A Brief History of Fluent

A modest project funded by a New Hampshire, USA company called Creare Inc. led to the development of an easy-to-use and interactive CFD software code for engineers. Dr. Ferit Boysan was one of the researchers who pioneered this technology at Sheffield University in the UK at the time. He partnered with Bart Patel, a department head at Creare Inc. At the same time, Michael Engelman set up Fluid Dynamics International (FDI) in Chicago, Illinois, USA. FDI was a major player in finite element CFD. All three men became major driving forces in the growth of Fluent over the next 20 years.

This collaboration between Sheffield University and Creare Inc. developed an interactive, easy-to-use CFD software product for the wider engineering community. Called FLUENT, the first version of this software was launched in October 1983. The term « fluent » has its technological origin in the work of the brilliant 17th Century English physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, who used the phrase in one of his technical treatises on flow. When relating the word to flowing fluids he suggested its use for « smooth » flows.

FLUENT was so successful and the CFD software business grew so rapidly that the Fluent group at Creare became a separate company, headquartered nearby in Lebanon, New Hampshire, in 1988. Fluent Inc. quickly formed joint ventures in Europe and Japan, and over the next ten years, grew a network of corporate offices and distributorships serving all of the major industrialized nations of the world. In August 1995, Fluent Inc. was acquired by Aavid Thermal Technologies, Inc., a Laconia, New Hampshire-based company, specializing in thermal management of electronic systems.

This was followed by the first public offering of Aavid stock in the United States in January 1996. Rapid expansion of both Aavid’s thermal management business and Fluent’s software business ensued. In May 1996, Fluent acquired Fluid Dynamics International, the developer of the FIDAP software code and the nearest competitor in the CFD business. This was followed in 1997 by the acquisition of Polyflow S.A., the developer of the POLYFLOW software code for CFD analysis of laminar viscoelastic flows. In January 2000, Aavid Thermal Technologies was purchased by Willis Stein & Partners, a private equity investment firm in the U.S. Since then we have continued to grow and maintain a strong position in the CFD marketplace.

In May 2006, Fluent Inc. was acquired by ANSYS, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANSS), a Canonsburg, PA, computer-aided engineering (CAE) software company. ANSYS was formed in the early 1970’s and evolved out of a Structural/FEA modeling background, going public in the mid 1990’s on the NASDAQ. Both ANSYS and Fluent share a vision of /Simulation Driven Product Development/ within CAE software. ANSYS is committed to the continued advancement of its technologies to deliver breakthrough capabilities with tools and functionalities to perform tasks easier and faster than before without sacrificing accuracy or quality, and the ability to capture and share knowledge, all in an open, flexible, scalable CAE environment.


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