The Engineer's Corner is where the VAC development team works on new and innovative products.
The team works to expand the technologies VAC has available to develop both standard and custom devices.
The goal of the Engineer's Corner section on our web site is to provide customers advanced information on future products so they can provide feedback or request specific capabilities or functions they would like included into the product designs.
Three areas the current new product development efforts are addressing are form factor size, heat transfer, and reduction in EMI emissions.
As VAC has developed more complex products including FPGA based electronics the size of the stand Brick form factor was found to be too limiting in the available PCB area. To resolve this issue a new form factor of 4.4” wide by 4.4” deep is being developed. This doubles the available PCB area for each layer in the Brick. The Brick height will be determined by the number of layers for a given Brick function.
With the additional PCB area in the new form factor, the amount of electronics that can be packaged in the new Brick also increases the amount of heat generation. While the epoxy used by VAC for the encapsulation is a good heat transfer material, the heat density of the new form factor requires a better heat removal design than using passive convection cooling.
An active cooling system is being added to the new form factor. A large, machined, aluminum heat sink will be located on the top of the new Bricks. Three small fans will be used to move air through the heat sink. The fans will generate a very low noise volume so the units can be used in a quit environment.
The units will be able to operate with only two fans being operational. Thermal sensors will be used to measure the incoming and outgoing air temperatures so a fan issue can be detected and reported to the system. The fans will be user replaceable so maintaining the units will not require them to be returned to VAC.
While the epoxy encapsulation used by VAC makes the product very reliable and rugged, it does not contain EMI radiation as well as a metal enclosure. With the addition of higher speed electronics VAC is developing a technique to add EMI shielding to the encapsulated products. The new form factor units will be initially encapsulated with the current non-conductive epoxy but each side will be reduced by 0.125”. The units will then be encapsulated with a conductive epoxy to form a 0.125” conductive enclosure around the unit. The conductive layer of epoxy will be electrically and mechanically connected to the heat sink and an attachment point will be provided to use a grounding strap to a chassis ground point in the system.
** New Products **
The Engineer's Corner at VAC is currently developing three new products using the new form factor with active heat sink cooling and the conductive epoxy EMI shielding.
For more information, select one of our new products listed below ...