From an engineering firm to an international software company
In 1995, Michael Wohlmuth and Dr. Hendrik Schafstall founded an engineering firm named FEMUTEC engineering GmbH for development and distribution of simulation solutions for metal, specifically hot forging and cold bulk forming.
The founding story
Michael Wohlmuth and Hendrik Schafstall meet at the institute of construction and manufacturing technology at the Bundeswehr University (today Helmut-Schmidt-University): Michael Wohlmuth was a research associate and Hendrik Schafstall was a doctoral student, and both worked on aspects of bulk forming.
The business idea for the founding of a joint company originated during the 1994 CeBIT in Hannover: “We presented our research results on fully automated 2D-Simulation of simple forming processes and quickly realized that we had apparently found a solution approach, in which the industry was very interested,” remembered Michael Wohlmuth.
Encouraged and supported by the then-chair Professor Arno Behrens – not to be confused with his son Bernd-Arno Behrens (IFUM Leibniz University of Hannover) – Michael Wohlmuth and Hendrik Schafstall founded the engineering firm FEMUTEC on Jan. 1st, 1995.
The young firm targeted companies in the German market with their engineering services for forming technology. As a standard tool for simulation, FEMUTEC settled on the software product MARC/Autoforge – later known as MSC SuperForm (forming) and MSC SuperForge of MSC Software early on.
MSC Software – Partner from the very start
MSC Software (MSC) is one of the oldest international software companies. The US company has been developing CAE software for simulation and virtual product development since 1963. With its broad product portfolio, MSC holds a prominent position on the market. “What convinced us that MARC was the right choice the unrivaled quality of the solver, which makes up the heart of the software,” explains Dr. Hendrik Schafstall. Solvers are special computer programs, which can solve mathematical problems numerically. “The first steps with MARC were a real challenge,” Michael Wohlmuth remembers. “We had nine months, to develop a then-theoretically impossible 3D-display for MARC.” Yet together with their first employee Peter Kraft, who worked as a software developer and heads the software development department to this day, the project was successful and resulted in a first lucrative order. The MARC company has been a part of MSC Software since 1999.
In the first few years, FEMUTEC’s projects concentrated on the introduction of simulation solutions based on MSC’s software; planning, consulting and project management made up the core of the business. Experience gained from these projects suggested many customer- and project-specific software enhancements. From the start, headquarters of the young company were at the Tempowerkring in Hamburg-Heimfeld.
Seven years after the founding, the first milestone was reached: MSC Software and FEMUTEC entered into a formal partnership in 2002. FEMUTEC was named the exclusive MSC service and sales partner for MSC SuperForm and MSC SuperForge in the German-speaking region. As a result, FEMUTEC started building their own in-house software development team, initially focused on the development of additional functions for the MSC’s products. At this point, the company had eight employees.
Due to its high level of professional expertise in simulation technology and growing experience in forming technology, FEMUTEC was able to establish the software on the market and continually grow their customer base, even beyond the borders of the German-speaking countries.
In early 2007 the next big step in the development of the company occured: FEMUTEC took over the entire forming simulation business department of MSC and assumed responsibility for the MSC products MSC.SuperForm and MSC SuperForge. This completed the evolution of FEMUTEC from engineering provider to a software developer in a highly specialized market.
From that point in time, things moved very fast: to communicate the company’s core competence of “Simulating Manufacturing,” FEMUTEC is rebranded Simufact Engineering in 2008. In-house software development was greatly expanded in Hamburg and as the MSC products were re-launched on the market under the name Simufact Forming.
Simufact-Products: MSC-Solver inside
While the solver technology continued to be based on MSC’s Marc and Dytran products, the forming-specific business logic and the graphic user interface (GUI) of the Simufact Forming software were developed by Simufact.
Also in 2007, Simufact opened an additional office in Baunatal and the number of employees reached 20.
In the same year Simufact began systematically building an international Reseller Network. The first channel partners were signed in Japan, Korea and Europe. Simultaneously, Simufact Americas was founded in Michigan. In 2012, the founding of Simufact India followed, and in 2014 Simufact office was opened in Tokyo, Japan.
Today, Simufact consists of a network of its own locations in Germany, MSC’s global locations, as well as over 20 channel partners around the globe all contributing to offering extensive services to our customers.
Located in the Hit Technopark at the Tempowerkring for 20 years now
Where the three-wheeled delivery trucks of the brand Tempo were manufactured up until 1960, which still give the Tempowerkring its name, Professors of the TU Hamburg-Harburg founded the "Hit Technopark" in cooperation with the city of Hamburg in the mid-1980s. Young entrepreneurs, mostly TUHH alumni, found affordable rooms for rent for research, development and production as well as technological and organizational support. Only a few short months after the company founding, Simufact rented out its first offices in the Hit Technopark in 1996. “We began at the Tempowerkring 1 with 12 square meters and two Ikea desks” remembers Michael Wohlmuth. Six moves within the Tempowerkring then followed, the last in early 2014 to the newly constructed Tempowerkring 19, which included expanding office space to today’s 800 square meters. ”For our customers and employees this was very convenient having to only change the street number a couple of times” said a pleased Michael Wohlmuth. “The good infrastructure and the flexible possibilities of expansion in the direct vicinity were all good reasons to stay at Tempowerkring”, he explains.
In 2010 Simufact launched a second product line with Simufact Welding, simulation software for welding processes, after four years of in-house development. Simufact originated the software based on specifications dictated by a task force of the German automotive industry. After being used primarily by research institutions, the software gained dramatically in functional maturity with the release of Version 4 in 2014, and it is now used productively in industrial practice.
The simulation of industrial forming and welding processes is a specific subgroup of the intensely growing market for CAE applications (Computer Aided Engineering). Modern technologies, in particular IT technologies, have revolutionized industrial manufacturing; this computerization of manufacturing, branded as “Industry 4.0” in Germany since 2011, is a future-oriented project in the high tech strategy of the German government. This industry is booming.
Germany is not the only country to offer growth potential: in the industrialized European countries, in the U.S., Japan or South Korea Simufact technology is widespread, other markets in China, India and South America are emerging.
Simufact is entering into its 21st year, newly acquired as a subsidiary of MSC, with excellent growth potential.
Timeline of Simufact History
Founding of FEMUTEC engineering GmbH by Michael Wohlmuth and Dr. Hendrik Schafstall
First customer conference “RoundTable” in Bamberg
FEMUTEC engineering GmbH is named services and distribution partner and is awarded the exclusive sales license for the MSC products MSC SuperForm and MSC SuperForge
Number of employees: 8
In-house software development begins, initially focused on the development of additional features for the MSC products
Opening of a new office in Baunatal (today: Kassel)
Development of Simufact Welding begins, simulation software for welding processes
MSC Superform and MSC Superforge are combined in conjunction with the market release of the company’s first software product Simufact Forming
Rebranding of the company as Simufact Engineering GmbH
Founding of Simufact Americas LLC, with headquarters near Detroit
Founding of the Solver Development Center (SDC) in Detroit
Simufact integrates the non-linear CAE-technologies Marc and Dytran in the application Simufact Forming (Dual Solver Technology)
Market release of Simufact Welding, simulation software for welding processes
Founding of Simufact India Pvt. Ltd. with headquarters in Bangalore
Move to a new office building at Tempowerkring 19
Opening of Tokyo, Japan office
First customer events for users of Simufact Welding
MSC Software acquires Simufact
Simufact celebrates its 20th business anniversary
Simufact launches Simufact Additive, a newly developed solution for process simulation of metal-based additive manufacturing
Hexagon acquires MSC Software and its business units