Ansys Fluent To Siemens STAR-CCM+: Why So Many Engineers Are Making The Switch

In the world of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, Ansys Fluent has long been the go-to for accurate fluid flow simulations. But as we know all too well, in the world of tech, change is the only constant. With Siemens STAR-CCM+ stepping up as a serious contender, engineers are taking a second look at their software choices. To truly understand why this shift is happening, we’re diving into the advantages and disadvantages of each option and how they impact us engineers working behind the screen. 

When it comes to CFD software, simulation capabilities reign supreme, and STAR-CCM+ is a standout in this department. Unlike Fluent, STAR-CCM+ flawlessly incorporates multiphysics simulations, empowering engineers to tackle fluid flow, heat transfer, structural mechanics, and chemical reactions all under one roof. This seamless integration not only simplifies the simulation process but also cuts down on the hassle of transferring data between various software packages.

When looking at meshing, however, we find that STAR-CCM+’s meshing algorithm is praised for its efficiency, but isn’t always the best fit for every simulation scenario. Some users have reported specific challenges with mesh quality or compatibility with certain geometries, highlighting the importance of thorough evaluation and testing before committing to a particular software solution for your specific use case. We have found that Fluent’s meshing can offer a slightly more user-friendly experience although STAR is very close these days. Both tools have versatile volume meshing choices and mesh size preview, so engineers can avoid wasted time on grids that are too coarse or fine.

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For engineers who prioritize solver technology (and let’s be honest, you should), STAR-CCM+ shines in both scalability and parallel performance. Unlike Fluent’s past struggles with scalability, especially in hefty simulations with intricate geometries or multiphysics scenarios, STAR-CCM+ utilizes advanced parallelization techniques and solver algorithms to excel across various computing setups including taking advantage of GPU’s for a growing list of solvers and physics. This scalability empowers engineers to tackle even the toughest simulations with confidence, free from computational constraints.

“Having personally used STAR-CCM+ for over a decade, and overseeing a team of engineers who have done the same, I can vouch for its simulation scalability and performance,”  Naethan Eagles, Co Founder and Technical Director of TotalSim says. “It’s a real game changer for engineers dealing with complex simulations.” 

While Fluent has drawn criticism for its steep learning curve and somewhat ‘clunky’ user interface, which can slow down productivity and stifle innovation, STAR-CCM+ takes a different approach. With a more intuitive user interface and many workflow automation tools, STAR-CCM+ simplifies the simulation process, catering to both beginners and seasoned experts alike.

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Over the past decade, some of  the shift from Fluent to STAR-CCM+ has been driven by licensing models. Fluent’s requirement for users to incrementally purchase a ‘High Performance Computing (HPC) Pak’ for computing cores sharply contrasts STAR-CCM+’s “Power Session” license  and “Power on Demand” tokens, which offer unlimited computing and greater flexibility. As both softwares move towards more hybrid and true SaaS offerings , Siemens STAR-CCM+ is still leading with innovative and efficient licensing for users across all industries taking advantage of the latest compute hardware in the cloud.

Companies like TotalSim, which both use, sell and support  STAR-CCM+ for their clients, appreciate its seamless integration into existing design processes, allowing engineers to focus on engineering tasks while minimizing software barriers.

While we try not to play favorites, let’s face it – as engineers, we’re all about the facts. And the fact is, STAR-CCM+ is the real deal. With their aggressive 6 month software release schedule and continuous updates and enhancements, it’s no surprise they’re leading the pack in thermal  fluid simulations. This shift in preference highlights both the evolving industry trends and STAR-CCM+’s growing edge over traditional leaders like Ansys Fluent.

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