US: Bentley Systems, a leading global provider of comprehensive software solutions for advancing infrastructure, has announced the acquisition of Plaxis, the leading provider of geotechnical software, based in Delft, Netherlands, and the agreement to acquire soil engineering software provider SoilVision, based in Saskatchewan, Canada. The acquisitions, with Bentley’s market-leading borehole reporting and data management software gINT, serve to make Bentley a complete source for geotechnical professionals “going digital.” Finally, BIM advancements can be extended to the essential subsurface engineering of every infrastructure project.
Projects necessarily begin with geotechnical surveys and sampling, captured with gINT for versatile documentation and reporting. Next, professionals perform engineering related to soil properties, soil behavior, and groundwater flow using SoilVision’s SVOFFICE applications, supplemented by Plaxis’ offerings. Then soil-structure interaction is analyzed through Plaxis’ design, simulation, and engineering software (e.g. PLAXIS 2D, PLAXIS 3D).
The new opportunity, by way of digital workflows, enabled through Bentley’s comprehensive modeling environment, is for geotechnical applications to be integrated with Bentley’s structural applications (such as STAAD, RAM, and SACS) for unprecedented geo-structural engineering performance. As changes may occur in owner requirements, structural strategies, or site conditions (continuously surveyed through UAVs and Bentley’s ContextCapture for reality modeling), geotechnical analysis could be continuously applied for improved outcomes, as managed through ProjectWise collaboration services.
For today’s infrastructure demands, geotechnical considerations are coming to the fore. Urbanization, for instance, drives growth both vertically and underground, with emphasis on the capacity of foundations and tunnels. And new infrastructure projects of every type depend upon constructed dams, embankments, dikes, levees, and reservoirs to improve their resilience. Moreover, new asset types such as offshore wind turbine structures require new geotechnical analysis capabilities, in this case to be accomplished with Plaxis’ forthcoming MoDeTo software.
Because infrastructure assets are crucially linked to subsurface environs, they are vulnerable to geo-environmental risks including seismic activity, subsidence, and weather impacts. Leveraging new digital workflows which incorporate real-time monitoring and analytics during infrastructure operations, geotechnical professionals can play the increasingly valuable role they deserve in achieving geo-environmental resilience.
Bentley Systems CEO, Greg Bentley said, “My colleagues and I welcome our new teams from Plaxis and SoilVision, which have in common a zeal for applying science for better engineering practice. Dr. Ronald Brinkgreve from Plaxis and Dr. Murray Fredlund, founder of SoilVision, exemplify this. I believe that every geotechnical engineer has benefitted from Plaxis’ continuous advancement, in scope and quality, of tools for their discipline to add value. With a professional and dedicated management team led by Jan-Willem Koutstaal, Plaxis has become one of the most successful software businesses I have ever seen.”
Bentley added, “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. This ‘disconnected’ mindset prevailed even while Plaxis, SoilVision, and gINT mainstreamed 3D innovations. Our BIM platform’s comprehensive modeling environment will finally embrace the geotechnical profession in digital workflows for every infrastructure project and asset.”
Tony O’Brien, global practice leader for geotechnics for Mott MacDonald, said, “PLAXIS is one of our core analysis tools being used across our global geotechnics practice. When used by experienced specialists, PLAXIS can analyze many of our most complex ground-structure interaction problems. In Bentley’s hands, we have high expectations that we can accomplish more through digital workflows made possible through integration of PLAXIS technology with Bentley’s comprehensive modeling environment—workflows that are compatible with Mott MacDonald’s commitment to connected thinking and solving complex infrastructure challenges.”