You need to account for thermal management as part of the design phase for any electronic product or product that uses printed circuit boards. Failing to take thermal management into account for your products can result in costly redesigns and sometimes even complete rework of the electronic product.
Thermal management engineers should determine how much heat will be generated by the computational processes on the PCB to decide whether it needs to have a dedicated heat sink designed for it or an extruded aluminum casing to help dissipate excess heat from the device.
Once you know how much heat needs to be managed, select a method (or methods) of heat dissipation. This might use a simple heat radiation process, a passive convection process, or active forced convection (usually by incorporating a fan into the design to help the convection process).
Another critical decision is to determine what material the thermal management solution should be made of. Most thermal product solutions (including heat sink designs) use aluminum or copper for thermal management. The decision may come down one or more of these three things:
The shape of the heat sink also depends on several factors:
The manufacturing method you select also depends on many of the factors already mentioned above how much heat needs to be dissipated, cost, weight, available space, etc. Extruded heat sinks are inexpensive, have consistent high-quality, and are delivered in many shapes and sizes. Machined heat sinks cost a lot more overall but might be the right solution for small numbers of products that need to meet specific design needs. Whatever thermal management solution you need, there is a heat sink manufacturing method best for you.
Getec has provided heat sink designs for industries such as consumer electronics, aviation, communications, LED lighting, medical equipment, and much more for over 30 years now. To learn more, call us at 888-999-8499, contact us online, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with a Getec heat sink design specialist.