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Honeywell saves time, resolves EMI/thermal conflict

Courtesy of Honeywell International, Inc.

Avionics developer Honeywell, saves months of development and testing time by using Coolit for thermal design optimization. Coolit can pinpoint ideal locations for cooling fins, identify the thermal impact of changing altitudes and various ambient temperatures, and provide a basis for resolving conflicts between thermal and electronic design.

Thermal and electronics engineers are often at odds over chassis design. Thermal engineers want to maximize air exchange with the ambient, while electronics engineers seek to minimize chassis openings to improve EMI protection. Optimizing EMI design often means dividing a chassis into compartments, a feature that further restricts airflow.

Recently, thermal engineers at Honeywell designed a forced-air cooling system for a general aviation package that drew significantly higher power than its predecessor did. The new design incorporated a fan and cooling fins. Initially, the ideal fin locations seemed intuitive. However, when Coolit analyzed the layout, it showed that regardless of fin size or spacing, the cooling fins at these initial locations were creating thermal problems instead of fixing them.

Thermal engineers combined experimental design techniques with Coolit analyses to quickly identify suitable sites and optimum fin design. The analysis showed that fin height and spacing were especially critical. Adjusting these parameters could alter temperatures within the enclosure by as much as 14 deg. C.

Coolit also proved that the chassis required more vents than electronics engineers had originally been willing to allow. When testing verified that the Coolit predictions were accurate to within a few percent, electronics engineers capitulated, and the chassis design was altered. Fortunately, Coolit identified the requirement early in the design cycle, so venting changes could be incorporated into the first prototype. If the problem had been discovered later - after the prototype was built and tested - it would have delayed the design schedule of the entire project by months.

While Coolit can answer questions about thermal design, Daat's support team can provide assistance in getting your simulations up and running quickly. Throughout the project, Honeywell engineers had ready access to expert advice from Daat's support team. Daat even provided help on a computer problem unrelated to Coolit. When Honeywell was experiencing repeated system crashes, Daat identified the driver for a high performance graphics board as the culprit. The personalized support provided by Daat saved Honeywell time and money.

A Honeywell avionics system
Coolit model of a Honeywell avionics system.

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