Viewpoint: CAE Consolidations Improve Integration

Consolidation is an inevitable consequence of business growth. The high-frequency industry has witnessed steady consolidation for several decades, especially in the military electronics sector. Now familiar names such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman derive from the former names of separate companies, such as Martin Marietta. In consolidation, the hope for business managers has always been to achieve a stronger single entity with the combination of two smaller business organizations.

The concern on the part of the customer, of course, has always been that a consolidation will change the way they do business with the new company. And this is especially true in the area of computer-aided engineering (CAE) products, where continued high-quality support is almost as important as the initial capabilities of the CAE products.

CAE software may be the one high-frequency product area in which consolidation makes the most sense, based on the way that these products are used. In the early years of high-frequency computer simulation and modeling, many CAE tools were stand-alone products, developed for a specific function such as creating and simulating amplifier circuits or filter networks. With these early CAE tools, it was usually possible to create a file format that could be exported to another software product, such as a SPICE simulator, but such file management required preparation and planning.

The way that engineers use CAE tools has changed dramatically over the years, to the point where the best tools are actually "consolidations" of different functions, integrated into a common operating system. Rather than convert files from specific model formats to netlists and back again, users can develop a model and seamlessly switch between harmonic-balance simlators, SPICE, and even electromagnetic (EM) simulators.

Because of this trend in CAE integration, the recent merger of circuit-level software house Eagleware with system-level software supplier Elanix makes perfect sense (see News 2 below). This represents a combination of companies that almost ideally complement each other, bringing strong analog circuit and system tools from Eagleware together with sophisticated digital-signal-processing (DSP) modeling tools from Elanix. There is little duplication between the two firms, so customers of either firm need not worry about loss of functionality or service in the merger. And, in the end, the customer should benefit with more integrated tools from the "new and improved" Eagleware, not only integrated in terms of device, circuit, and system modeling, but in terms of analog and digital functionality and behavior.

JACK BROWNE Publisher/Editor

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