Demonstrating the Positive ROI of CFD Simulation

Engineers on the front lines of product development know that CFD analysis can be extremely helpful in reducing time to market, designing a better quality product, etc. More important, and perhaps less well know, is the positive impact that fluid dynamics analysis can have on return on investment (ROI). The benefits of CFD far outweigh its initial costs.

We’ve all heard John C. Maxwell’s famous words, “Fail early, fail often.” The Aberdeen Group has a similar take: In its report “The Impact of Strategic Simulation on Product Profitability,” it proposes a new paradigm, “simulate early and often.” By performing highly accurate CFD studies early in the design phase, best-in-class companies can simulate the behavior of hundreds of designs under a wide range of operating condition, all before the first physical prototype is even built. The obvious result is reduction in physical testing costs. But this is only a small part of the total return from CFD simulations. Gaining a better insight in product behavior early in the development process has the following advantages:

  • Eliminating major design changes late in the development process: Your organization can avoid costly late-stage design changes and product launch delays.
  • Better understanding of how products behave in the real world: Simulation helps you understand early on how your product performs under various conditions and helps to avoid product failure once it’s in the customer’s hand.
  • Better product optimization: By optimizing product candidates early, you physically build and test only the most promising prototypes.

The proof? In the white paper “Cutting Design Costs: How Industry Leaders Benefit from Fast and Reliable CFD,” there are many examples of companies that have realized large saving thanks to CFD simulation. Some excellent examples:

  • Thanks to CFD simulations, Weil-McLainFluidDA and AcoustiFLOW each saved six months or more in their development processes.
  • By studying product behavior using CFD, Intelligent Fluid Solutions’ engineers cut two  years over the build-and-test approach and saved $55,000.
  • Dyson reached a 250 percent quality improvement testing 200 different designs using simulation. Physical testing would have allowed only for 20 tests.

What is your opinion? What other arguments would you add to demonstrate the large positive ROI simulation can provide? Are there other examples in which using CFD simulation led to time to market reduction or costs saving? Feel free to contribute to the discussion by leaving a reply.

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About Gilles Eggenspieler

Gilles is the Director Academic Program (North America) at ANSYS. Before that, he worked for Fluent and ANSYS in different roles: fluid product line manager, consulting, technical services, training, etc. Gilles has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master's of Science from Ecole Nationale des Mines de Nancy, and a MBA from the Tepper Business School- Carnegie Mellon University.