ESI Group

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ESI Group

Public (Compartment C of NYSEEuronext Paris)

CAC All Shares Index Component
Industry Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) Software
Founded 1973
Headquarters Paris, France
Key people
Alain de Rouvray, Chairman and CEO
Revenue €109.3 million (2013-2014)
€6.2 million (2013-2014)
€2.4 million (2013-2014)
Number of employees
1008 (2014)

ESI Group provides virtual prototyping software that simulates a product’s behavior during testing, manufacturing and real-life use. Engineers in a variety of industries use its software to evaluate the performance of proposed designs in the early phases of the project with the goal of identifying and eliminating potential design flaws.


ESI was founded in France in 1973 by Alain de Rouvray along with three other recent PhD.s from the University of California Berkeley: Jacques Dubois, Iraj Farhooman and Eberhard Haug. The company initially operated as a consulting company for European defense, aerospace and nuclear industries.[1]

On May 30, 1978 the company presented the simulation of an accidental crash of a military fighter plane into a nuclear power plant at a Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) meeting in Stuttgart.[2] German automobile manufacturers then tested the applicability of several emerging commercial crash simulation codes, including what would become Pam-Crash crash simulation software. As part of this project, the software's initial version simulated the frontal impact of a full passenger car structure, a Volkswagen Polo car model, in a collision with a rigid concrete barrier at 50 km/h, in an overnight computer run. This was the first successful full-car frontal crash simulation ever performed.[3] Finite element simulation provided accurate determination of the structural deformations while rigid body simulation was used during the relatively unimportant deformation and free-flight phases of the simulation.[4]

In July 2000 the company issued an initial public offering that generated 30 million Euros which was used to help fund product development.[5] In 2003 it acquired EASi’s computer aided engineering (CAE) simulation design and control software environments.[6] In 2004 the company invested $5 million in its Indian development center with plans to grow the operation to a 300-person team in the next few years.[7] It acquired six computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis products including CFD-ACE+, CFD-FASTRAN, CFD-VISCART and CFD-CADalyzer from CFD Research Corp in February 2004. CFDRC software end user revenues totaled approximately $6.5 million for 2003.[8]In December 2008 the company acquired the US CFD service provider Mindware Engineering Inc. with 70 people based in the United States, Europe and India.[9]

The company has obtained the ISO9001 certification, is recognized by Areva with its Q-N100 and Q-N300 certifications, and by Électricité de France (EDF) with its SGAQ system. It has received France’s “confidential defense” certification and obtained a specific certification from the Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA – atomic energy commission).[10]

Fiscal year 2008/2009 was disappointing in terms of new business; however, the company’s financial results held up despite the economic crisis, because of its high renewal rate.[11] In July 2009, the French financial publication Boursier pointed out that the company’s stock market value is far below comparable American companies quoted on the NASDAQ stock exchange.[12] Stock analyst Monica Schnitger said that the company's strong results for the first half of 2010 was partially due to Tata Motors standardizing on Pam-Stamp, the company's sheet metal forming simulation solution.[13] In June 2011 Schnitger Corporation reported that the company's first-quarter revenues were up 9% from the previous year's Q1, with performance being strongest in Europe and the Americas.[14]

Designer Cynthia Tripp’s latest venture called Tripp’s Department Store, which is powered by ESI’s IC.IDO software, offers architects, designers and manufacturers the ability to construct , experience and share full-scale, immersive virtual reality models of their projects.[15] ESI Group acquired OpenCFD, an open-source software provider, from SGI in September 2012.[16] ESI signed an agreement with Renault in May 2013 in which Renault will utilize ESI’s expertise in virtual prototyping to accelerate its product development programs.[17] In October 2013 ESI acquired CyDesign Labs which specializes in combining 0D-1D simple design tools with advanced 3D simulation.[18]


Desktop Engineering Magazine selected the company’s Virtual Performance Solution as its Editor’s Pick for July 2010. Editor at Large Anthony Lockwood said: “The Virtual Performance Solution embraces a lot of things, such as gold-standard tools like Pam-Crash. But what it really provides you is an integrated simulation environment...You work across multiple analysis domains with a single core model – not different models for every load case. This streamlines your workflow, saving time and money by reducing the number of individual solvers you have to deploy and all that model re-creation business.”[19]

The Ford Motor Company used the company’s virtual performance tool, Pam-Comfort software, to predict the seatback contour under occupant loading through the range of the lumbar support mechanism travel. The predicted change in seatback deflection matched up well with the measured values.[20] Researchers at the European Space Agency (ESA) used the company’s CFD-ACE+ software to simulate transpiration cooling with turbulence in the main flow and the laminar flow assumption in the porous media. High performance computing capabilities are critical in modeling porous media and the ESA used up to 48 processors in some calculations.[21]

The company provides software solutions for casting simulation. Frost & Sullivan’s 2006 European Technology Leadership of the Year Award in digital simulation for prototyping and manufacturing processes went to the company for its ProCAST 2005 software for foundry simulation.[22] Precision Engineering, a stamping company in Lowell, Michigan, cut die tryout cost from $18,000 to $3,600 by using the company’s Pam-Stamp 2G software to simulate the drawing and forming process.[23] Also in the field of sheet metal forming simulation, Atlas Tool used the same software to compensate for the effects of springback for high-strength and dual-phase steel for product geometry.[24] In the aerospace sector, Vdot, a product acquired by the company in 2008, was one of four "strong points" found during a recently conducted AS9100 audit at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF). MAF used Vdot for identifying the process and linking the customer requirements and the organization’s documents in its AS9100 audit. Joe Costa, Mission Assurance Director said: “…achieving AS9100 certification in one year, starting from ground zero, was the gold ring…”[25]

In a review of VA One, the company’s vibro-acoustic simulation software, Desktop Engineering said: “VA One combines finite elements (FE), boundary elements (BEM), and statistical energy analysis (SEA) in a single model. And you can use it whenever during your design stages, so it minimizes physical prototypes, last-hour design corrections, and a ton of best-guess work. With VA One you can set up your NVH model in a few hours and have your results in minutes if not sooner.”[26] reviewed ESI’s IC.IDO immersive reality 3D environment. The demo took place in a darkened room where a bright image of a 3D model is projected on one wall in life size scale. The demo pilot moved the reviewer through the plant and right up to a car. The review stated: “Andre [the demo pilot] was able to move us through the plant and right up to the car. He then walked us through the steps that an employee would go through to install a battery, ratchet in a bolt and install a gas tank. Throughout the demo he pointed out areas of possible interference between the virtual car design and the assembly process.”[27]


  1. ^ Reuters company profile of ESI Group
  2. ^ E. Haug. (1981) "Engineering safety analysis via destructive numerical experiments", EUROMECH 121, Polish Academy of Sciences, Engineering Transactions 29(1), 39–49.
  3. ^ E. Haug, T. Scharnhorst, P. Du Bois (1986) "FEM-Crash, Berechnung eines Fahrzeugfrontalaufpralls", VDI Berichte 613, 479–505.
  4. ^ A.K. Pickett, H.G. Hoeck, A. Poth and W. Sehrepfer, “Crashworthiness analysis of a full automotive rollover test using a mixed rigid body and explicit finite element approach.” VDI Berichte 816, p 167-179.
  5. ^ Interview with Alain de Rouvray CEO of ESI Group,” Industrie & Technologies, October 31, 2003.
  6. ^ Pamela J. Waterman, FEA and CFD: Getting Better All the Time, Desktop Engineering, December, 2010.
  7. ^ ESI to invest $5 m in India centre,” The Hindu Business Line, November 30, 2004.
  8. ^ ESI Group buys analysis software lineup from CFDRC,” Cadalyst, February 2, 2004.
  9. ^ “ESI Group Acquires Mindware,” Capital Finance, January 26, 2009.
  10. ^ Alexandre T. Analis, "Virtual tests for real results," Commerce International, November 30, 2009.
  11. ^ “Robustesse de cette affaire très technologique." La letter de Placements, May 15, 2009.
  12. ^ “ESI Group: se renforce par une acquisition aux Etats-Unis,” Boursier, July 3, 2009.
  13. ^ Monica Schnitger, “ESI Reports License Revenue up 13%,” Schnitger Corporation Hot Topics, September 14, 2010.
  14. ^ "ESI Revenue Up 9% in Q1," Schnitger Corporation Hot Topics, June 16, 2011.
  15. ^ Ava Burke, “Cynthia Tripp Brings Virtual Reality to Designers,” designwire daily, July 31, 2012.
  16. ^ ESI Group Acquires OpenCFD,” Desktop Engineering, September 19, 2012.
  17. ^ Robert Brooks, “Renault, ESI Group Speed Up Virtual Prototyping,” Foundry Management and Technology, May 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Monica Schnitger, “Quickies: Bentley Day 1, some catch- up and more sheep!,” Schnitger Corporation blog, October 28, 2013.
  19. ^ Anthony Lockwood, “Editor’s Pick: ESI Releases Virtual Performance Solution,” Desktop Engineering, July 21, 2010.
  20. ^ Nicole Montmayeur, Christian Marca, Cécile Cabane, Ramesh Dwarampudi, Michael Kolich, Steve Nunez, “Virtual Seat Comfort Assessment through Effective Fore-Aft Lumbar Travel Prediction with a HPM-II Dummy Model,” 7th International Forum on Automotive Seats, June 27-29, 2007, Munich Germany.
  21. ^ Jerry Fireman, “ESA Models Ramjet Cooling Using CFD-ACE+”, Desktop Engineering, October 1, 2008.
  22. ^ Proven Success of ProCAST 2005 Helps ESI Group Pick Up 2006 Frost & Sullivan European Technology Leadership of the Year Award,” Frost & Sullivan press release, April 10, 2006.
  23. ^ Simulation Slashes Die-Tryout Costs and Time,” Metalforming Magazine, June 2006.
  24. ^ Mark Broadworth, “Stamping Out Springback,” Desktop Engineering, October 1, 2006.
  25. ^ Letters from Leadership, Michaud Messenger, Volume 2, Issue 8, August 1, 2010.
  26. ^ Anthony Lockwood, “Editor’s Pick: ESI Announces VA One V2009,” Desktop Engineering, March 10, 2010.
  27. ^ John Hayes, “Immersive Virtual Reality,” DesignerEdge, November 28, 2012.

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