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A Comprehensive Solution for Optimizing Electronics Cooling Performance

For the past 50 or so years Moore’s Law has been quite an accurate descriptor of the technological progress in integrated circuits. Recently some of these simpler component-level measures – such as number of transistors and thermal design power – are leveling out, but the system-level complexity is still growing. This is due in part to an explosion of applications where electronics are being applied – including wearables, the internet of things, and power electronics; but it is also a result of the market always pushing products to do so much more. The bottom line is that system complexity continues to grow, and our design processes must manage that.

The biggest single reason that electronics fail is excessive heat; over half of all electronics failure can be traced to thermal issues (see left). High temperatures in electronics stresses components and solder joints.

While the wonderful capabilities of new electronics systems get the positive headlines, the negative headlines focus on the failures. Without much effort we can likely think of several severe reliability failures, some of which result in costs (direct & indirect) that balloon into billions of dollars. But monetary costs don’t tell nearly the entire story; our lives have become so dependent on electronics that failures can dramatically disrupt our day-to-day lives and even cause deaths. Extreme reliability is expected, so it is required for any successful electronics product.

  • Electronic products must withstand the thermomechanical effects resulting from temperature changes from potentially thousands of power cycles over the lifetime of the product.
  • Humidity can lead to corrosion damage, accelerated by temperature.
  • Physical vibration of electronics systems can lead to product failures.
  • Fans and pumps used in the product will generate noise and controlling noise has become a key design task in some applications as customers increasingly value ‘whisper-quiet’ operation as a ‘must have’ indicator of quality.
  • Dust accumulation in heatsinks and fans can impact thermal performance over time and lead to failures.
  • Additionally, several heat transfer promoting devices such as synthetic jets, piezo fans, and reeds inserted into heatsink fin gaps involve complex Multiphysics fluid-structure interactions. And modern novel cooling solutions may include complex phase change processes such as multiphase fluids and spray cooling.

While we see growing system complexity and increasing emphasis on system reliability, one factor that has not changed is the continual push to reduce time to market. Most electronics markets are highly competitive with many companies producing products, so the ability to get a quality product to market faster than your competitor is a huge advantage. And on the negative side, being too late to market can mean commercial failure for a given product.

Each one of these factors has a major impact on the organizations bottom line one way or another. Whether it is the requirement to upgrade existing technologies, increase R&D budgets, or look at ways to reduce costs throughout the design process without compromising quality. On the other hand, each one of these trends are also making innovation increasingly important to keep your competitive edge.
If companies do not address the challenges they face today and adapt their product development processes, it will affect their bottom line through lost market opportunity and damage to the brand, much less by direct warranty expenses (such as for recall & repair).
To meet these challenges, you need a simulation solution that can be used end-to-end from concept designing to manufacturing to improve product quality, cost, and time-to-market.

FloTHERM XT an Award-Winning Thermal Simulation Solution

Simcenter FloTHERM XT is a unique, award-winning thermal simulation solution that can be used during all stages of the electronics design process – from conceptual design to manufacturing – improving product quality, reliability and time-to-market. It features the electronics cooling DNA of market leading Simcenter FloTHERM® thermal analysis software, and concurrent computational fluid dynamic (Concurrent CFD) technology from Simcenter FloEFD™.
It creates a Thermal Digital Twin of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) and Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD) using the same data during the design flow, resulting in a synergetic design process. The newest and uniform data is at the focal point of the design process all the time. This provides easier modeling of more complex devices, ensures there are no reworks and the products are delivered right the first time, without the need for thermal prototyping.
By combining Simcenter FloTHERM thermal analysis software with concurrent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology from Simcenter FloEFD, FloTHERM XT delivers the power and performance for large, complex electronic systems with ease, reducing process time significantly. This benefits both thermal experts and mechanical design engineers enabling them to quickly and efficiently arrive at an optimum solution.

The FloTHERM XT

  • Established for over 30 years and the flagship tool for electronics cooling with the most extensive electronics component library in the world;
  • CAD-enabled electronics cooling simulation tool built upon a solid modeling kernel, allowing it to be truly part of the MCAD and EDA product design processes.
  • Offers CAD connectivity and advanced modeling capabilities which considerably shorten the learning curve.
  • Tightly couples the MCAD and EDA design flows which enables designers and thermal specialists to quickly and efficiently arrive at an optimum solution.
  • Full Geometric and Non-Geometric Smart Parts and library capabilities provide users access to a full set of the most popular components for fast and accurate model creation.
  • Uses highly stable solution controls and numerical schemes that control the convergence of the solution with only the minimum of intervention
  • Offers options for laminar, transitional, and turbulent flows
  • Introduces a powerful and industry-first, auto-update capability as the PCB layout evolves
  • Offers configurable user interface that supports the needs of both design engineers and thermal specialists
  • Uses the general power of FloEFD as the enabling technology for meshing and solving
  • Includes a module called FloEDA Bridge that enables direct use of a PCB design model to be directly imported into FloTHERM XT

This unique software is also used by design engineers in addition to thermal experts. Thus experimental changes can be quickly validated or eliminated, and there is more opportunity for “what-ifs” scenario that results in a better and competitive product. This reduces dependency on over-burdened thermal experts and bridges the gap between EDA and MDA design domains. FloTHERM XT provides support for the import of data from FloTHERM, FloTHERM PCB and FloTHERM PACK.
Simcenter FloTHERM XT with Simcenter HEEDS Design Space Exploration and optimization solution enables engineers to achieve a better design faster is always core to competitive short development timeframes for electronics and semiconductor applications in a variety of industries.

The FloTHERM XT

To maintain an efficient simulation process, the tools must regularly be upgraded to meet the requirements of the industry. Backed by a team of experts, with dedicated team for each client, PROLIM is a technology partner for Siemens and helps each user maintain productivity and successfully utilize simulation in existing and emerging applications.
If you would like to know more about how you can benefit from using FloTHERM XT for Simcenter NX, leave a reply in the comment section.

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