SMA Introduces CompactPCI Cool Box Industrial Computer System | Automation.com

SMA Introduces CompactPCI Cool Box Industrial Computer System

Increasing demands on the performance of industrial-grade computer systems involve ever-increasing clock frequencies of the specified processors. A higher clock fre-quency means more power dissipation which, in order to ensure operation, must be ventilated out of the system. SMA therefore offers a standard, ventilated CompactPCI subrack, the Cool Box, offering new levels of dependability for a variety of applica-tions.

Take a closer look at the specifications for “fanless systems”. This technology is intended to increase the MTBF by eliminating the fan. The promised increase of the system MTBF may be offset by the electronics modules' increased operating temperatures if the system is not properly designed.

The service life of electronic components depends highly on the operating temperature. The Arrhenius Law shows that increasing the ambient temperature by 10 °C doubles the failure rate of the components. A difference in temperature of 30 °C therefore results in a reduction of the MTBF by a factor of 8. Calculating the MTBF using a software tool demonstrates this law of nature.

Thus, an engineer should make every effort to adequately design the ventilation of the industrial computer system. This applies particularly to systems for use in extended temperature ranges or where the computing power from the CPU might climb to 100 per cent. For such applications, SMA offers the Cool Box – a self-contained CompactPCI subrack with active ventilation assuring a long service life of the system components.

The standard version of the Cool Box includes a small 4U / 36 HP CompactPCI subrack providing space for a 3U, 8 HP CPU and five I/O modules, which is plenty for many standard applications. Several low-cost 8 HP plug-in power supplies (AC or DC) are available as well. The Cool Box includes a rear fan with filter. The industrial computer modules are ventilated from the bottom up by a cooling air stream via an internal air deflector. The Cool Box can thus be installed without clearance underneath it.

The 4U height allows for the routing of the air flow and provides space for CD/DVD drives. SMA can also install a ruggedized hard disk drive with vibration absorber in that space for vehicle or other applications.

The Cool Box is available from $1,800.
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