Dassault Systèmes acquires AITAC

Who better than a company whose name spelled backwards is CATIA to expand a market where Dassault is a minor player?

Dassault Systemès has acquired AITAC BV, a Netherlands-based software developer who specializes in marine and offshore engineering. Specifically, AITAC (which is “CATIA” backwards) offers Smart Drawings, software to automate the process of generating 2D drawings from 3D Catia models of a ship, marine structure or related projects.

AITAC Smart Drawings software is used to extract 2D drawings from 3D Catia models, as construction documetation for shipbuilding. (Source: AITAC/Dassault Systemès)

Smart Drawings automation is based on rules and templates that account for marine-specific standards, behaviors, and local requirements. Automation of the tedious process of extracting 2D drawings from 3D models can reduce the cost of drawings production, improve the quality of certification documents, and maximize the value of the master 3D model.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. As part of the deal, Dassault Systèmes also acquires 40% of AITAC’s marine and offshore engineering office in Croatia, a provider of naval architecture and engineering services to major shipbuilders.

Dassault Systèmes says it will fully integrate the Smart Drawings application into its “Designed for Sea” and “Optimized Production for Sea” industry solution experiences, their term for software suites based on products and services in the Dassault “3DEXPERIENCE” portfolio.

What do we think?

Ship design and related construction documentation is a very divided market. Major players include (ranked by the approximate importance of the market to the vendor) Aveva, PTC, and Autodesk. Intergraph/Hexagon, Siemens PLM, Dassault Systemès and Bricsys also have customers in the space.

Dassault is very good at breaking out its revenue segments by industry; shipbuilding and marine does not rate its own category. The main reason for this acquisition is to compete on better terms for new business. Much of the initial design work for ship building is done with 3D, but the actual construction is still dominated by 2D. This is clearly one of those times when it is better to buy than build.