Bentley Acquires Geotechnical Modeling Companies
Emily Pollock posted on May 09, 2018 |
A geotechnical model in Plaxis 3D. Plaxis, along with SoilVision, was recently acquired by Bentley Systems, Incorporated. (Image courtesy of Plaxis.)
A geotechnical model in Plaxis 3D. Plaxis, along with SoilVision, was recently acquired by Bentley Systems, Incorporated. (Image courtesy of Plaxis.)

Bentley Systems, Incorporated, recently announced that it had acquired geotechnical software company Plaxis and had obtained an agreement to acquire soil engineering software provider SoilVision.

Bentley is well-known for its building information modeling (BIM) software, which is used in the AEC fields as well as by geospatial professionals. Up until these current acquisitions, the company hasn't focused on the geotechnical sector, but both of its new acquisitions are geotechnically focused organizations.

Plaxis is responsible for geotechnical design software that models the behavior of earth materials like rock, soil and water. Its software is used by professionals in the mining, tunneling, excavation and energy industries. In Bentley's news release on the acquisition, CEO Greg Bentley said he believes that "every geotechnical engineer has benefitted from Plaxis’ continuous advancement" and that "Plaxis has become one of the most successful software businesses I have ever seen.”

SoilVision's software focuses on the behavior of soil and groundwater, and is capable of analyzing data like slope stability, groundwater flow, soil stress, the transport of contaminants through soil, and thermal flow in soil. Its software is heavily used on geotechnical and hydroecological projects, including dams and levees, mining, geothermal and nuclear energy projects, and landslide risk analysis.

Bentley has a history of acquisitions stretching back more than 20 years. Most recently, in January,  the company acquired S-Cube Futuretech Pvt Ltd., in an effort to improve its service on concrete building design and documentation. Bentley executives believe that the company’s two latest geotechnical acquisitions will allow it to offer a unified workflow that combines BIM and geotechnical modeling. They hope that the unified workflow will make its products more attractive to geotechnical engineers looking for an all-in-one solution.

Company executives also point to the importance of geotechnical considerations across projects, even those that are not specifically geotechnically focused. "Because infrastructure assets are crucially linked to subsurface environs," Bentley’s press release reads, "they are vulnerable to geo-environmental risks, including seismic activity, subsidence, and weather impacts." All projects build from the ground up, and, especially when projects involve tunneling or building in earthquake-prone areas, understanding that ground is important.

“While most infrastructure engineering disciplines converged around intuitive 3D models, geotechnical applications seem to have followed a less graphically intensive development path, and so have remained isolated from cross-discipline workflows," according to the company. "Our BIM platform’s comprehensive modeling environment will finally embrace the geotechnical profession in digital workflows for every infrastructure project and asset.”

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