CAD Center Autodesk Buys Solidworks

Christmas, Chinese New Year, Orthodox Christmas Eve, American Thanksgiving & Black Friday are always the biggest days of the year. Today is also a pretty big day in Canada, we have the NHL trade deadline! This is the last day of the season that teams can make trades. Teams with a chance of winning are looking to improve their team, those with no chance are looking to offload expensive players in hopes of retooling for next season. The rumours, the speculation, the build-up, oh the excitement!

I think this video sums it up perfectly

Here are some of the common tweets from the insiders, just to give you an idea of what goes on in the weeks and days building up to the deadline.

Bob Mackenzie Tweet

Darren Dreger Tweet

This happens in all the major sports in North America, not just hockey. The trading and signing of players (and coaches) during the off-season and before trade deadlines almost dwarfs the actual play.Crazy I know.

This got me thinking about Autodesk as they have been quiet since the Delcam acquisition. Granted Delcam was big, cost Autodesk a lot of money, and surprised a lot of people. It is the middle of winter though, things are slow, and wouldn’t it be nice to have some rumour and speculation on possible Autodesk acquisitions to keep us warm and happy?

If the affairs of the CAD companies were treated like North American sports teams, it would look a little like this…

CADCenter Fake Twitter feed - Autodesk to acquire Solidworks & Netvibe in exchange for Plant 3D & Mockup 3D

Obviously the above is just a joke, Autodesk aren’t really going to buy Solidworks, Dassault Systèmes aren’t going to acquire Plant 3D or Mockup 3D, but its definitely more exciting than what’s going on right now.

I asked a couple of the experts I know about who Autodesk might acquire next. The following is what they shared. Remember this is all speculation and wishful thinking, don’t go out and start buying stock based on these predictions.


From Chris Benner (@CGBenner) who is an Autodesk Expert Elite and runs the CAD Tips, Tricks & Workarounds blog

“They need to get Synergis, and incorporate some of the functionality of Adept into Vault”

“Huh” you might be saying, why would Autodesk want two Data Management systems. This isn’t the first time, anyone remember the Compass acquisition? Why would Autodesk want Adept? Here is what Chris says…

Synergis Software LogoOne reason for sure is the flexible work flows for ECOs [Engineering Change Orders]. Also Adept has a much better interface for marking up drawings and models for changes and it has the ability to compare current & old versions, highlighting differences. Additionally there is no Item Master vs File Store. One interface, one set of properties to manage.


Kevin Ellingson (@kellings) also an Autodesk Expert Elite and a Application Specialist for an Autodesk Reseller.

Sigmanest Right now I think that Autodesk is looking to bolster their manufacturing software. They purchased HSM a couple years back and recently purchased Delcam. I think that Sigmanest could be a possible acquisition for them. Acquiring Sigmanest would give Autodesk nesting capabilities along with the ability to program press brakes and do press brake simulations.

Stratasys Logo

A long shot prediction might be that they don’t acquire a software company, but a hardware company. Stratasys could make sense with the push into 3D printing. Stratasys makes both high end professional 3D printers along with their MakerBot line of consumer 3D printers. This could be a good fit with their entry into the maker community.”


CGTech Vericut Logo

Design & Motions own Scott Moyse (@ScottMoyse) is thinking on the same lines as Kevin, in that Autodesk will continue with the CAM acquisitions.

Striker Systems, Vericut, and a CNC manufacturer

Although Scott thinks that acquiring a CNC manufacturer is a bit of stretch and probably won’t happen, but why not throw it out there?

Striker Systems logo

Striker Systems has been developing nesting software and software for CNC punching and profile cutting machines for over 25-years.
Vericut is CNC machining simulation software so that errors and potential collisions are detected before the machining starts. You can also use Vericut to look for inefficiencies and use the built-in features to optimizes NC program cutting speeds. Vericut sets itself apart from other CAM simulation technologies with their virtual CNC controls, as a result their 3D machine models behave exactly how the real machine would. This is very different to back plotting simulation found in products such as HSMWorks.

These both would be great additions to the Autodesk CAM tools, as adding Sigmanest or Striker and Vericut would round-out the features in Autodesk’s CAM portfolio. Getting all of these, plus Delcam, working together would be the real challenge… and don’t forget getting features into the cloud, like CAM 360.


John Evans (@JohnEvansDesign) is thinking FEA, specifically topology optimization.

Solidthinking Inspire Logo

Topology optimization is a mathematical approach that optimises material layout within a given design space, for a given set of loads and boundary conditions such that the resulting layout meets a prescribed set of performance targets. Using topology optimization, engineers can find the best concept design that meets the design requirements.” (per wikipedia)

According to John, like most FEA and analysis, topology optimization

is really good for the cloud and would fit in well with both desktop and cloud platforms.

He thinks Autodesk should look at acquiring Altair which makes the analysis backend used by Solidthinking Inspire

John continues

There are many researchers out there and it would be a great opportunity for someone to develop, especially if they had Autodesk’s Fusion kernel API in order to develop an integrated platform


For me I can see them going a couple different directions. First, and I’ve talked about it before, is Jitterbit. To me it just makes too much sense. Middleware software to integrate everything and anything with Vault & PLM 360 AND it is already cloud based, a perfect marriage? Autodesk could go into any account and promise integration with whatever system and PLM 360.

Next would be ERP / MRP software like Netsuite or Exact’s JobBOSS. This would extend their entry into the world of  PLM-MRP-ERP, managing more than just CAD and CAD related data. They’ve jumped into this world heavily already with PLM 360.

The last one for me would be Lattice Technology. Autodesk tried to “do” technical communication with Inventor Publisher, but lets be honest, its been a huge disappointment. There has been so little on the upcoming Fusion Publisher that a person starts to have doubts. So why not jump in with both feet and buy an established, robust product offering like Lattice 3D. Here’s a snippet from their website…

“Using 3D CAD data assets quickly and accurately in print and online technical documents provides significant and proven improvements in productivity across the organization. The Lattice Technology Solutions for Technical Documentation automatically deliver illustrations, animations, work instructions and more directly from your 3D data, eradicating lengthy, labor-intensive tasks even when design data changes.Deliver downstream documents long before physical prototyping begins”

So there you have it, our educated guesses and wishlists for Autodesk acquisitions. What do you think? What do you wish? Everyone has add-ons or pieces of software they wish were part of the Autodesk portfolio, share with us & let your imagination run wild in the comments below.