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Dave October 17, 2001 15:41

Marketing CFD Services
Does anyone know of a marketing survey for CFD services? I'm trying to find out what are the most common applications. The listed applications of most commercial code suppliers are so diverse that it is not clear what applications would be worthwile for an individual consultant to focus on. Any opinions would be appreciated....Thanks!

John C. Chien October 17, 2001 20:48

Re: Marketing CFD Services
(1). The vendors of CFD software first sell the license to the user, then they offer phone service as to how to run the code, including the training. (2). So, you need to have the user who is willing to spend his money (or your money if you own his company's stock) to use your codes, to receive your training, and so forth. Whether the real problem will be actually solved is not the key issue. Everybody knows that there is little chance to get the right answer. (3). So, it is your ability to paint a beautiful picture for your client and get him to spend the money. That's all. (4). In all the cases, you don't even know whether there is a solution from the code, asssuming that you are using a code from someone else. (5). If you are not using someone else's code, then the situation is very simple. Write your code first. (it doesn't have to be good, complete or accurate) Sell your code next. (like any ordinary salesman) Pretending that the code is so advanced that the client needs training to be ahead of others. (6). I have been doing the selling here for over three years. It's been a good business. So, you must be willing to sell in order to provide services. As long as your service is just above your neighbor's, then you should be able to attract the customer to your camp. (7). If you still don't quite understand it, the best way to do is to visit a weekend flea market nearby. Just put up a cardboard sign and write "everything one dollar". (8). By the way, what is your definition of CFD service? and "anti-biotic drug" is selling at very fast rate, it might be a good place to start the service.

Dave October 17, 2001 23:35

Re: Marketing CFD Services
Thanks for relating your own experiences and also for your insightful thoughts on the "real world" of cfd code marketing. You've given me alot to think about. Your response also suggests that the most common and lucrative aspect of the CFD business is in the selling of codes to users, as opposed to fee-based, cfd service computations for customers. As it happens, my goals are the latter, to be a fee-based provider of cfd analysis. The problem I and other consultants like me face is in knowing which technical areas have the greatest potential for generating business, so we can make the best match between our own specialized knowledge and skills and what the marketplace needs. Impressions from examining the offerings of commercial code providers suggest that the most prevelant area of interest is probably air flow around aircraft, vehicles, and outside/inside of buildings, etc. Chemical engineering aspects such as mixing and reacting of chemicals in reactors also comes up frequently as does combustion in various forms. Pumps, fans and heat exchangers also appear to be lively areas. I would be interested in hearing your perspective on potential application areas...Regards, Dave

John C. Chien October 18, 2001 00:21

Re: Marketing CFD Services
(1). The aircraft company like Boeing has just announced that they are going to lay-off 12,000 worker by the end of this year. The total could run up to 30,000 later announced earlier. They are manufacture of commercial aircrafts, and they have their own engineers and CFD capabilities. You can visit their website and employment sections to get some feelings. (2). In the military aircrafts area, since they are not designing or building new fighter aircrafts, the chances are very low, especially it requires security clearance to work in this area. (3). But I guess, both government and the government sectors all have some kind of research projects, you will have to do some research to see whether you can submit the proposals in those areas.(4). Auto industries is commercial, so the business depends on whether they are making money or not. I would say that it is a wide open area, meaning that their problems are interesting, complex, and practical. I would say that it is a good area, if you like the automobile or the engine related design and analysis. (5). Combustion is always a very difficult field, so there are always un-solved problems. These are very difficult problems. It can be in the industrial combustor, jet engine combustor. If you have the reacting flow background, then it is a wide open area also. (6). As for the pumps, heat exchangers, these are products which have been around for a long time. There are already empirical formula around and test data available in the design processes. On one hand, it is a good field, because the product is always there. On the other hand, the improvement of the efficiency using CFD is not easy. The problem is highly complex and 3-D. (7). I think, CFD is intended for difficult problems by qualified engineers, so if you have strong background in these areas, there are always problems waiting to be solved. (8). I think, in the government side, they have publications on what they would like to have in terms of design or devices. In the commercial sectors, there is really no limit, if you can show that your analysis will improve the product efficiency or costs. (9). Sometimes, the subcontractor company will be looking for engineers to do CFD analysis for certain companies in certain fields. This will also give you some indications in terms of the market. (10). I think, you can get in touch with some government labs, auto companies, or chemical product companies to see the size of the need in their areas. Today it is easier, because more people have seen the name of CFD. Still I think, you have to be careful in using the name.

Dave October 18, 2001 01:36

Re: Marketing CFD Services
Thanks, this helps alot!

Helge October 18, 2001 03:36

Re: Marketing CFD Services
1) I have started with CFD consultancy almost 3 years ago. Although I tried to reach different industries I ended up in working for the automotive industry almost exclusivly. 2) My experience is that this is the biggest market. Also there are a lot of "standard problems" to solve like optimizing air ducts, performing underhood thermal management and brake cooling simulations which many companies do outsource. 3) In aerospace industry I think that although a lot of CFD is being done they are not willing to outsource that work because a lot of core know how is involved there. That seems to be also true for the chemical engineering. 4) Smaller companies who are thinking of integrating CFD into their development process normally ask the code vendors for help. And the vendors all consequently offer such services. 5) When you try to work for the automotive industry you should be able to offer everything from a: preperation of CAD data in the customers native CAD system 2: meshing with the customers preferred meshing tool (that can mean that person A in a company likes to have his mesh beeing built in ICEM and a collegue of him prefers pro*am) 3: performing simulations with the customers preferred code (in the automotive industry that is mainly STAR-CD and Fluent). 6) If you are willing to work on the customers site is also a plus. In any case you must have your office nearby your customer. 7) Do not try to work in Germany because this is my market . . .

Alton J. Reich October 18, 2001 09:41

Re: Marketing CFD Services

I am of the opinion that the best people to apply CFD are not necessarily folks with a PhD in engineering and have written their own CFD code. I believe that from a product design/optimization perspective, someone who knows the product and can learn how to use CFD is much more effective. Generally speaking, the goal is not to achieve perfect solution accuracy, it is to learn something about a "baseline" design and discover ways to improve the design. Often the best overall design is driven by comprimize between competing factors of pure flow performance, material cost, manufactuability, and structural stability.

If you have an experienced design engineer with CFD as one of the tools in his tool box, I think that the overall design will be better than if you have a CFD expert who knows nothing about the product.

So, to actually give some advice, I think you will find that you are most effective working in areas where you have a depth of experience. If you have done a lot of turbomachinery design, then that is the market you should pursue. You will have the most success in that area.

Regards, Alton

alex October 18, 2001 10:03

Re: Marketing CFD Services
As a design engineer who has a PhD in CFD and works on new product development, I would have to strongly disagree. Clearly, many things are critically important, such as detailed knowledge of CFD techniques (discretization, methods used, advantages/disadvantages, diffusion/disperion errors), physics of the problem, product/market orientation and not least presentation skills, but I would feel very uncomfortable making new design recommendations to my boss without clear understanding of advantages and accuracy limitations of my design/CFD solution, and those could only come from detailed understanding of CFD methodology and experience. You see, it's good when you know where potential problems could come from, and it's very dangerous (for the company, job security, world peace, etc.) when simply because of the limited knowledge base you do not even know that the problem exists.

Dave October 18, 2001 11:13

Re: Marketing CFD Services
Business pointers from experienced consultants like yourself are most appreciated. Germany can remain yours! Regards, Dave

Dave October 18, 2001 11:29

Re: Marketing CFD Services
Thanks Alton. I've had a combination of industrial R&D and academic research experiences and I agree that someone with a good fundamental understanding of a field, who reaches out for a specialized tool like cfd, can be more effective applying it than someone who approaches the problem from the opposite direction. Knowing your field helps you distinguish between correct and incorrect answers based on consistency or inconsistency of those answers with the fundamentals.

Sun October 18, 2001 12:04

Re: Marketing CFD Services
Does anyone give me some ideas of how I can market myself to a technical sales engineer position for a popular CFD Vendor in USA. I have a masters degree in Chemical engineering (specalizing in CFD). I have two years of buisness experience in India marketing software products. I do know and understand the CFD market, the diff codes available and the limitations. Any opinions would be appreciated... Thanks in advance.

John C. Chien October 18, 2001 12:08

Re: Marketing CFD Services
(1). I think, we are back to the field of "Human CFD Behavior" discussion. (2). For that purpose, we need to establish first the "CFD Bureau of Standards" as part of this ISO? (3). Perform the standard statistical survey first, then publish the result.

John C. Chien October 18, 2001 12:21

Re: Marketing CFD Services
(1). Ask your client, whether he likes to have a PhD to work on his problem first. If he said yes, then you can tell him that you have a PhD. No one will ask you to present the certificate in the contract negotiation. (2). Once you have the contract, subcontract out to your fellow co-worker with a PhD and get him signed on the finished analysis. Then you can pocket the fee without actually getting a PhD. (3). Assuming that you are the president of your current company, if the monitor of the project on the client side has a PhD, what is your chance to get the contract when you tell him that it is not required to have a PhD to get the right answer. I don't know the answer to this question. But I think, in that case, you can say that there is no need to have a PhD to be a company president.

John C. Chien October 18, 2001 13:59

Re: Marketing CFD Services
(1). I think, I would stay away from the aerosapce sector, because the military side is always mission oriented, and the commercial side is highly competitive. (2). So, from the cost point of view, commercial sector tends to cut the CFD. Once the aircraft is designed, it will be good for the next 30 years. They need only spare parts. (3). On the military side, without cold wars, the best they can do is to hide the budget under the carpet for some research projects. So, they don't exist at all. (4). Commercial products development should benefit from the use of CFD. But again, it is analysis and modeling, not CFD code development or applications.

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