Acquisitions, Mergers & PartnershipsAIGenerative Design

Generative design software company Frustum acquired by PTC for $70M

PTC will integrate Frustum's generative design tools into its Creo software portfolio

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Software company PTC has acquired generative design software developer Frustum Inc. The acquisition deal, worth about $70 million, will see PTC add Frustum’s AI-powered generative design tools to its Creo software portfolio.

Frustum, a Colorado-based company, developed an industry-leading generative design platform which offers engineers and designers the ability to leverage artificial intelligence to generate next-generation products. The patented technology, available as a desktop or cloud-based engineering software drew the attention of PTC, which recognized the potential benefits of adding smart generative design tools to its own CAD platform.

“PTC is pushing the boundaries of innovation with this acquisition,” stated Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of PTC. “Creo is core to PTC’s overall strategy, and the embedded capabilities from ANSYS and, later, Frustum will elevate Creo to a leading position in the world of design and simulation. With breakthrough new technologies such as AR/VR, high-performance computing, IoT, AI, and additive manufacturing entering the picture, the CAD industry is going through a renaissance period, and PTC is committed to leading the way.”

Frustum PTC

Generative design is becoming increasingly sought after in a number of industries, as it enables engineers to circumvent time-consuming manual optimization steps, creating next-gen, complexly structured models whose features are based on specified requirements and design goals.

Not only that, generative design enables users to indicate design parameters that take into account purchasing decisions, manufacturing capacity, supply chain status and more. Using AI and state-of-the-art computing techniques, the software can even generate a range of design options for users to consider and select from.

PTC believes that by adding generative design tools to its Creo portfolio it will offer its clients a number of benefits, including the ability to more easily create complex geometries for additive manufacturing, to increase engineering productivity on the whole, to take conceptual design to the next level, to deliver products faster and more.

“This acquisition is a natural step for PTC and its customers,” said Jeff Hojlo, program director of product innovation at IDC. “AI and machine learning (ML) are widely discussed as two of the most impactful technologies of the future. For design, engineering, and R&D, the potential positive impacts of complementing the development process with AI and ML are astounding: lowering cost of quality (which is currently 20-25 percent of annual revenue at the average manufacturer), improving product success rate (which remains very low with more than 80 percent of products failing), and improving time to market and time to revenue by meeting customer needs accurately the first time.”

Notably, the Frustum acquisition follows PTC’s recent collaboration with simulation software company ANSYS. According to PTC, the addition of both simulation and generative design tools to its portfolio will offer a more efficient and comprehensive platform for designing innovative products and parts. “With these capabilities embedded in Creo, engineers will have unmatched capabilities to rapidly drive product innovation,” the company wrote.

The acquisition itself was completed this past Monday. According to PTC, it is not expected to add material revenue for 2019 or to be dilutive to the financial guidance PTC released this past October. PTC will speak more about the acquisition of Frustum at the upcoming PTC Forum Europe in Stuttgart, Germany on November 28.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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