. So, while COMSOL started out in multi-physics, Ansys (and Mentor) is talking multi-physics in their tools as well.
I think this all get back to the discussion about Mecatronics we had a bit ago. Any sufficiently complex design project will require people with many engineering skills to work together. The vendors are supporting that.
Beth, you've done a bunch of article recently about vendors added CFD and FEA into their portfolios. I'm wondering what percentage of the CAD user base has a need for these advanced capabilities, and of those, how many need deep CFD and FEA, as opposed to feature-light versions added into the basic CAD package.
Cross-selling opportunities was one reason Mentor gave for the acquisition, but they've been building out a CFD portfolio for some time and this was a way to build some robustness into that part of their simulation platform.
Nice article, Beth. If I understand this correctly, this acquisition was in part a move to sell more technology to the existing customer base. Many of Mentor customers who need electrical system tools also need fluid system tools, and both sets of software operate with similar logic.
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