Inova's New Industrial Enclosure Puts the Chill on CompactPCI Systems

Source: Inova Computers, Inc.
Inova Computers, Inc. has developed an 84TE industrial enclosure that utilizes an innovative cooling system. The "Cool Breeze" units feature an ingenious air circulation system and independent chambered compartments to ensure that the system remains cool and free of dust – even under harsh conditions.

Applications include:
· System Development
· Industrial Control and Automation
· Robotics
· Energy Management
· Traffic and Transportation
· Professional Infotainment

The key feature that separates this well thought-out industrial enclosure design is the ability to remove heat. Heat is the enemy of hardware – it reduces the overall MTBF of the system, it causes the system's CPU(s) to lock or run at a reduced speed, it damages power supplies and batteries used for uninterruptible power supply unit, and it prevents hard disks from being used.

Traditional 19-inch off-the-shelf rack designs are constructed of conductive aluminum for optimum heat transfer and EMI shielding, and are well ventilated to allow heat to escape by convection. Fan trays for forced-air cooling partially alleviate the problem but require frequent maintenance and add to the bulk of the unit. The actual real-life problems associated with heat removal have not been fully addressed – until now.

Inova Computers has devoted a great deal of manpower and effort to investigate the properties of a well engineered, conformant, functional and affordable industrial 19-inch enclosure. Research has shown that in the real world, working components within an enclosure need to be shielded from their immediate environment. This would indicate a hermetically sealed unit, which would make it unsuitable since free airflow would be prevented. However, by dividing the enclosure into separate compartments, heat can be exchanged more efficiently through a combination of forced air circulation and convection cooling – without jeopardizing space or weight. The results of this research led Inova Computers to develop a range of Cool Breeze enclosures that are impervious to foreign matter and yet allow EMI-shielded CompactPCI boards to be fixed in place while still permitting constant passage of air flow to prevent local hotpot build-up. In fact, a complete systems fitted with two high performance passively cooled 450MHz CPUs, power supply, UPS, and I/O boards has a change of less that +5°C compared to the outside ambient.

The Cool Breeze units are typically equipped with high-performance passively cooled Intel Pentium III CPU boards, AC/DC (or DC/DC) power supply units, the Inova Universal Power Supply, special 8+2 CompactPCI backplane and I/O devices.

The enclosure operates on the following principle: Ambient air is drawn by a fan through the bottom of the enclosure and forced to the lid, where it is guided across the entire surface area, collecting and removing heat as it flows. The main chamber is completely separated from additional chambers. The fan in the main chamber circulates the air by drawing it in from behind the backplane and forcing it into a cool chamber, which cools the high-performance CPU boards. Due to the blocking seals, the cool air is forced beneath the first CPU to the second CPU and then up to the lid. From here it transfers heat to the lid as it flows across all boards and the power supply, before repeating the cycle.

The benefit of this Cool Breeze enclosure lies in its ability to protect the CPU and peripheral devices from damage while operating in rugged industrial environments. Systems can be customized to fit individual needs and requirements.

A PDF version of the full datasheet for this product is available for download at

Inova Computers, Inc., 270 Communication Way, Building 6, Hyannis, MA 02601. Tel: 508-771-4415; Fax: .