ESI was created in France in 1973 by Alain de Rouvray, current Chairman and President, with three other Berkeley Ph.D.s colleagues and partners (Jacques Dubois, Iraj Farhooman, Eberhard Haug). The company initially operated as a consulting company for European defense, aerospace and nuclear industries. ESI gradually developed sophisticated simulation techniques based on finite element analysis, and acquired a broad understanding of industrial processes and needs. The company opened a subsidiary in Germany in 1979, ESI GmbH.
In 1985, ESI teamed up with a German consortium led by Volkswagen to become the first company to develop simulation software for analyzing the severe deformations inflicted on a car as a result of a crash-test. This was the first step towards the development of ESI flagship product PAM-CRASH.
In 1991, ESI Group raised venture capital from Burr, Egan Deleage and changed its structure to become a software editor of Applied Mechanics. To market its software more widely ESI Group set up subsidiaries in the United States and Japan, and a few years later in South Korea.
In 1997, ESI Group acquired from Framatome its software subsidiary Framasoft, a leading French provider of mechanical simulation tools (SYSTUS, SYSWELD), especially in nuclear industry. In December 1999, ESI Group reinforced its leadership in stamping simulation with the acquisition of Dynamic Software, editor of the Optris "virtual press" software.
By its IPO on July 6th, 2000, ESI Group was successfully introduced on the Paris "Nouveau Marché" stock market, and raised about 30 millions Euros.
Between 2000 and 2005, ESI Group pursued an active acquisitions policy by successfully integrating companies such as MECAS, for developing Eastern European markets, STRACO and VASCi (Vibro-Acoustic Sciences), for solutions in noise simulation and acoustic comfort, or L3P, for manufacturing processes of composite materials. ESI Group strengthened its strategic position in the casting and the industrial metallurgy with the acquisition of ProCAST teams and software from UES, a US company, followed by the integration of the Swiss-based software company Calcom. In July 2003 ESI Group acquired from the American vendor EASi, the intellectual property rights to EASi's CAE simulation design and control software environments. Finally, the acquisition of CFD Research Corporation’s product division in 2004 enabled ESI Group to diversify its business in advanced Fluid Dynamics targeting new market sectors with strong growth potential, including electronics, biotechnology and alternative energies.
In February 2006, ESI Group confirmed the acquisition of the branch of IPS International for digital simulation services in engineering applications (CAE), as well as the intellectual property rights to their virtual human models “H-Models”. In April 2006, ESI Group announced the signing of a strategic partnership that aims to take over the Chinese-based company ATE Technology International’s activities, integrating teams which bring an expertise of integrated solutions in the aeronautic sector. Through these operations, ESI Group aims to complement its services offer with high end projects to promote innovation and realistic simulation adoption and to strengthen its installed base support.
In December 2008, ESI Group announced the acquisition of Vdot™, a US software platform for lean process management from the US company Procelerate Technologies Inc.. Vdot™ is an enterprise process decision-making tool that can capture and automate best practices for our customers. As a result, Vdot™ naturally complements the range of digital simulation solutions, delivering virtual prototyping integration and synchronization within Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).
Also in December 2008, ESI Group announced the acquisition of leading US Services provider Mindware Engineering Inc. This acquisition clearly accelerates ESI Group’s ability to empower Virtual Prototyping in the Simulation-Based Design Fluid Dynamics market. The good cultural fit of the teams will also contribute to strengthen the leading position in the fast growing world of digital simulation to provide high value multi-domain and multi-physics solutions. This acquisition is also in line with the US development strategy.
In 2008 and 2009, ESI Group strengthened its position and opened a new subsidiary in Italy and in Brazil. ESI Group’s aim is to extend its worldwide presence to better help customers keep their international competitive edge.
In 2009, ESI Group expanded into Tunisia with the creation of a ‘near-shore’ services division dedicated to high value-added projects and also strengthened its strategic partnership with the Tunisian firm Acoustica.
In 2010, ESI Group employs more than 750 high-level specialists worldwide. Headquartered in Paris (France), the company and its global network of agents provide sales and technical support to customers in more than 30 countries.
In 2011, ESI acquires IC.IDO GmbH, the leading European vendor of immersive Virtual Reality solutions, allowing customers to experience their models ‘live’ in 3D, to support effective and collective decision-making.
The acquisition of Efield follows: the European specialist in electromagnetic simulation solutions strengthens ESI ’s electromagnetic offering.
In 2012, ESI Group, acquires OpenCFD Ltd., the leader in the Open Source Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software segment, from SGI, the trusted leader in Technical Computing. ESI Group consequently becomes the owner of the OpenFOAM® trademark, widely recognized in automotive, energy, aerospace and other industry sectors.
In September, ESI Group opens its first offices in Russia, strengthening its existing position on the fast-growing Russian market, calling for Virtual Engineering solutions in the aerospace, energy, heavy industry and automotive sectors.
In November, ESI signs a joint-venture framework agreement with BIAM-AVIC (Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials), to follow up on the strategic partnership agreement signed in 2011.
In November, ESI also signs a protocol for a multi-year strategic collaboration agreement with Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company. This agreement aims at developing Virtual Prototyping technologies and promoting Virtual Engineering in the space domain, and addresses critical needs in the design and manufacture of next generation launchers.
In January 2013, Renault and ESI Group sign a framework agreement for strategic collaboration. The agreement aims at supporting Renault’s new strategic plan
“Renault 2016 – Drive the Change”. This competitive plan requires the introduction of new materials and processes, whose impact must be evaluated and tested quickly and reliably. Renault and ESI will face this challenge together by co-creating adequate Virtual Prototyping solutions.
In May 2013, ESI signs the Joint Venture contract initiated in 2012 with AVIC-BIAM. Both companies agree to operate the newly incorporated “AVIC-ESI (Beijing) Technology Co.Ltd”.
Snapshot of ESI: Today, ESI employs more than 1000 high-level specialists worldwide. Headquartered in Paris (France), the company and its global network of agents provide sales and technical support to customers in more than 40 countries.