The takeover of engineering and materials modelling software company MSC Software (“a global leader in helping product manufacturers to advance their engineering methods with simulation software and services”) by Hexagon AB (“a leading metrology and manufacturing solution specialist”) was announced in early February. It is an interesting development for a number of reasons. It is a move that looks very much aligned with realising the opportunities often associated with the terms Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing. As the president and CEO of Hexagon, Ola Rollén, pronounced: “MSC represents a game-changer in our mission to deliver actionable manufacturing intelligence, taking us another step closer to realizing our smart connected factory vision in discrete manufacturing industries such as automotive and aerospace. We can now leverage the data our MI division is generating to improve design choices and processes upstream in the workflow.
It also clearly shows that modelling and simulation, from the part down to the material, has a big part to play in delivering on the promises of smart manufacturing. Finally, it looks lie European corporations in particular are ready to invest in this sector. The acquisition of MSC Software by Hexagon AB for $834 m follows that of the US company Accelrys (now Biovia) by the French Dassault Systemes for $750m and major acquisitions by Siemens PLM including that of CD-adapco for $970m and of Mentor Graphics $4.5b (“a leader in electronic design automation software”). It demonstrates Europe’s strength and vision for the “digital industrial enterprise” (Siemens), i.e. informatics, modelling and simulation spanning research, development and manufacturing across the discrete and processing industries.