Tag Archives: ANSYS


Comsol. If you are like me than you know the name, know it’s a CAE company, but after that things start to get sketchy.

I routinely run across their ads in all the major printed and online outlets. Their business must be growing because they spend a lot of money on promotion. On the Comsol web site the company states it has 200 employees which suggests to me they have $35 – $50 million in annual Sales.

A couple years ago when I was at Blue Ridge Numerics I phoned up one of my peers at Comsol to kick around the idea of collaboration but I was told a message had come from the top to terminate all dialogue because I was a competitor. Seemed kind of paranoid to me but to each his own.

Last week my curiousity got the better of me (again) so I sent an e-mail to the designated conatct at Comsol requesting a 10 minute phone conversation to discuss a few basic questions on dealing with complex CAD geometry and meshing techniques — so far, nothing. I also sent a similar request to one of the Authorized consultants listed on the Comsol web site but they blew me off too. Such is the life of a rookie blogger.

A thermoacoustics simulation of an ear canal simulator with a damped Helmholtz resonator. The model includes thermal conduction and viscous losses and allows for customizing the acoustic response.(Image courtesy of COMSOL Inc)

The Comsol product line is jaw dropping. These guys do it all! Their flagship product is Comsol Multiphysics which appears to provide a ton of openess and flexibility to set up a simulation consisting of just about any combination of physics. They also provide a tantalizing set of add-on simulation modules to tackle all kinds of extreme realities that only an engineer could love: CFD, microfluidics, subsurface flow, chemical reaction, electrodeposition, batteries and fuel cells, plasma, and acoustics just to name a few.

Beyond all the cool physics Comsol also provides a LiveLink module for customers who want to work with a geometric model in Creo, SolidWorks, Inventor, and a few others.

By all accounts Comsol does it all.  I mean these guys talk about doing fluid-structure interaction like it’s just run of the mill, no big deal. We’re talking CAE studs! The alpha male. The cock of the walk. Superman. Michael Jordan (before his first retirement).

Which brings me to the question I’ve wanted answered for several years now… If Comsol is as amazing as it sounds why isn’t everyone using it? Shouldn’t ANSYS be on Red Alert? Why isn’t Autodesk, PTC or one of the other cash-rich, simulation-poor CAD companies dropping some major coin to acquire this treasure trove before it gets too expensive.

At a technical level I would really like to know: 1) is one mesh used for all/most simulations, i.e. the same mesh for CFD, Structural, Acoustics, etc. and 2) what is the workflow process when starting with a prexisitng, complex CAD assembly? My hunch is that the answers to these two will also answer my previous one.

If you know — or think you know — the answer to any of the above, please clue me in. The world needs… heck, I need… a hero. Maybe Comsol is it but they’re not telling.


ANSYS… Everything but Vision

Early this morning I’m making my Monday rounds and stumble across an ANSYS ad promoting themselves as the trusted leader in CFD. OK, I’ll take the bait… I click and voila I’m immersed in a wonderful world of professionally produced videos, white papers, and the like.

A compelling and fact-based story is told by ANSYS about how they push the boundaries of simulation, provide solutions for today and tomorrow, deliver solutions that are fast and reliable, and last but not least, customer-driven. If you haven’t checked it out yet I encourage you to do so: CFD Insight Leadership Series.

This is really good marketing from ANSYS, a company that historically hasn’t put much effort into such things. It is informative, entertaining, and effective.

As I plow through the content one thought reoccurs. Where is the vision? The information provided persuades me that ANSYS is a market leader, they are committed to quality (they are ISO9001 certified), and that they have more smart people working on snarly CFD issues than anyone else in the world. If I’m selecting a simulation partner I absolutely want what ANSYS can supply.

But there is just one thing missing, vision. All of this wonderful content was made to persuade a PhD or hard-core researcher that ANSYS is the bestest, safest choice. Again, this is good and valid information but I’m looking for someone to tell me how they can make CFD part of my corporate process for product development. Tell me how ANSYS CFD will become indispensable to both my Engineers and our business. Help me understand what my business will look like in 2, 3, 5 years if I follow the ANSYS implementation roadmap. Unfortunately ANSYS leaves it up to me and my imagination to fill in the blanks.

ANSYS is not alone here. There is precious little vision coming from the CAE industry. This said, the CAE industry is still growing at 10% – 15% annually. Just imagine the impact simulation could have if a company could figure out how to teach other companies how to make it part of their process.