The Troy software and engineering services company Altair Engineering Inc. said Thursday that it had entered into an agreement to buy SimLab Corp.

Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., SimLab specializes in highly automated, tailored finite element modeling software for powertrain systems within the automotive and heavy equipment industries.

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Under the agreement, Altair will acquire SimLab’s technology and development staff within its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering  software development operations.

With the unique ability to recognize computer-aided design feature information (bolts, chamfers, fillets, cylinders and more), SimLab’s template-driven, solid meshing solutions have allowed manufacturers of complex systems to develop higher quality CAE models five times faster than with conventional methods. 

The addition of SimLab and its feature-based meshing domain knowledge will extend Altair’s simulation footprint across broad industry segments while advancing the company’s long-standing leadership position in CAE modeling and assembly solutions.

“Altair is dedicated to providing the very best in modeling and visualization technology for the engineering community, and the addition of SimLab to our range of CAE tools reinforces that commitment,” said James R. Scapa, chairman and CEO of Altair.  “We recognize the value of SimLab’s technology, especially for customers who benefit from CAD associativity. This acquisition and a shared vision fit perfectly with our technology roadmap for CAE process automation.”

“By joining with Altair, we are ensuring the continued growth of our technology,” said Shan Nageswaran, president and CEO of SimLab. “SimLab provides additional specialized functions for Altair’s market-leading applications suite; and, in turn, Altair opens new opportunities for advancing SimLab in new markets and application scope to improve CAE modeling efficiency.”

Altair anticipates completing the acquisition before the end of 2010. SimLab will continue to operate with 35 employees, including its three co-founders, from its California office, while working closely with the HyperWorks development organization at Altair’s headquarters in Troy on integration roadmaps.

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The companies had been working together for several years, Altair officials said.

Altair also announced that it has integrated HyperWorks’ HyperMesh pre-processing software and HyperView post-processing software with Samtech’s Samcef software, one of the most popular finite element analysis solver tools, in particular within Europe’s aeronautic, space and defense industry.

“Aeronautic, space and defense companies rely extensively on our Samcef software for a range of FEA tasks and there is also a growing interest for Samcef in automotive and energy sectors, respectively for vehicle, engine and wind turbine structural dynamics,” said Didier Granville, chief strategy officer of Belgium-based Samtech. “Our ability to integrate Samcef seamlessly with HyperWorks tools will provide new flexibility for our customers and demonstrates the adaptability of our software, which is renowned for providing industries with customized solutions for specific applications in multiple disciplines.”

Altair developed an interface between HyperMesh and Samcef, which allows HyperMesh models to be read directly by Samcef. Samtech, in turn, built an interface between Samcef and HyperView HyperView using H3D, Altair’s compressed binary file format. This enables Samcef output files to be exported in H3D format, which can be read directly by HyperView without manual translation.

“The popularity of HyperWorks among engineers across the globe derives not only from the openness, ease of use, precision, and robustness of applications, like our HyperMesh pre-processor and HyperView post-processor, but also from the simplicity of integrating with software from Altair partners,” said Altair HyperWorks CTO Uwe Schramm. “Using our H3D technology to link our solutions will provide customers with integrated tools to further accelerate and heighten the quality of their finite element analysis.”

Altair’s H3D file format allows HyperWorks technology to communicate easily with other software. Altair partners commonly use H3D to make their technology more user friendly to Altair’s extensive global customer base.

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