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PTC Pick up Frustum – Is Generative Design the Future of Manufacturing?

Massachusetts-based firm Parametric Technology (PTC) has long used acquisitions to help stay abreast of the rapidly developing world of enterprise software.

In its most recent acquisition, PTC paid $70 million for the Colorado-based advanced generative design software company Frustum, a startup in the nascent field which leverages AI to develop design options based on basic parameters like height, strength, the weight that needs to be supported, and the materials used.

This process – termed generative design – relies on a combination of AI and machine learning (ML), and is already used by large companies like Airbus and Stanley Black & Decker to solve engineering challenges, make the design process quicker, and create more optimal products.

Frustum’s technology will now be integrated into PTC’s Creo – the industrial design software that, along with CAD product Mathcad, brought in $475 million in revenue for the company in 2017.

In a statement, PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann said that “the acquisition is a natural step for PTC and its customers.”

“For design, engineering, and R&D, the potential positive impacts of complementing the development process with AI and machine learning are astounding: lowering cost of quality, improving product success rate, and improving time to market and time to revenue by meeting customer needs accurately the first time”

Over the last few years, PTC has spent more than $500 million acquiring sought after companies that develop technologies like Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality (AR). The company is now seen as a leader in the Industrial IoT space and have developed significant expertise in a range of next-generation technologies.

With generative design, these technologies now have an entry into the mainstream world of Computer-Aided Design, creating a revolution which PTC is committed to leading.

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