Maybe they should call themselves The "A" Team.
While adopting that moniker is not really in their plans, CAD developer Alibre (www.alibre.com) and FEA developer ALGOR (www.algor.com) are billing their recently announced software-bundling agreement as a major offensive. They say they want to expose as many engineers as possible to 3D design.
But just as important, the partnership is giving birth to a support system that promises to give users of both companies' products guidance on how to use the software to improve their flexibility, better visualize concepts, solve problems, and optimize designs.
As new partners, the two companies are bundling their software to give Alibre users an opportunity to perform first-pass analyses on their designs, and to give ALGOR customers 3D solid modeling, data sharing and management, and real-time design.
As part of the relationship, the Alibre Design Professional product will include ALGOR DesignCheck as an add-on. ALGOR, for its part, will bundle Alibre Design Basic with all core software licenses. ALGOR customers can also purchase Alibre Design and Alibre Design Professional directly from ALGOR.
That part of their new relationship puts them in line with a trend toward cooperative agreements that's been common in engineering software for several years. For example, analysis-software provider MSC.Software (www.mscsoftware.com) has launched a line of embedded simulation products for IBM/Dassault Systemes' (www.3ds.com) CATIA Version 5i software platform. SolidWorks' (www.solidworks.com) close working relationship with SRAC, developer of COSMOS analysis software, led to the acquisition of SRAC. And PTC (www.ptc.com) recently announced it is integrating Adobe Acrobat into Windchill Product View, its visualition tool for product lifecycle management.
But the extra dimension in the Alibre/ALGOR partnership is in the support, the companies say. Any user of Alibre Design Professional can directly contact live representatives of either company for support and technical guidance through the Alibre Assistant feature or the ALGOR Assistant feature. Both are totally integrated into Alibre Design Professional. The capability is also available to engineers who have not yet purchased the software so they can ask questions before the sale.
"This is more than a simple partnership," says ALGOR Engineer Bob Williams. "Our development teams will communicate with each other as we develop additional features for each product. While we each will look for additional partners, we won't be working with the other's competitors."
"This relationship changes the market," says Alibre President J. Paul Grayson. "Until now, most designers have been unable to justify purchasing FEA software, and most analysts couldn't afford to pay for 3D solid modeling software that wasn't their primary tool."