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Cooling rate on enclosures increased

08 January 2008

Elma Mektron Systems have for some time been creating computer enclosures for use in severe environments, especially for COTS military applications. Recent significant increases in data processing speed in the CPCI,VME,VPX,VXS, and µTCA architecture have created an opportunity for new and innovative high power enclosures. With high speed, comes high power, increasing junction temperatures and therefore higher cooling requirements.

A recent innovative example is the development of a dual independent, liquid-cooled ATR enclosure, using field replaceable cooling devices. The liquid cooled enclosures needed to allow for a large amount of user serviceability and interchangeability, and the connections to the cooling system needed to be able to be disconnected and reconnected easily without any risk of fluid loss. Elma Mektron Systems called in Stäubli Connectors to advise on the best type of quick release connectors required for this demanding application.

Stäubli recommended lightweight, flush-faced, non-spill connectors with secure bayonet locking. The flush faced design ensures no air ingress into the system on connection as well as eliminating any leakage. The bayonet locking system is quick and easy to connect - just 'push and twist' - and is durable and reliable, being designed to withstand high vibration applications. The couplings aluminium construction minimises weight, important for in-flight applications. This type of connector will frequently be seen on many types of high performance cars in motorsport where the leak free, lightweight, high integrity features are equally important.

Stäubli organised the manufacture of the cooling plates at one of their partner companies and supplied the finished ‘cold wall’, complete with transition block containing the connectors and hose assemblies to Elma Mektron Systems, for fitting to their ATR enclosures. As part of the development, Stäubli modelled the thermal pressure and fluid dynamics of the system, to produce a thermal model of the cold wall. 3D models and rapid prototyping of components ensured that the cold wall was a perfect fit during final assembly at Elma Mektron Systems. The design allows for the use of many different coolant types, from seawater to aviation fuel, in a wide spectrum of environments, from aerospace through marine to tracked vehicles.

The entire development programme was fast tracked by all parties, and working prototypes were delivered in less than three months. The first fully operational liquid cooled enclosure was exhibited at the DSEi show in September 2007. The thermal performance of the enclosure gave user friendly, high cooling power in excess of 25% above currently available products.


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