Mesh Import Plugins – New in Pointwise V18.1

v181-plugins-sourceWith the new Grid Import API in Pointwise Version 18.1’s Plugin SDK, you can now read virtually any mesh file into the software. 

The wonderful thing about file formats is there are so many of them.

Years ago it became clear that writing and maintaining mesh exporters for every CFD solver and updating them for every update by the solvers’ publishers was – while important – a Herculean task that took effort away from our work on the core mesh generation and geometry modeling functionality in Pointwise.


The first page of CAE solver exporters currently supported in Pointwise.

We had also observed an interesting phenomenon in which a user or group of users would adopt an existing CFD file format for use with their own solver. When the format’s original owner issued an update and we implemented that update the users who adopted that format would suddenly find that files exported from Pointwise would no longer import into their flow solver.

And then there’s the apparent need to maintain exporters for several versions of a solver’s file format for those folks who don’t or won’t upgrade.

You see where this is going.

Plugin SDK for Export

A while back we introduced in Pointwise a Plugin Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) with an API with which you could write your own CAE file exporter, complete with boundary and volume conditions, for the file format of your choice. Just drop the plugin in a specific folder in Pointwise’s installation and it is recognized and loaded at runtime.

Since introducing the CAE Export API many partners and customers have written their own plugins. Sometimes they give us the plugin source so we can add it to the standard Pointwise executable. Other plugin authors use the plugin for just themselves or share them with a group of users.

Either way, a CAE Export Plugin means you should never have to hijack someone else’s file format ever again. It’s easy to write and maintain an export plugin for your specific solver.

New in V18.1 – Plugin SDK for Import

In Pointwise V18.1, we added the reverse capability: there is now a Grid Import API in the plugin SDK with which you can write your own mesh importer. *

  • Curious about a mesh’s quality? Write a Grid Import Plugin, import the mesh into Pointwise,  and use the built-in metrics to assess cell skew, aspect ratio, warpage, and more.
  • Want to re-use existing meshes, in whole or in part? Write a Grid Import Plugin, import the meshes, and begin using them as though you had created them from scratch in Pointwise. Import surface meshes and use them as the basis for new volume meshes.
  • Have a mesh you want to improve? Write a Grid Import Plugin, import the mesh, and apply any of the mesh solvers, smoothers, refiners, decimators to get exactly what you want.

Pointwise V18.1 comes with seven Grid Import Plugins ready to go: ANSYS CFX, ANSYS Fluent, CFD++, CRUNCH, FUN3D, OpenFOAM, and SU2.

More on Grid Import Plugins

How can you get started with plugins? Visit the Plugin SDK Documentation on the Pointwise website. In addition to the API’s documentation, you’ll find links to other resources like videos, PDFs, and blog posts.


The Plugin SDK webpage at includes all the resources you need to begin writing your own mesh import or export plugin, from documentation to videos and blog posts.

And then there’s our GitHub repository where we’ve shared the plugin source code for an importer and an exporter for two popular open source CFD solvers, OpenFOAM and SU2. Rather than starting from scratch, you can use this source code as a starting point for your own plugin.

  • OpenFOAM CAE Export Plugin
  • OpenFOAM Grid Import Plugin
  • SU2 CAE Export Plugin
  • SU2 Grid Import Plugin

COMING SOON: A  series of blog posts will delve into the details of both the export and import APIs to help you write plugins that fit perfectly with your CFD workflow.

Get Plugged In

If you’re a current customer, head directly to the plugins webpage and learn how you can write your own import and export plugins.

If you’re new to Pointwise and want to experience a mesh generator that can be fully customized to exchange the file types unique to your CFD workflow, now’s the time to try a no-cost, no-obligation trial license of the software. Click the button, complete a brief form, and one of our engineers will contact you about getting started.


*It follows logically that the import plugins can import any mesh that Pointwise currently has data structures to store. So that means we can’t yet import those beautiful STAR-CCM+ polyhedral meshes or fully Cartesian refined meshes or high-order meshes –  just linear meshes consisting of hexahedra, tetrahedra, prisms, and pyramids (quadrilaterals and triangles in 2-D).

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