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Category: Computational Fluid Dynamics Software (CFD)
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Software CradleSoftware Cradle Co. Ltd.  (Osaka, Japan), is a leading developer and service provider of CFD software for design engineers.  Established in 1984, Cradle offers a suite of CFD products consisting of SC/Tetra (general purpose, unstructured mesh CFD, scSTREAM (general purpose, structured mesh CFD), HEAT Designer (electronics thermal analysis), and CADthru (CAD to CFD geometry translation).  Cradle CFD software products are known for their integrated pre-processor, solver, and post-processor, pre-processor meshing speed and robustness, memory efficient solvers, sophisticated physical models, professional post-processing/animation capabilities, and extremely competitive price-point.  All products are used by major engineering and product manufacturers in a multitude of industries.  Software Cradle products are distributed and supported worldwide by its offices in Japan and North America (Cradle North America, Beavercreek, OH), and distributors throughout Asia, North America, and Europe.

Acquire as much much information as you can so you can make the best buying decision

Choosing the right CFD software package for your engineering needs is critical to your success.  If you don’t select the right product, you’re guaranteed to waste valuable time, money, and resources, not to mention totally frustrating yourself and everyone counting on you to deliver results.  Ideally, your CFD software will

  • Efficiently build a high quality CFD mesh,
  • Quickly solve a variety of complex problems,
  • Parametrically evaluate the effects of design modifications, and
  • Effortlessly produce final reports with impressive graphics. 

How well the software achieves these goals for your specific applications determines your satisfaction.  Before you commit to a CFD software license, be sure you understand the potential problems that can keep you from achieving your goals and how Software Cradle CFD software products are designed to overcome these obstacles.

Sometimes “One Size Fits All” doesn’t fit all very well

A “One Size Fits All” general purpose Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software package may be able to solve every fluid/thermal application there is, but it may be more than you need.  Carrying extra baggage you’ll never use can be inefficient.  CFD software is primarily classified by the types of geometry you’ll be modeling and the physical phenomena you’ll be simulating.

If the geometries you’re modeling contain arbitrary shapes and complex curved surfaces and accurate representation of the flow field near these surfaces is critical, unstructured grid CFD software is your best choice.  Most CFD software on the market today is unstructured grid code.  For these customers, Cradle offers SC/Tetra, a general purpose, unstructured grid CFD software with an industry leading flexible and robust grid generator.

In contrast, structured Cartesian CFD software is less mentioned today, and some CFD developers consider structured code “old” technology. But many fluid/thermal applications, especially those where fine geometrical details are less influential, are better suited to structured grid software.  For these customers Cradle offers scSTREAM, extremely fast and versatile, structured grid CFD software.  Compared to its unstructured counterpart, structured grid solvers are usually faster, more accurate, more robust, and less memory intensive.  Some applications include electronics cooling (appliances, equipment casings, circuit boards, and heat sinks), building HVAC (clean rooms, computer center ventilation, houses, and parking structure ventilation), wind engineering (flow around buildings) and environmental issues (exhaust stack design, NOx diffusion in urban areas, heat island convection, and flooding).  

For those who perform electronics thermal analysis, Software Cradle offers HEAT Designer, a compact thermo fluid analysis tool specifically designed for electronics.  HEAT Designer uses a unique, easy to use interface for thermal analyses. It is coupled to a specialized version of the scSTREAM solver providing robust solution capabilities.  The Windows version of HEAT Designer can also be controlled from an external program such as Visual Basic or Excel by using "Microsoft COM technology". This can improve operating efficiencies by automating processes and/or creating user interfaces that are customized for specific user groups and applications.

Building high quality models

In the CFD world, a good model is everything.  A good model will produce accurate answers while a poor model can keep you from getting a converged solution, or worst, converge to an incorrect solution.  Building a high model is usually the most time consuming part of the CFD analysis.  Software Cradle offers CADthru, a CAD/CFD translator designed to clean up artifacts from the CAD process and reduce the amount of detail work often required to make the geometry ready for mesh generation.   Almost all CAD geometries, with any significant amount of complexity, will require some diagnosing and repair.

Most CFD software also has modest capabilities for repairing geometries, and the tools provided with the software are usually limited to very simple geometries.  If you work with complex geometries, most CFD software packages will necessitate purchasing additional 3rd party grid generation software to diagnose and repair the geometry and generate the volume mesh.  This can be a substantial additional cost.   In contrast, SC/Tetra has fully integrated geometry diagnostic and repair tools and mesh generation capabilities that rival 3rd party software packages.

Simulating complex physical phenomenon

Both SC/Tetra and scSTREAM are general purpose CFD packages that provide the flexibility to simulate a wide variety of fluid/thermal applications.   As you progressively demonstrate the value of CFD to your customers, you’ll likely be requested to do more CFD and apply it to different applications.   At a minimum, you should be able to solve for the flow field and temperatures (with heat transfer and radiation).   Can your CFD software also handle multi-phase flows (multi-fluids and multi-phases)?  How about chemical reactions and free surface flows?  Can you simulate transients?  How about moving boundaries and compressible flows?  Or do you need a human body thermoregulation model that is capable of simulating transient human body temperature changes?  Both SC/Tetra and scSTREAM offer a diverse range of solver functions and capabilities.

HEAT Designer:  Electronics thermal analysis software used by the best known electronics companies

The world's best known electronics companies use Cradle HEAT Designer to perform thermal analysis for their products.  Their demand for high accuracy highlights HEAT Designer's robust pre-processor for importing CAD geometry and generating a detailed mesh with potentially over one hundred million cells that captures even the most minute details.  HEAT Designer also contains high end features such as a two resistor model for electronic chips, importation and inclusion of PCB wiring patterns, thermal conduction for multi-layer parts, and a thermal circuit model for integrated circuits.   Complemented with a fast, memory efficient structured grid solver, large models can run quickly using model multi-core computer hardware.  For added multi-physics capabilities, HEAT Designer can be compled with scSTREAM to include multi-phase, chemical reaction, moving parts and free surface simulations.   In addition, HEAT Designer costs a much as 50% less than competitor products.

CFD can be expensive

You can expect the average cost for a single seat, general purpose, unstructured grid CFD software license to be approximately $ 25K per year or more.  If the geometry you’re modeling is highly complex, requiring 3rd party software for diagnosing and cleaning the geometry and creating the volume mesh, this could cost an additional $ 10K per year.  $ 35K per year to get in the door is expensive!   In contrast, a single seat license for SC/Tetra CFD software starts in the vacinity of $ 20K per year.   scSTREAM and HEAT Designer are also priced well below their respective competitors.

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