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Elma Electronic Overcome Thermal Design Challenge

Elma Electronic used FloTHERM to optimize the design of a new Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) platform, making it possible to beat competitors to market.

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We evaluated both of the leading thermal simulation software packages and use FloTHERM because it is more user friendly, provides superior reporting tools, and our customers have greater confidence in its accuracy.”

Ram Rajan, Thermal Engineer, Elma Electronic

Thermal simulation

A thermal simulation showing a front view of the chassis.

A very challenging thermal design problem

Elma was looking to optimize the design of a new 13U ATCA platform that dissipates 4200 watts in the 14 main slots plus another 1120 watts in a rear transition module (RTM).

“This is one of the most challenging thermal design problems that we have faced,” said Ram Rajan, Thermal Engineer for Elma Electronic. “At Elma we are strong believers in thermal simulation and use it frequently to design the spacing for air intake and exhaust, types of fans and blowers, the plenum space above or below the fans, the placement of air filters, and the use of baffles to optimize chassis thermal management.”

FloTHERM’s automatic optimization module

Elma utilized FloTHERM’s automatic optimization module to explore the entire design space. The FloTHERM optimization module automatically generates a series of models with design parameters varying over a design space defined by the user and runs these models while monitoring product performance to identify the optimal design.

Rajan specified a goal of reducing the chassis static pressure while maintaining airflow level and distribution over the boards at acceptable levels. He specified 10 runs and the FloTHERM Command Center then created a designed experiment that uses these runs to efficiently explore the design space.

Unmatched thermal performance

“With a couple of designed experiments run overnight, I was able to optimize every key dimension in the chassis and meet the performance requirements for the box with a minimum of time and effort,” Rajan said.

“The system uses 3 individually removable fan trays with two 120 mm 48V fans in each tray,” Rajan continues. “The result is that Elma S ATCA Carrier-Grade 13U system offers unmatched thermal performance by delivering 40 CFM per slot in the front card cage to cool well over 200 watts per slot and 6 to 10 CFM over the RTMs.“

The optimization of the chassis via thermal simulation studies made it possible to beat competitors to market with a highly innovative product.”

Ram Rajan, Thermal Engineer, Elma Electronic

About Elma Electronic

Elma Electronic is a global company that designs and manufactures solutions in electronics packaging. The company provides standard to fully customized components such as modular enclosures, cabinets and backplanes up to complete system integration. Elma also manufactures precision rotary switches.

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