Altair Engineering acquires Acusim Software for CFD

Acquisition solidly positions Altair as a major player in the CFD market and at the forefront of multi-physics simulation.

Altair Engineering, Inc., a simulation technology vendor, today acquired Acusim Software, a developer of massively scalable, high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver solutions. Altair says Acusim’s CFD technology and staff will be incorporated into Altair’s HyperWorks computer-aided engineering (CAE) software portfolio and operations.

Turbulent flow in the wake of a three-bladed wind turbine rotor. (Image courtesy of Acusim Software, Inc.)

Acusim’s AcuSolve is a general purpose CFD solver used by many Fortune 500 companies, including Bechtel, Chevron, John Deere, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Vestas, Visteon and Whirlpool. Unlike other commercial CFD applications, AcuSolve is finite-element based, allowing it to be tightly integrated with other FEA-based technologies to solve complex fluid-structure interaction and multi-physics problems—both of which are rapidly emerging trends in the global simulation market.

Altair CEO Dr. Farzin Shakib says the acquisition “is a perfect complement to our CFD product offerings and vision. Altair’s strength as a leader in pre- and post-processing, CAE solvers and optimization technologies opens new opportunities to apply AcuSolve to a broader class of problems and markets.”

Altair plans to “significantly” ramp up technical and customer support for Acusim products throughout its global operations, with a special emphasis on serving joint customers.

Acusim technologies will be made available through Altair’s HyperWorks simulation platform and patented units-based licensing system.

Thermal flow solution of a diverging fin heat sink. (Image courtesy of ACUSIM Software, Inc.)

Altair says Acusim will continue to operate from its California facility, and that product development roadmaps are already underway to tightly integrate AcuSolve with Altair’s RADIOSS solver and optimization tools, OptiStruct and HyperStudy.

Acusim gains from Tesla

In 2010 Acusim released an update to its products to be compatible with the Tesla line of GPU boards from Nvidia. Performance tests of the general-purpose finite-element-based CFD flow solver have demonstrated up to a 2x boost in performance with the Tesla C2050 GPU processor, compared with a quad-core CPU running the same simulation without Nvidia hardware.

What we think

Compared to CAD, there is still a widely diffuse CAE vendor community. The largest manufacturers need the sophisticated codes from these small companies, but would prefer to deal with fewer vendors. They use CFD simulations to replace costly physical tests during product development, which leads to shorter design times and improved product quality. Thus the motive for this acquisition was as much about pleasing Fortune 500 manufacturers as it was about driving growth at Altair.