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Azonix Need Only One Thermal Prototype Instead of 12

Azonix, a leading provider of computers and displays designed for extremely harsh conditions, used FloEFD CAD-embedded CFD software and reduced the number of thermal prototypes needed for its new Terra computer from up to 12 to only 1.

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FloEFD computational fluid dynamics software enables design engineers without a fluid analysis background to perform thermal simulation. The result is that we got the design right the first time, only had to make one prototype and avoided expensive design changes that typically occur in the late stages of the development process.”

James Young, Design Engineer, Azonix

Limited cooling options add challenge

Terra is a new computer designed for use in the transportation industry that is, like other Azonix products, completely sealed from the elements and designed for use in very hot environments.

“As with most of our products, we were limited to conduction and natural convection cooling,” said James Young, Design Engineer at Azonix. “This presents a difficult challenge for modern electronics equipment.”

Thermal design is addressed early in the process

“We opened the SolidWorks model in FloEFD and defined the heat dissipation sources, material properties and the ambient temperature outside the enclosure at the product’s design limit of 60°C,” said Young.

“Then we defined the goals and performed a thermal simulation. The software analyzed the CAD model, automatically identified fluid and solid regions, and allowed the entire flow space to be defined and gridded without user interaction and without adding extra objects to the CAD model. The software took about five hours to generate simulation results.”

Embedded CAD software saves money and time

After several tests and improvements to the design, they were able to reduce the surface temperatures below the allowable limit.

“The result,” Young said, “was that we were able to complete the thermal design prior to building the first prototype. When the prototype was built and tested, the measurements were within 5% of the simulation predictions. As a result, this was the only thermal prototype that needed to be built.

“This is a good example of how the new generation of embedded CAD tools can save money and time by enabling design engineers to optimize the design from a thermal standpoint early in the design process.”

This is a good example of how the new generation of embedded CAD tools can save money and time by enabling design engineers to optimize the design from a thermal standpoint early in the design process.”

James Young, Design Engineer, Azonix

About Azonix

Azonix Corporation, a division of Crane Co., is a provider of computers and displays that satisfy extreme performance requirements of niche industries and the armed forces. Its products are used for automation, as a user interface, and as a command and control center at the optimum point of attack. In addition the company provides electronic design solutions for Ethernet and wireless communication and data acquisition I/O for use in hazardous area environments. Azonix is located in Billerica, Massachusetts.

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