ITT Gilfillan previously required up to 3 months of mockup testing in
order to assess thermal performance on
new designs for its air defense or air traffic-control radar systems.
The costly and time-consuming process spurred engineering to begin
evaluating CFD computer programs in order to
minimize physical prototyping. A key selection factor was ease-of-use since any new software tool
would have to be implemented
during a project and, therefore, getting up to speed quickly was imperative.
A typical radar system consists of numerous parts that require
thermal analysis. In a recent design, there were two isolated cooling
subsystems, one an open loop system that cooled the antenna and a closed
loop system that was sealed to protect the power and control electronics.
The latter used baffles to direct the airflow across the
components and over the cabinet cooler where heat was released into
The best mechanical locations for two fans in the closed loop
system intuitively seemed likely to result in air recirculation near one of the
power supplies. But other possible locations potentially would increase the
pressure drop and result in insufficient airflow through the system. Using Coolit
to analyze different scenarios, engineers discovered that despite recirculation
at the preferred location, there would still be adequate cooling.
Since adopting Coolit, the company has begun simulating even small,
inexpensive components it previously could not economically justify
analyzing. For example, a plug-in power supply might contain 30-50 parts,
but it can be modeled quickly and efficiently in Coolit. This new
information has resulted in more reliable and high-performance designs.
Coolit has proven to be a valuable virtual prototyping tool that permitted ITT Gilfillan
to reduce its reliance on physical prototypes and with that an accompanying reduction of product
development time and costs.