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Powerware shrinks rectifier 60%

Courtesy of Eaton-Powerware Ltd.

Powerware, a leading global provider of comprehensive power quality and backup power management solutions, faced stiff design restrictions in producing its new rectifier module. The unit would dissipate over 300 W, and in order to achieve balanced three-phase currents, units had to be mounted in multiples of three per 19-inch wide shelf. This meant the rectifier envelope had to shrink by at least 50% over the existing model.

Geometry allowed little leeway in manipulating the electronics to enhance cooling. Components had to be positioned in a predefined sequence and this limited the possible locations for heat sinks, vents and fans.

To quickly scope the problem, Powerware design engineers enlisted Coolit to visually determine where hot spots would develop and rapidly explore numerous "what if" scenarios without expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes. Coolit helped design a tiny, but highly effective heat sink with optimized fin spacing and pinpointed preferred fan and vent locations.

Throughout the design process Coolit's ease-of-use proved crucial. The electronics engineers who undertook the thermal design had no formal training in computational fluid dynamics. But Coolit's built-in tutorial and intuitive interface quickly helped the designers get up to speed. Throughout the design process, Daat's technical support offered ready assistance by email and telephone. Often Daat would initiate contact to make sure the project was proceeding smoothly.

Once the Coolit-based changes were implemented, the resulting design exceeded the dimensional goals. The new unit shrunk to roughly 60% of the original model's size, enabling six units to fit within a 19-inch shelf. Plus, the rectifier's power density exceeded 10 W/in3 - making it the most power dense 3kW rectifier available.

Coolit model of a rectifier unit. Component surfaces are painted in temperature and streamlines are painted in velocity magnitude.

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