New cooling standard boosts open architecture avionics boards

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The VITA48 standards group recently ratified an ANSI standard for air flow through (AFT) cooling of VPX boards to significantly reduce system size, weight, power, and cost of avionics systems.while increasing the reliability of unmanned systems. 

VITA 48.8 is the first open standard AFT technology to support small form factor 3U VPX COTS modules and eliminates the use of wedgelocks and ejector/injector handles. It also supports alternative air-flow arrangements, allowing air inlet at both card edges and addressing previous design challenges such as air cooling, air flow intake, heat exchanges, and exhaust paths. Instead, the modules use a finned heat exchanger frame located within the central section of the assembly to top-cool primary circuit board and mezzanine board components. Because VITA 48.8 does not use module-to-chassis conduction cooling, new chassis can be designed with lightweight polymers or composite materials, allowing Curtiss-Wright to develop a prototype VITA48.8 chassis using a 3D printer

“Prior to the development of the ANSI/VITA 48.8 standard we were always challenged balancing the high performance processing requirements our customers needed to effectively execute their mission. We recognized that we had to maintain the SWaP-C of the system to meet reliability and mission success needs for our fixed and rotary wing platforms,” said David Vos, Lockheed Martin Fellow. “ANSI/VITA 48.8 addresses these challenges and allows us to bring state-of-the art capabilities to our warfighters while ensuring that the platforms operate reliably in all mission environments.”

“Embedded system customers will benefit from the recent ANSI ratification of VITA 48.8,” said Lynn Bamford, Curtiss Wright Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Solutions division. “As a formal open architecture standard, VITA 48.8 delivers advanced air-flow-through cooling while delivering a great combination of weight and cost savings ideal for use in space, weight and power-constrained aircraft such as rotorcraft and UAV platforms. COTS 3U and 6U VPX solutions are now being deployed with power densities as high as 200 W per square centimeter resulting from the latest processors. VITA 48.8 provides a low-cost, effective means to cool the latest generation of components.”

The ANSI/VITA 48.8 group provides OEM suppliers with a license-free industry standard for cooling the latest high performance electronics used in demanding aerospace and defense applications.


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