Honeywell Aerospace, developer of wireless, satellite and
defense communication systems, uses CoolitPCB to shrink heat sink
size. Since heat sinks frequently drive enclosure size, the results
lead to smaller packages.
Recently, the company designed a forced-air cooled, commercial
airborne receiver that dissipates significant power from its
shoe-box sized enclosure. The system is populated with assorted
components, plus two subsystems that are the major heat sources: an
amplifier with uniform heat distribution and a power supply with
multiple hot spots.
Using CoolitPCB, engineers designed custom heat sinks for both
units, analyzing multiple designs in a fraction of time or expense
of physical testing. The thermal software predicted that the
amplifier heat sink required more fins than originally anticipated,
but that fin spacing could be smaller. Once the optimal heat sinks
were designed, engineers were able to design an enclosure that
"The software was intuitive and very easy for a first time user,"
notes the Honeywell engineer. "It quickly zeroed in on the optimum design
without spending thousands of dollars for prototypes and waiting
weeks for delivery before being able to verify our work."
To verify the CFD analysis, Honeywell built and tested physical
prototypes in a lab under both air cooled and failed fan conditions.
In both cases, CoolitPCB predictions matched actuals to within
"Without the ability to do analysis, engineering would tend to
overkill heat sink design in order to make sure that the design
will work," points out the Honeywell engineer. "But with dependable and
accurate analysis, we can shrink heat sinks, making them as light as
possible and still keeping the electronic components within their