Manufacturers and product development companies have realized immediate cost savings by using Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software or commonly known as the simulation software, contributing to the growth of CAE market across industry verticals. Mentor Graphics a key Electronic Design Automation vendor or better known as EDA, recently acquired Flowmaster group. Flowmaster is a UK based CAE vendor that offers CFD (computational fluid dynamics) software packages, it specializes in simula
Product development companies have been able to lower development costs and shorten the time to market their products by virtually testing product designs in conditions the final product will endure during its useful life, even before the design is finalized. This has helped firms in few cases to entirely eliminate or in most cases to reduce the number of expensive physical prototyping cycles before production. Firms are able to define acceptable product operating conditions, improve useful life and improve overall quality of their products with CAE software. Manufacturers and product development companies have realized immediate cost savings by using Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software or commonly known as the simulation software, contributing to the growth of CAE market across industry verticals.
Mentor Graphics a key Electronic Design Automation vendor or better known as EDA, recently acquired Flowmaster group. Flowmaster is a UK based CAE vendor that offers CFD (computational fluid dynamics) software packages, it specializes in simulation for one dimensional fluid and heat transfer analysis. Mentor Graphics acquisition should not just be considered a new step into bigger PLM software application domain that includes CAE software; rather Mentor's current acquisition complements its 2008 acquisition of Flomerics a CFD applications provider. Flomerics had a limited offering in EDA space, Mentor Graphics acquisition was clearly targeted to exploit the opportunity that exists in CAE market applicable to its sweet spot within EDA. The importance of thermal analysis early in the design of printed circuit boards, other aspects of chip design, system level simulation etc have made CAE an important aspect in EDA space. Increasing level of design automation has helped designer to reduce chip size resulting in increased chip complexity – greater gate count, input/output further focus on reducing power consumption. Such complex, miniaturized but highly powerful semiconductors have helped consumer electronic goods manufacturers to produce new line of products such as powerful handhelds. These systems require multi disciplinary knowledge of electrical, electronic, thermal, packaging etc during design phase to produce highly reliable products largely addressed by CAE packages.
Mentor Graphics Corporation's Mechanical analysis division incorporates Flomerics product line, Flowmaster is expected to be merged into the same division. Flowmaster has been implemented in many industry verticals like Automotive, Aerospace, Shipbuilding-Marine and other process industries. Mentor Graphics has gained a significant knowledge base and technical know-how to expand its foot print in simulation with these two acquisitions. Despite wide applicability of CFD, Mentor Graphics traditionally has been known for CFD products in electronics industry with its IC, ASIC design and PCB design offerings. Given its EDA roots and a big customer base, Mentor 's concentration in EDA simulation market is very natural.
EDA players have grown by acquisition due to limited innovation in this market segment especially with pressure from end-users that seek low cost applications to help them achieve higher productivity from their current processes. Mentor Graphics acquisition of Flowmaster increases the depth of its offering in CFD applied to EDA customer needs. Its customer base should expect a deeper functionality from its products in systems design, heat transfer analysis and flow balancing. This acquisition systematically moves Mentor Graphics to open up into mechanical simulation which has many well established vendors. These existing CAE vendors address traditional discrete industries and other emerging areas like environmental factor estimation in designing structures, process, chemical and environmental engineering. Given limited growth in EDA domain, this acquisition enables Mentor Graphics to further build its CAE portfolio and increase its market share. It remains to be seen whether Mentor Graphics exploits the opportunity to become a real mechanical simulation player or limits to enhance its EDA simulation portfolio with limited reach in discrete CFD segments.