January 16, 2006
Recent Acquisitions Build Bentley’s Structural Design Portfolio
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Welcome to AECWeekly! In a teleconference this week, Bentley executives spoke about the recent announcements of its acquisitions of two prominent companies: RAM International, a leading provider of design and analysis solutions worldwide for the building vertical, and the Research Engineers International (REI) business of netGURU and the REI flagship product line STAAD.Pro, which provides plant and civil solutions for structural analysis, design and documentation. Read about it in this week's Industry News.
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Recent Acquisitions Build Bentley's Structural Design Portfolio
by Susan Smith
been used together to date to serve the same market.
CEO Greg Bentley announced at the teleconference that although Bentley is a private company, they will announce their 2005 revenues at the daratechPLANT conference in Houston in January. Their annual report for the new year will be available at the BE Conference, held in Charlotte, N.C. in May.
Over the past two years, Bentley has been acquiring various companies to round out its product offerings. How Bentley goes about selecting companies to add to its portfolio is determined in large part by the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which, in 2004, measured the loss of revenue due to interoperability, calculating it at $16 billion per year.
The two latest acquisitions, STAAD and RAM, are part of Bentley's strategic direction to provide what they are referring to as “integrated engineering,” which focuses on engineering design and analysis between engineers, in a setting involving “more than just CAD.” In the workflow, integrated engineering will support major applications, provide analysis, design and documentation and operate with open information and standards.
Integrated engineering will also empower distributed enterprises, improve integration and provide more horsepower.
Bentley posed the question, How should there be further integration and comprehension in AEC? Translation issues to and from various structural systems were one of the big issues, which can be addressed with the acquisition of RAM and REI.
“We've now introduced a new charter and organization within Bentley as a result of combining the product portfolio,” said John Lynch, vice president of the newly formed Integrated Engineering Group. “We cover all materials, product types, vertical domains within infrastructure projects, and provide tools for local compliance for codes, anywhere in the world, and address all other platforms that distributed enterprise uses.”
Bentley solutions to meet the needs of the various roles in an organization are as follows: STAAD, RAM and open workflow approach for the engineer, Bentley Structural for the designer, MicroStation for the modeler, and Powerdraft for the drafter.
The Bentley Structural Design Portfolio will include:
- STAAD, a premier general purpose analysis and design system,
with integrated solutions for bridge loading and component design and pipestress,
broad structural design code coverage (over 60 international design codes)
- RAM Structural System which is optimized for building design;
with integrated solutions for connection, concrete slabs with post-tension support; and
the “Integrated Engineering Office” for drawing production and change propagation
- Bentley Structural, a comprehensive, integrated structural modeling, design and production system, which addresses a wide variety of global structural design projects.
The benefit to existing users of RAM, REI and Bentley Structural will be
- an accelerated development of the existing tools
- increased integration between the portfolio
- opportunities to easily add solutions from the portfolio
- expanded support teams
- easy business relationships
- Bentley SELECT
- supported by Bentley, a growing $350M company with 2000 colleagues worldwide.
Buddy Cleveland spoke about how the boundary between the engineer and designer is the most significant. “The opportunity there is to improve traffic across those boundaries in terms of timing, accuracy, bandwidth - what we talked about - integrated engineering.”
Why is this important to the industry? Integrated engineering stresses the fact that decisions, assessments and engineering analyses performed in engineering are critical components of the entire asset lifecycle, driving it forward but also validating it at every stage of the lifecycle. Interdependencies are complex at this level, noted Cleveland, and integrated engineering is a way for the AEC industry to merge these areas together.
“There isn't anything flawed in the workflows,” added Cleveland. “The major flaws are in electronic communications between team members, working with several different design teams.”
Bentley has outlined the following considerations for integrating engineering and design:
1) Models can either start with engineers, architects or CAD technicians.
2) There are plans to integrate with Revit Structural, set up to design within the tool of their choice. (also other products).
3 ) As you go through multiple iterations of design, now translation as opposed to full integration, understand there is a lot of data (i.e. important structural engineering information) lost through these translation issues.
4) The engineer can use his own tools to gain control of that information, the integrated engineering workflow allows the engineers to work the way they want to.
5) Support for open standards-“Bentley will support specific applications where we're looking for tight integration,” explained Cleveland. “We fully integrate with all major platforms that our engineers and plant managers are using. In building, we have round tripping of data, where engineer and plant designer or structural drafter can update the data and through round tripping can update the process. We have integration with GEOPAK Bridge and InRoads Bridge. We have links to several downstream applications for both concrete rebar and steel detailing.”
“This a strategic direction for Bentley and a new set of users - engineers must work with different systems and applications, and they may be 'CAD agnostic,'” said Cleveland.
Autodesk, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Alias for cash consideration of $197 million USD. On October 4, 2005, Autodesk announced a definitive agreement to acquire Alias -- a leading developer of 3D graphics technology. This acquisition extends Autodesk's 3D software leadership in the manufacturing and media and entertainment industries.
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.
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