There was, I believe, a tendency among some other CFD practitioners, to dismiss Flomerics in the early days as “second-class CFD” or “Mickey Mouse CFD”. And much more recently a similar charge has been levelled at Nika’s EFD software. In both cases, I believe that the perception resulted from a tendency to mistake “simple to use CFD” for “simple CFD”. The two are absolutely not the same thing. Indeed, I would argue that it is more difficult in many ways to provide CFD that is simple and safe to use by non-CFD-specialists than to provide general-purpose CFD software for use by “experts”.
Admittedly “application specific” software such as FLOTHERM or FLOVENT only needs to address one class of problems – but it needs to do this extremely well. It must be possible for a user to define the problem, perform the computations, and interpret the results, with virtually no knowledge of the subtleties of CFD – convergence control, grid generation, treatment of turbulence, wall functions, etc. All of these things need to be, as far as possible, handled automatically – that is, the developer takes ownership of them, rather than expecting the user to do so.
Most importantly, the software must produce “good results” – meaning converged, and “accurate enough” (that is, providing the required engineering accuracy) – consistently and efficiently, with minimal reliance on the user’s input or CFD expertise.
All of this provides particular challenges for the developer of the software, and imposes software quality standards that make the creation of “application-specific” CFD software just as challenging in its way as developing advanced general-purpose CFD software.
So – don’t mistake “simple to use CFD” for “simple CFD”!