A couple of years after CONVERGE was released commercially, the owners of Convergent Science found themselves at something of a crossroads. At that point in time, the company was focused primarily on the engine industry, and CONVERGE was already being adopted by many of the major U.S. automakers. To continue growing their business, the Convergent Science owners would need to look beyond the U.S. But where to go next? The answer seemed obvious: Japan, a veritable hotbed of auto manufacturers.
It was in 2010 that the owners first started trying to sell CONVERGE in Japan. “Even though we were confident that our technology was world-class and could provide value to the Japanese engine community, to say our efforts weren’t successful would be a big understatement,” said Dan Lee, co-owner and global head of sales at Convergent Science. “There were language barriers, time zone barriers, cultural barriers—it just didn’t go well at all.”
Still, the Convergent Science owners persevered in their efforts, resolutely arranging meetings with potential clients. Over and over, though, they would hear the same thing: the companies were using a different CFD software distributed by IDAJ (at the time called CDAJ). Although these companies were intrigued by CONVERGE’s technology, and despite some chronic issues they were experiencing with their current CFD software, they liked working with IDAJ. They trusted IDAJ. And they wanted to continue working with IDAJ. The question came up time and time again: why didn’t Convergent Science work with IDAJ? Well, as much as the owners would have liked to establish a relationship with IDAJ, the distributor represented a competitor of CONVERGE.
“Back then, we were the distributor of another CFD software for engine applications,” said Masatoshi Ishikawa, Senior CFD Consultant, IDAJ. “With this previous CFD software, there were some difficulties with solving engine-related simulations. For example, it took a large amount of time to generate the mesh, and one needed professional skills to create it. It was also generally difficult to obtain accurate results.”
Even though CONVERGE was equipped with autonomous meshing capabilities that could overcome these challenges, it seemed like the Convergent Science owners were out of luck. But then one day they heard the news: IDAJ was no longer going to distribute the competitor’s CFD software.
“We saw this as a golden opportunity to jump in and try to get IDAJ to sell CONVERGE,” said Keith Richards, co-owner of Convergent Science. “I remember meeting with the other owners and thinking, how do we get in touch with them? How do we initiate this conversation to try to get them to sell our software?”
As it turns out, the Convergent Science owners had no need to worry—IDAJ already had their eye on CONVERGE, and Hsu Chingzou, President of IDAJ, soon called up Convergent Science to make his own inquiries into a potential partnership.
“IDAJ has been in the CFD business for a long time, and I personally have many years of experience with commercial CFD software,” said Hsu. “We knew what our customers were looking for and what their pain was with other CFD software. When I learned about CONVERGE’s technologies for the first time, I instantly understood these new technologies could really resolve our customers’ pain and that CONVERGE had the potential to replace other CFD software in the engine simulation market.”
Having connected with Hsu, Dan and Keith flew to Japan to meet with IDAJ and discuss the possibility of a partnership in depth.
“After I met with Keith and Dan the first time, I was impressed by their professional background and excellent personalities, and I felt that Convergent Science and IDAJ could be really good partners,” said Hsu. “We came to an agreement at that first meeting and that was the start of our partnership.”
The partnership officially began on March 1, 2013. Over the past decade, the partnership with IDAJ has been instrumental to helping Convergent Science grow their business and reach new markets in Japan, China, and South Korea.
“The day that we partnered with IDAJ was one of the most important days in the history of Convergent Science,” said Dan. “If you could get out your magic wand, you really couldn’t wish for anything more than what started on March 1, 2013.”
Collaborating with IDAJ helped Convergent Science not only reach new geographical areas, but also break into new industries. When their partnership began, IDAJ and Convergent Science were primarily focused on selling CONVERGE to enginemakers. Over the last decade, the companies have worked together to expand the use of CONVERGE in other application areas that benefit from its unique suite of modeling capabilities. Today, IDAJ supports clients working on a wide range of applications: alternative fuels, electric vehicle components, pumps, compressors, valves, burners, exhaust aftertreatment systems, gas turbines, and more. And IDAJ believes there is still plenty of room for growth.
“Growth is expected to continue in various carbon-neutral areas, including batteries, motors, and combustion of new fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia,” said Hideki Takase, Senior CFD Engineer at IDAJ. “We pay close attention to trends in regulations and technologies around the world and share with Convergent Science areas where we can be successful.”
“Successful” is an apt word to describe the thriving partnership between IDAJ and Convergent Science. Much of the success is owed to the dedication and investment IDAJ offers their clients far beyond the sales process. As Masatoshi says, “We never thought that we only ‘sell’ software to our customers.”
Through frequent onsite visits, quick and comprehensive support, training in both general CFD principles and CONVERGE specifically, and the total CAE solutions they provide, IDAJ continues to earn the trust and loyalty of their clients as they tackle challenging engineering problems together.
“Our success is not only because of IDAJ, but Convergent Science and IDAJ as a team,” said Hsu. “Without Convergent Science’s technologies, support, close communication, understanding, flexibility, and customer-oriented spirit, IDAJ could not maintain such strong relationships with end users.”
So what’s in store for the next decade of partnership between IDAJ and Convergent Science?
“As the world changes rapidly, what is required of CFD will also change more rapidly than we can predict. I think it is very exciting to evolve the software in line with the changes around us and to respond to the needs of those around us,” said Hideki.
From the Convergent Science side, the owners are looking forward to travel restrictions being lifted so they can once again see their IDAJ colleagues and friends in person. And of course, they’re excited to work with IDAJ to continue to deliver the value of CONVERGE to new markets and new clients.
“We were very lucky that the pieces fell into place for IDAJ to start selling CONVERGE,” said Keith. “It’s been a great relationship, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”