Dassault Systemes acquires Safe Technology: why it makes sense

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Well, we’ve just done a motorcycle issue – and Harley is an fe-safe user

News came out yesterday that Dassault Systèmes is investing in its simulation portfolio again with the acquisition of Sheffield-based Safe Technologies.

If you’re not familiar with the firm, it’s been around for some time and has always specialised in the simulation of fatigue or durability.

To my mind, this is a rather shrewd move on DS’s behalf. Its Abaqus tools (under the Simulia brand) are used extensively in many industry sectors, it’s seen rapid development under DS’s ownership and the product portfolio is expanding with automation and intelligences (iSight is definitely worth a look-see for mesh-heads).
Safe Technology’s fe-safe will join that group although it has been an Abaqus partner for quite a few years.

Why is fatigue so important? The answer is simple when you consider the context of simulation’s typical use scenario. Most of us understand that the majority of simulation tools are based on assumptions. Assumptions about the materials, the operating conditions and such.

Most also rely on simulation of a fixed point in time. Consider mechanism design and simulation. It’s commonplace for a kinematic study to be performed and the point or points of maximum loading and that (or those points) to be used for further investigation. That’s all good, all standard practice.

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The fact is that most products fail as a result of long-term use, suffering from the effects of cyclic loading. It’s this area that’s commonly referred to as fatigue or durability analysis – the effects of the forces and loading in a product and how those forces influence that product’s behaviour during its complete lifecycle – not just an idealised point in time.

A while ago now, we did an extensive survey about what people were doing in the realm of simulation and analysis and what their focus points might be. While the big hitters of FEA and CFD came in as the two key priorities, fatigue came a close third. higher in priority than optimisation, higher in priority than kinematics. What’s interesting (and hence why DS has made a smart move) is that while the likes of FEA, CFD, optimisation and kinematics are commonly available in integrated tools, fatigue typically isn’t.

And for once, there’s a press release in which the DS executives get right to the point.

As Bernard Charlès (DS’s CEO) says in the release, “Consumers want a product that is built right.  They want a product that lasts.  Durability deeply affects the emotional attachment between brands and their users.  This is why Safe Technology is such a good fit for Dassault Systèmes. Advanced fatigue and durability software solutions are an essential part of the product design process. Safe Technology will enhance Dassault Systèmes’ Simulia structural simulation to predict and analyze product life quickly and accurately.

Like I said, shrewd move.