Autodesk today announced that it had acquired PlassoTech, a California company that is in the business of creating FEA software. (see Autodesk press release)
Autodesk had revealed last Friday that it had secured a $250 million line of credit. I guess we now know why.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
I had long suspected Autodesk would be acquiring CAE technology. All other major MCAD vendors have had FEA technology in house, most for many years. I had speculated on these pages that it would have been ANSYS, however. But since ANSYS has revenue of over $330 millions and is highly profitable, it probably was too expensive of an acquisition.
PlassoTech could have been a good deal. But since it is not as well known as some other FEA vendors, Autodesk will now have to educate potential customers about the PlassoTech technology and convince them that it is at least as capable as technology in better known and trusted products.
PlassoTech first seemed to surface in 1992 with an equity investment Kubota, the Japanese tractor company. It may have acquired some traction (no pun intended) in Japan, enough at least to support one user meeting in Tokyo that attracted "several hundred" users. The first product offering I could find for a worldwide market was in late 2003, when it it introduced 3G Design Simulation/Optimization Suite 2004.
Inventor customers should benefit from having a tighter and more seamless integration to analysis. Autodesk will benefit by offering a higher end Inventor product line that offers varying analysis capability, much like what SolidWorks did after it acquired COSMOS.
PlassoTech seems to have been favoring Autodesk Inventor compatability, judging from press releases it had posted, but also provided standalone FEA and integrated with other MCAD programs such as Pro/ENGINEER, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and CATIA -- products that Autodesk would consider competitive to Inventor.
Certainly, this is not good news for Autodesk 3rd party developers whose FEA products worked with Inventor. They may now be cut off from Autodesk. This includes some big names such as ANSYS and Algor. (full list of Inventor-compatible products on Autodesk site)