Cooling Kilowatt Computers

  EKF presents a revolutionary new liquid cooling system for high-performance computers in the field of autonomous driving and robotics.

The system has three main features: Firstly, standard assemblies can be coupled to the cooling technology integrated in the subracks using a special patent-pending technology. This relates to 3 and 6 U modules of all bus systems, e.g. CPCI-S, VPX, cPCI including EN50155.

Secondly, the new thermal contact technology allows components to be exchanged individually in the field, without special tooling and without dismantling the subrack. And thirdly, the system costs half as much or less compared to conventional technologies.

The hunger for computing power increases year by year with modern applications. Test vehicles in the areaof autonomous driving, surveying, cartography, roadway inspection from a moving vehicle or predictive maintenance under adverse conditions require multi-core CPU systems of the current Core i7 class. These systems typically use various high-performance graphics cards for the visualization of test results as well as fast data storage of raw data, preprocessing results and events.

In such systems, thermal power losses in the range of several hundred watts can occur easily, in extreme cases even the kilowatt limit can be exceeded. If these systems need to be encapsulated due to the environmental conditions (oil drilling platform, refinery), or if several such systems have to share a narrow installation space, the thermal planning of the waste

heat is essential. The new system CoolConduct from company EKF, developed to maturity in cooperation with a German specialist of industrial liquid cooling systems, is based on three co-ordinated components: The primary heat exchanger is integrated into the subrack. Filled with a coolant, it is the basis of conduction for the components that need to be cooled.

Connected to the subrack is a unit containing the coolant pumps and a coolant reservoir; this can be placed several meters away. Connection of the flexible coolant hoses is by means of blow-back proof bayonet couplings, enabling connection and disconnection in the field without loss of coolant..

Connected to the cooling pump is the secondary cooling circuit with a further heat exchanger, which cools the coolant in the outside area. By means of these two cooling circuits, the system can be operated and cooled independently of the immediate ambient air. Above all, there is no contamination of the subrack caused by the cooling. The entire system monitors itself, errors are alerted. Up to this point, the system is already impressive on grounds of its robustness and thermal capacity.

However, the actual innovation patented is the way in which the modules are connected to the primary heat exchanger in the subrack. The technology used so far utilized so-called wedge locks, which were used mainly in the military field and required specially designed boards that were not always state-of-the-art. In the case of EKF technology, the inverse, three-dimensional image of the assembly side of a COTS board is milled into a copper block, which is connected to the primary heat exchanger with high thermal efficiency by means of a novel contact technology. This means that the modules can be plugged into the subrack or can be removed from it in the field, at any time, without a need for special tools and without having to disassemble the subrack.

The advantages of high cooling performance even in harsh environments, the use of modern, up-to-date computer technology, and the ability to change the modules in the field is rounded off by a further feature, which comes unexpected given the advantages above: owing to several intelligent details, the system is only half as expensive as other professional solutions available on the market.


For further information reference to

Manuel Murer • +49 (0) 2381 6890 0 • [email protected]