Which is the fastest thermal simulation software for electronics?

18 May, 2021

When it comes to thermal simulation, ensuring accurate and reliable results is vital. This said, engineers also need to be able to deliver those results to tight deadlines, ensuring that their projects do not overrun due to slow solve speeds and unexpected thermal delays. Great thermal design needs to be a balancing act between speed, ease and accuracy, and the best thermal simulation software’s are those that refuse to compromise on any of these three considerations.

Why is my CFD software so slow?

Thermal simulation is an extremely complex, and often very time-consuming process. While every stage in the thermal design process takes time and significant care, it is typically the “solve” stage that proves the most time intensive.

“Solving” refers to the crucial phase in thermal simulation, in which engineers use solvers to calculate the complex Navier–Stokes equations needed to simulate heat transfer and air flow within their designs. This process is vital for accurate thermal simulations, but can be extremely computationally intensive, with many simulation providers working hard to speed up their average solve times. 

Other time-consuming elements can include the creation and importing of CAD models, gridding these models (breaking them down into individual, solvable areas) and analysis of the end simulation.

Is it necessary to speed up thermal solve times?

While some engineers are happy to wait for hours, or even days for a simulation to finish solving, many projects don’t allow for such luxuries. When working to a tight deadline, thermal engineers need to ensure that they leave adequate time to not only test their simulations, but also to adjust, edit and retest them in a variety of different conditions.

Failure to do so can lead to significant delays, with 6SigmaET’s 2021 research finding that 94% of thermal engineers have had their projects delayed or derailed due to slow simulation solve speeds. Given these frequent delays, more than half of thermal engineers (54%) say that they are not satisfied with the speed of their current simulation solvers.

Which is the fastest thermal simulation software? 

Built specifically for speed, ease and accuracy, 6SigmaET is the fastest simulation software. According to a time-to-solution comparison by Rohde & Schwarz, 6SigmaET was found to provide faster preparation time, faster pre-processing times and faster solve times than its nearest competitor. Combined, this adds up to a total increase in efficiency of 35%.

6SigmaET vs Alternative Software.jpg

6SigmaET also offers other benefits to speed up simulation, including the ability to solve on the cloud. 

With any thermal simulation for electronics, significant computing power is required to solve the complex Navier–Stokes equations. Traditionally, this has required a substantial up-front investment in high performance computing hardware — or the need to rely on on-premise machines with a significantly slower solve speed.

To overcome this, 6SigmaET partnered with high-performance cloud computing platform Rescale. Through this partnership 6SigmaET users gain access to as much as 1,400 petaflops of computing power delivered via Rescale’s 30 data centers and over 8 million servers. This not only speeds up solve times but also significantly reduces hardware costs by switching to a “pay as you solve” model.

How do I switch my simulation provider? 

While there are much faster options available to them, many thermal engineers feel “locked-in” to their current CFD software. Of those surveyed in 6SigmaET’s State of Thermal report, 40% of engineers have never switched to an alternative simulation tool, while a further 18% last switched tools more than 3 years ago. This is despite the overwhelming majority being unhappy with their current solve speeds.

For some this may be due to a reluctance to disrupt their existing workflow in the short-term, for most however it is simply a matter of habit. As a result, many engineers are left believing that their legacy thermal simulation tools are the best that the market has to offer – potentially costing their organisation both time and money in the long term.

Without trialling other tools, thermal engineers will never be certain that their existing approach to simulation is guaranteeing maximum reliability for their end products and designs. This is not only bad news for engineers and manufacturers, it’s bad news for the end customer.

Want to make the switch to a faster thermal simulation software? Contact our team.

Blog written by: Tom Gregory, Product Manager

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