Simulation, Engineering Services

It's Too Hot! How to Manage the Heat in Your Designs

By Rob Taylor on August 10, 2021

Designing your product to operate at the right temperature can be crucial to its success. Whether you’re creating goods for the consumer market, military applications, industrial machinery, transportation, medical – you name it – the ability of your product to maintain desired temperatures can make or break a product…and your reputation.

How do you make sure your product can meet its temperature expectations? How do you manage excessive heat in lighting and electronics? How do you design vehicle HVAC systems to keep their occupants comfortable? How do you make sure that your equipment won’t overheat and fail on the plant floor or in the field?

The Historical Solution

3D Prototype Testing the physical prototypes is the popular answer to these questions. But these take time and there is a related expense with each production. Regardless of your industry, with every passing year deadlines grow shorter, customer expectations grow, and the competition gets better. Physical prototypes and testing are always going to be required for many products however, limiting the amount of money and time you spend on them is crucial for budgets and schedules. You need an edge.

The Modern Simulation Solution

Managing Heat in Modern Electronic Devices1If you’ve done any research into managing thermal issues in engineering, you may be familiar with computational fluid dynamics, or CFD found in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation. This software is capable of simulating your product before it’s built to find out how it will perform thermally. It can capture heat transfer through conduction (contact), convection (moving air or liquid), and radiation (electromagnetic waves between bodies or from the sun). CFD enables product development organizations to experiment with many more “what if” experiments than they could possibly afford to do with physical prototypes. Even more powerful is the ability to interrogate CFD results to find out WHY your product is behaving the way it is. This level of insight is only available with CFD – not in physical testing. This gives you the power to intelligently design to address thermal issues.

>> Heat Transfer and Thermal Analysis: When to Use FEA vs. CFD

Is CFD for Everybody?

SW_group_workCFD was initially the tool of choice for academics and analysts. It was complex to use, and it required deep knowledge and understanding of the underlying physical, mathematical, and computer science principles. Over the past two decades, this tool has been refined and improved to the point that engineers at most any company can now use it. If you have personnel that can commit to regular (not necessarily daily or even weekly) usage of the software and if you have enough projects to justify the investment, then owning CFD may be your solution. But not every organization fits that description.

The CFD Solution Anyone Can Use

Even if you can’t justify the investment in CFD software, the CFD solution is still available to you. The Project Engineering Group (PEG) at TriMech exists to help engineers and designers address product design issues that they may not have the ability to address themselves. Whether the problem requires technology or expertise that they do not possess, or if the organization has the technology and skills but not the time, PEG is ready to help.

Engineering Team StrategyWhen it comes to helping you address your thermal and fluid flow challenges, the CFD experts from TriMech’s PEG have decades of experience using CFD. We’ve helped organizations solve thermal engineering problems for a variety of disciplines: electronics cooling, heating and cooling of occupied spaces (buildings and vehicles), lighting systems, engine and motor cooling, heat distribution in ovens and freezers, and much more.

We work as an extension of your design team. We bring the CFD expertise, and you bring the product expertise. We help you scope the project at the beginning and keep you in the loop throughout the simulation process to make sure we are working together on a solution. This ensures that we make the most efficient use of time and money by only pursuing solutions that you know are practical. We pride ourselves on providing innovative solutions and saving our clients both time and money.

>> Why Work with PEG: Infographic

CFD is a powerful tool for addressing thermal concerns in both the design process and in cases where an existing product needs to be enhanced to meet a specific need. Having the right people working with you to use CFD to solve those problems can save you time and money, and even find novel solutions.

Next time you find yourself faced with an issue of temperature in your product or its design, please keep us in mind. We’re here to give you the CFD firepower you need to address your thermal concerns.

Our Engineering Services group provides on-demand engineering and design services through its dedicated team of design engineers. Let us know how we can help!

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