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Electronics Cooling Consulting and Thermal Control

For the telecommunications, networking, medical equipment, defense, embedded computing, and other industries that need to cool highly effective electronic products, SimuTech Group provides extensive thermal analysis and design services.

Thermal Management Engineering Expertise

For more than 25 years, SimuTech Group has been resolving the most difficult thermal management problems in the business. The industry cannot match the expertise, experience, and abilities of our engineers. Utilizing proprietary tools and CFD software, our 3-Core design methodology combines analytical, computational, and empirical methods.

An integral part of this shortened production cycle is to predict the thermal behavior of the device or system under operation prior to build, to avoid costly lab testing for design validation.

Our customers are often interested in investigating the maximum temperature locations in their systems, to ensure that sufficient cooling schemes have been incorporated to prevent over-heating of parts and components.

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Conjugate Heat and Thermal Stress Simulation in a U-Tube Exchanger

 

 

Thermal Analysis using Workbench Software |
Environmental Conditioning for DTD

We can help our customers analyze and understand the complex fluid flow and heat transfer mechanisms within their equipment.

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Thermal Simulation | Surface-to-Surface Radiation

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Analyze Heat Transfer by Conduction, Convection, and Radiation

 

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Predicting the Effects of Induction Heating with Simulation

Electronics Cooling | FAQs

Why is Cooling Required for Electronics??

There is a thermal limit or maximum operating temperature for every electronic component. They will degrade and perhaps damage the circuit board when they reach or go above this particular temperature.

Additionally, for some parts, like fuses, this is advantageous because when the material fails, the circuit is immediately cut off, which helps to prevent component damage but also entirely disables the circuit board until the fuse is replaced.

The accumulation of heat is undesirable for parts like an IGBT because as their temperature rises, it makes them less trustworthy and increases the current that flows through them. More heat is produced by the greater current, which in turn makes more current possible.

As a result, the component experiences thermal runaway and eventually just annihilates itself. Therefore, we require a means of eliminating the heat energy it produces in order to lengthen the lifespan of the component and circuit board as well as maintain the component’s operation in a stable, reliable condition.

 

In What Ways are Electronics Cooled?

Different types of heat sinks, thermoelectric coolers, forced air systems and fans, heat pipes, and other cooling methods are available.
It can even be essential to heat the electronic components in conditions of extremely low ambient temperatures in order to achieve satisfactory operation.

Device Thermal Resistance

This is frequently referred to as the thermal resistance of the semiconductor device from junction to casing. It uses the units °C/W. For instance, when a heatsink dissipates 1 Watt of heat, it will increase the temperature of the surrounding air by 10 °C. An efficient heatsink is one that has a low °C/W value as opposed to one that has a high °C/W value.

Junctions & Ambient Resistance

A lower junction to ambient resistance (RJ-C) between two semiconductor devices in the same package denotes a more effective device. The junction to ambient or junction to case resistance values of two devices with varying die-free package thermal resistances, such as DirectFET MT and wirebond 5x6mm PQFN, may not, however, immediately correlate to their comparative efficiency.

Different semiconductor packages could have different die orientations, copper (or other metal) mass surrounding the die, mechanics for attaching the die, and molding thickness. These variations could result in noticeably different junction to case or junction to ambient resistance values, which could obfuscate overall efficiency figures.

Thermal time parameters

The thermal mass and thermal resistance of a heatsink can be compared to a capacitor and a thermal resistance.  Or, more specifically, as an electrical resistance (giving a measure of how fast stored heat can be dissipated).

These two parts work together to create a thermal RC circuit, which has a time constant determined by the product of R and C. In a manner similar to the electrical instance, this quantity can be utilized to determine a device’s capacity for dynamic heat dissipation.

 

How do you Ensure Electronic Components Stay Cool?

Filter fans, fan trays, motorized impellers, blowers, and direct air cooling systems are a few alternatives for providing fresh air to cool electronic enclosures (DACS). Fan Filters. In applications ranging from industrial motors to process equipment and controls, filter fans can reduce a variety of heat loads.

Selecting the Right Cooling Method | Extending Electronic Life

In an industrial setting, keeping electronics cool is crucial for extending their lifespan, cutting down on investment costs, and maintaining uninterrupted operations. Industrial electronics are susceptible to severe damage from heat, which shortens their lifespan and affects both their performance and their manufacturer’s warranties.

Industrial Enclosures | Locating Heat Sources

The Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) claims that every 18°F (10°C) increase over ambient temperature reduces the life expectancy of most devices by half. Internal electronic components can produce heat, which external sources can then intensify. Components that are not cooled inside of an enclosure can produce as much trapped heat as a furnace at home.

Inside an enclosure, there are several different heat sources, such as:

  • Variable-frequency drives (VFDs)
  • Servo drives & motors
  • Programming logic controllers (PLCs)
  • Starter packs
  • Power sources
  • Industrial inverters
  • LED indicators
  • Transformers

Heat Generation | Outside Enclosures

Heat is produced by sources outside of an enclosure in addition to sources inside the enclosure. These may consist of:

  • Solar heat gain
  • Elevated ambient temperature
  • Welding processes.
  • Smelting furnace
  • Casting machinery
  • Other proximal foundry equipment

Importance of Cooling and Thermal Management for Electronics

Cooling and thermal management are key technical problems with the growing deployment of smaller, more powerful, and more portable mission-critical electronics into increasingly hostile settings and situations.

Modern electronics are packed more densely into smaller enclosures, which exacerbates heat problems that may impair component performance. Because of the market’s current and anticipated demand for increased information-processing capacity and speed, the Moore’s Law trend is trending toward higher temperatures in electronics, not lower temperatures.

An application that did not require much, if any, cooling in the past does not always mean that it will not in the future. It is more likely that newer programs will need some type of cooling because they frequently offer more functionality.

 

What is Conductive Enclosure Cooling?

Electronics can be passively cooled via conductive enclosure cooling.

The process merely enables the transfer of heat by conduction, convection, and radiation from the interior to the outside. Electronic systems with low heat loads (less than 50 W) respond effectively to passive cooling when cold air is present around the enclosure.

If heat is a problem, this sort of cooling offers the option of expanding the enclosure to produce additional surface area and hasten the passage of heat. However, due to space restrictions and the increased heat loads brought on by today’s high-powered electronics, increasing the enclosure size is not a workable solution.

 

What is Open-Loop Cooling?

Open-loop cooling, an active technique to control heat in electronic applications, is an alternative to conductive enclosure cooling.

Fresh air is ventilated through the enclosure during this method of cooling, removing heat from the hot components. When an electronics system is installed in a generally hygienic and cool setting, such as an office building, data center, or light-duty factory, open-loop cooling may be used.

All open-loop cooling methods use ambient air to cool, therefore they may expose enclosed electronics to hazardous substances including dirt, water, metal filings, and corrosive gases. However, certain open-loop cooling methods, such filter fans, use filters to protect the interior of an enclosure against dust.

Various Cooling Options for Electronic Enclosures

Filter fans, fan trays, motorized impellers, blowers, and direct air cooling systems are a few alternatives for providing fresh air to cool electronic enclosures (DACS).

Fan Filters

In applications ranging from industrial motors to process equipment and controls, filter fans can reduce a variety of heat loads. Airflows for filter fans range from 16 to 571 cfm (28 to 970 m3/hr), making them suitable for a range of applications. Additionally, operators have a choice of Type 12, Type 3R, and Type 1 fans to meet various environmental needs.

With versions offered in many configurations, including side-mount, top-mount, and shallow-depth options to fit small areas, filter fans are a flexible open-loop cooling solution. There are also alternatives for reverse airflow, which can be used to force or draw air through surroundings with higher static pressure.

DACS (Direct Air Cooling Systems)

For exterior enclosures in uses including outdoor telecommunications equipment, industrial automation, outdoor kiosks and displays, and outside plant (OSP) applications, direct air cooling systems offer adaptable, efficient heat removal.

DACS offer protection from external factors like water, dust, pests, and rain with hydrophobic filters or regular MERV 12 filters. DACS use quiet, fan-based technology to bring filtered ambient air into the enclosure to dissipate heat, making them a cost-effective substitute for closed-loop cooling solutions in some applications.

 

What is Closed-Loop Cooling?

Another active technique for cooling electrical components is closed-loop cooling. By installing a heat exchanger or air conditioner, for instance, this sort of thermal management preserves the enclosure’s seal while removing heat from the electronics enclosure. Closed-loop systems prevent outside air from entering the enclosure.

Conditions for Closed-Loop Cooling

When one of the following is present in the electronics application, closed-loop cooling is typically necessary:

  • Operates at temperatures frequently higher than 95 °F (35 °C).
  • Deployed in a hostile environment, such as a paper mill, a foundry, an outdoor telecommunications base station, a wastewater treatment facility, a metalworking shop, an oil rig platform, or a metalworking operation.
  • Produces a significant amount of heat from its own parts, typically over 500 W.

Options for Closed-Loop Cooling of Electronics

Air conditioners, air-to-air heat exchangers, air-to-water heat exchangers, thermoelectric coolers, and vortex coolers are a few of the choices for closed-loop enclosure cooling.

Air Conditioners & Electronics Cooling

When the temperature inside the enclosure must be kept at or below ambient temperature, humidity must be eliminated, or a moderate-to-high heat load is being generated by the electronic system, air conditioners are appropriate. An air conditioner’s cooling capability should be equal to or greater than the total heat load produced by the electronic system.

It’s critical to choose an air conditioner with a dependable, energy-efficient cooling system. Air conditioners come in a range of sizes and cooling capacities to accommodate a range of indoor and outdoor applications, from low-profile cabinet cooling to huge cabinet cooling.

Air-to-Water Heat Exchangers in Electronics Cooling

An effective, low-noise, and maintenance-free method of cooling indoor enclosures in industrial applications is to use air-to-water heat exchangers. Because there are no moving parts exposed to the environment, this cooling system uses a customer-supplied water source and is not impacted by airborne contaminants. Applications exposed to high ambient temperatures or excessively dusty and unclean environments, which make conventional air conditioners prone to mechanical failure, are best suited for air-to-water heat exchangers.

Thermoelectric Coolers in Electronics Cooling

Thermoelectric coolers are ideal for cooling small indoor and outdoor enclosures in high- or low-maintenance situations since they are compact and operate without the use of refrigerant, compressors, or filters. Thermoelectric coolers effectively remove heat from important electronics in an enclosure by using Peltier effect cooling capabilities.

Thermoelectric coolers provide better mechanical simplicity with no moving parts or liquids, a smaller environmental footprint, and less maintenance as compared to conventional refrigerant systems. In order to maintain a constant temperature, thermoelectric coolers are appropriate for climate-controlled applications in small spaces.

Vortex Coolers in Electronics Cooling

Vortex cooling systems use compressed air to produce chilled air that cools small enclosures without the need of refrigerants or moving parts. In difficult and unclean indoor or outdoor locations, these systems offer dependable, low-maintenance operation.

Overall, it is crucial to keep industrial electronics cold in almost any industrial application since heat degrades their performance and shortens their lifespan. While choosing an enclosure cooling solution, it is useful to keep in mind certain factors in addition to understanding how to properly cool electronics inside an enclosure. If you need professional engineering support, SimuTech Group would be glad to provide the on-site or laboratory expertise you need to complete the job.