Altair acquires SimSolid, citing ‘profound impact’ it will have on product design

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Altair has announced that it is acquiring SimSolid, an FEA start-up that has focussed on a meshes approach that dramatically shortens the set-up and solve time for structural analysis.

If you’ve not come across SimSolid, we spoke to its CEO, Ken Welch a little while ago and he explains its approach nicely.

Welch said its tools are ‘a generalisation of classical FEA’ – “While it uses the same variational principals, the difference comes in how we build approximation functions and associate them with geometry. SimSolid doesn’t break the system into finite elements, instead it discretises the original geometry in a more abstract mathematical way.”
“SimSolid uses high order functions built on the fly during the solution phase. Geometry is decoupled from these functions, which allows the freedom to use the most accurate functions possible.

“For example, when performing thermal analysis SimSolid uses harmonic polynomials which precisely meet the thermal equation. Multiple solution passes are performed and with each pass errors are quantified and the functions are adapted.

“In contrast to other commercial FEA products, adaptive analysis is not an option. It is always active, even for large assemblies.”

On the acquisition specifically, Altair CEO James Scapa, said: “We believe SimSolid is a revolutionary technological breakthrough which will have a profound impact for product design. It’s incredibly fast, accurate, and robust and we believe a game changer for our industry.”


Altair’s acquisition fits in with a couple of moves that it has been making of late. While its core business is high-end simulation and analysis tools, it has also been doing very interesting things at the mainstream end of the market too – looking to address a much wider audience than it traditionally had.

Much of this began with its acquisition of Italian outfit Gestel and its Evolve and Inspire tools, sold under the solidThinking brand.

These gave the company a set of tools that mixed together both 3D design tools along with simulation technology. Altair then added in topology optimisation and much more to the Inspire and things got very interesting – the latest release mixes together a range of simulation tools (structural, harmonic, motion) with optimisation (of both topology and more complex lattice design) with geometry modelling tools.

In recent months, it has also become clear that Altair is reworking how it brings this set of tools to market, with the solidThinking name seemingly taking a back seat to the Altair Unlimited branding.

The addition of a technology like that found in SimSolid makes huge sense.

As many of the mainstream CAD and simulation vendors look to bring topology optimisation and lattice design into their toolsets, Altair has a well established set of technology and proven products that have been doing much of this work for a decade or more.