Product design and advanced engineering software provider, Altair Engineering India Pvt Ltd, also offers on-demand computing technologies, and enterprise analytics solutions to its clients. About 60 % of Altair's clients are from the automotive sector in India, which is the biggest single industry segment that employs the company's products. Pavan Kumar, Managing Director, Altair Engineering India Pvt Ltd spoke of the company's prominence in the automotive industry, and shared details on Altair's consulting services, its exclusivity, and new products & technologies.
Within the automotive industry, the company provides solutions for all segments, from two-wheelers to off-highway applications. Having started as a consulting firm providing services on simulation software, Altair later expanded its product portfolio to assist engineers with the development of products. The consulting business has now been renamed Product Design, Kumar said.
The Product Design department has over 500 engineers globally, performing product design consultancy. This team is capable of taking a customer product brief and converting it into a product, taking all the steps in between into account, Kumar explained. Consultancy services in the public domain typically involve the development of variants of vehicles, noted Kumar. But in India, consultancy assignments for Altair go beyond variants, as the company also specialises in off-highway and heavy engineering applications.
"The team in India has the credit of making at least one backhoe loader, a road leveller and one excavator, in addition to assisting other locations with their programmes," Kumar said.
The unique quality of Altair, besides its domain knowledge, is that its employees form a part of its end users, apart from external customers. Employees from the consulting side, consisting of the Product Design department, are among the company's product users. This results in feedback on the company's products being offered instantly between departments, along with the feedback received from external customers. This enables quicker modification to the tools, making them more friendly and adept at handling a job, Kumar said.
Altair's licensing model is also claimed to be different from other companies, as licensing is not based on modules, but on units. Since customers can use units of a certain tool in areas that need them the most and not necessarily use an entire module, customers find value proposition in this model. Kumar noted that the company does not earn much through this model, but lets customers deploy units, where there is most use, and ensures business even during economic slowdowns. This licensing model has been resonating well with customers, he added.
NEW PRODUCTS AND AREAS
Altair has a number of products that are used by both OEMs and suppliers in the automotive industry. The company claims to continuously develop these products, which enables manufacturers to achieve the current needs of the industry, namely efficiency, fuel economy, lightweighting and safety.
In addition to these requirements, Altair is working on domains including noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels and durability. The company's expertise in these areas has helped it prepare a guide that can be employed by companies in order to receive desired results, Kumar said. Altair also customises its products in these domains specifically for the requirements of individual clients, and their method of manufacture.
Another new area of focus for Altair's products is in providing validation capabilities for products at the conceptual stage itself. For this, the company launched a new technology, called Inspire, which is essentially an industrial design tool that performs topology optimisation at the first stage of design. This is a unique product from Altair, whose introduction is taking place within OEMs, said Kumar.
Simulation software is being developed for new physics like Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Compatibility (EMC). Software with these new physics is beginning to be integrated into the company's products, he explained. The electromagnetic solutions provided by Altair is claimed to be driven from naval technology, and is currently being used by a large OEM, along with the antenna design module. Kumar refused to divulge further details.
Altair looks to retain its growth trajectory in the coming years, and sees value proposition in technology in the future. The industry has to make the move from being people-oriented to technology-oriented, Kumar observed. There is a need for the government to come out with policies to aid growth, in order to displace the stagnations seen now in the automotive industry, he added.
Text: Naveen Arul