Bentley acquires Design Power to enable front-end engineering design solutions

Bentley Systems Inc. announced at daratechPLANT2007 that it has acquired Design Power, a leading provider of design automation solutions used by major engineering, construction, and manufacturing firms, including Fluor, KBR, General Electric - Oil & Gas, Bayer AG, Emerson Motors Company, Robertson Ceco Corporation, NCI Building Systems Inc., and the Selvaag Group. In separate news, it also acquired KIWI Software, which offers structural workflow solutions in steel detailing, fabrication...

Integrating PlantWise, AXSYS, AutoPIPE, and STAAD to support interactive, knowledge-based, conceptual design within proven technology environments.

HOUSTON, Jan. 30, 2007 -- Bentley Systems Inc. announced yesterday at daratechPLANT2007 that it has acquired Design Power, a leading provider of design automation solutions used by major engineering, construction, and manufacturing firms, including Fluor, KBR, General Electric - Oil & Gas, Bayer AG, Emerson Motors Company, Robertson Ceco Corporation, NCI Building Systems Inc., and the Selvaag Group.

At the core of Design Power's solutions is Design++, a knowledge-based, multi-dimensional engineering solver. Design++ captures in-house engineering expertise through flexibly extended business rules to automate design iterations in engineering platforms such as MicroStation. The results are designs that are heuristically optimal within the economic context modeled by the captured knowledge. This very powerfully boosts productivity, improves quality, accelerates delivery, and creates a sustainable competitive advantage.

Design++ automation solutions enable user organizations to more effectively offer complex systems and products that are designed-to-order. They provide design-based configurations, proposals, and technical drawings; reduce cost by automatic reuse of design rules and best practices in the design for manufacturing; minimize subsequent rework by ensuring feasible designs; and build customer loyalty by increasing responsiveness to initial proposals and change requests. The solutions can be applied to design processes for systems and products as diversified as process plants, capital equipment, electrical systems, and building structures.

Design Power's PlantWise solution utilizes Design++ with a proven, versatile, and extensible rulebase to enable fully piped and lowest-cost 3D plant concept models to be easily created for review and contextual optimization. Featuring collaborative "what-if" change implementation and feedback, PlantWise allows users to interactively and visually iterate to arrive at plant layouts that best meet design criteria for throughput, economics, and safety. Piping applications such as PDS, among others, may then conveniently be used for detailed engineering with minimal information loss.

As Thilo J. Werners, project manager, Bayer Center for Technical Engineering, explained in discussing a $36-million Bayer AG methyl chloride project, "The primary advantage of using PlantWise is the ease with which we can create and review new plant concepts in 3D. The software allows managers to review and discuss design ideas and to implement alternative solutions on the fly.

"For the methyl chloride plant, we considered numerous variations, including piping and cable tray routing, operations concepts, erection and dismantling access for every piece of equipment, piping studies, instrumentation and control loops, penetrations, and passages. PlantWise enabled the team to quickly develop and implement alternative solutions."

Bentley is integrating PlantWise with its AXSYS, AutoPIPE, and STAAD products to deliver a unique and complete solution for front-end engineering design (FEED). Outputs include initial process flow diagrams (PFDs), preliminary P&IDs, equipment sizing for procurement and process analysis, and engineering analysis models that help assess plant design safety based on applicable standards. This capability is being demonstrated by Bentley at daratechPLANT.

Said CEO Greg Bentley, "First, on behalf of Bentley colleagues around the world, I am pleased to welcome all Design Power users into the Bentley user community. By integrating the capabilities of Design++ and PlantWise within Bentley's DigitalPlant portfolio, we are able to offer an advanced, rules-based plant engineering and design solution surpassing any other. It will provide sharp increases in productivity early in the design phase, and lead to significant and continued cost and time savings throughout the plant lifecycle.

"Better still, we can deliver all of this improved capability without asking users to change their preferred engineering and construction platform. Our new FEED solution will interoperate with whatever tools they've come to trust."

Mr. Bentley continued, "Design Power CEO Ulf Strom and his colleagues have proven the advantageous applicability of a flexible, heuristic solver to many demanding AEC requirements. Our solution executives at Bentley are already planning breakthrough configurations of the Design++ solver for other asset classes, such as certain repeatable building types, for which the technology has been deployed so impressively by Robertson Ceco and Selvaag BlueThink."

Added Rob Whitesell, vice president, Bentley Software, "Though Design Power has always supported integration with other vendors' solutions, Bentley's steadfast commitment to open standards, particularly ISO 15926, will provide Design Power users with even greater opportunities for interoperations. ISO 15926 will facilitate higher levels of data fidelity when moving data into detailed plant design software, allowing the transfer of complete, fully optimized conceptual designs, rather than simply rough snapshots. And the openness of our new FEED solution means all users, especially PDS users, can reap its many benefits on any of their projects."

Said Ulf Strom, "All of us at Design Power are pleased to be joining the Bentley organization, and know that our many loyal users will be impressed with and benefit from Bentley's comprehensive portfolio of solutions and capabilities. The new FEED solution that incorporates PlantWise is the first of many innovations they can look forward to."

Design Power is part of a DigitalPlant acquisition strategy for FEED that began with the purchase of the AXSYS suite of products from Aspentech in 2004, followed by the acquisition of the STAAD product line in 2005. It is yet another achievement towards Bentley's dual objectives of improving the productivity of its users through interoperable solutions with which they are already familiar, and of leveraging the power of engineering information beyond the design workflows in the plant lifecycle.

Bentley and the Design Power team will work closely with Selvaag BlueThink, creator of computer-based tools that automate residential building design, in its application of Design++ technology to building industry processes.

Bentley Systems Inc. ( provides software for the lifecycle of the world's infrastructure. The company's comprehensive portfolio for the building, plant, civil, and geospatial verticals spans architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) and operations. With revenues now surpassing $400 million annually, and more than 2000 colleagues around the world, Bentley is the leading provider of AEC software to the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms and major owner-operators and was named the world's No. 2 provider of GIS/geospatial software solutions in a recent Daratech research study.


Also see:
-- "Bentley acquires KIWI Software to deliver complete structural workflow solution: Flagship product line, ProSteel 3D, solution for structural steel detailing, fabrication"
-- "Bechtel tackles challenging projects with help of Bentley's ProjectWise: Refinery in India has plot plan bigger than London, timescale of less than 36 months"


More in Infrastructure Funding