Efficient control of temperature in electronic equipment

HYDAC International
Wednesday, 03 May, 2023

Efficient control of temperature in electronic equipment

The selection of a heatsink solution — also called a cold plate — as a thermal management solution for a system will ensure a constant and stable temperature, as well as a condensation-free electrical cabinet system, according to HYDAC Australia National Development Manager for Thermal Management Systems Andrea Cimadoro.

All electronic components can fail or have a reduced lifespan because of overheating. This includes an increase in temperature due to surrounding ambient temperature, heat produced by the device itself, and the product’s efficiency is strictly related to heat removal.

Modern electrical and electronic systems frequently include control devices, which are required to enhance efficient controllability. However, controllability often generates heat, which influences most heat-sensitive electrical components such as VSDs and controllers.

“In fact, 70% of the failures in electronic equipment are related to heat. That’s why it’s critical to control the temperature of the electronic components,” Cimadoro said.

Passive heatsink or active dynamic heatsink

Cimadoro points out that there are two techniques available to solve this problem:

  • the passive heatsink
  • the active (dynamic) heatsink

Passive heatsinks rely on natural convection, i.e. the tendency of hot air to rise causes air flow to be generated across the heatsink. These heatsinks do not require secondary power or control systems to remove heat.

“The passive heatsink is a fan, usually present at the back of every computer or variable speed drive unit,” said Cimadoro. “It can be cooled by air or by forced ventilation. In contrast, the active (dynamic) heatsink is a cold plate that allows fluid to travel inside to cool any electronic devices that are attached to it.”

However, this technique comes with many challenges, according to Cimadoro.

“In terms of efficiency, the electrical cabinet must be designed for the air to travel into it, and to be able to successfully reach and cool all the electronic components,” he said. “As for contamination, the fan allows the electrical control cabinet to breathe, but it also opens it to dirt, dust, humidity and also moisture.”

The heatsink solution developed by HYDAC eliminates these external factors.

“The main key to this innovation is the total isolation of the electrical control cabinet,” Cimadoro points out. “The cabinet is hermetically sealed; therefore, the environment inside the electrical box can be entirely controlled.”

The cold plates are installed on the external back end of the system, and are driven by a control fluid such as water, water-glycol, or other water-based fluid. This compact solution also provides a high internal protection rating of IP66, IP67 and IP68.

HYDAC cold plate solution the natural choice

HYDAC cold plates are designed according to projects and specifications and, therefore, provide effective results.

“For instance, the cold plate can take all the back-end space of the electrical box; or it can be customised to be more effective in a certain area,” said Cimadoro. “HYDAC also thought about systems installed in hot and humid environments, which are often presented with condensation problems. By creating an innovative purging point onto the electrical control box, it is possible to insert 99% dry nitrogen and make the electrical box condensation-free.”

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