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Case Study

Ten Tech Thinks Inside the Box to Create Innovative Single-Board Computer Packaging


"The first time I saw Ansys Discovery Live, I didn’t believe it could deliver on its instantaneous-design-feedback promises. Then, when I tried it, I thought it was nothing short of magical. There were things I knew would take days — even weeks — to achieve, yet I was able to complete them in three clicks."

— William Villers, Co-founder, CTO & VP of Engineering / Ten Tech LLC


Introduction

As an engineering services company, TEN TECH uses simulation to analyze and qualify the operational performance of its A&D customers’ products. These include defense electronics, weapons and radar systems, drones, etc. — with safety-critical components and systems that must be optimized for harsh environments. The company also uses simulation in their own R&D efforts to help design innovative, rugged embedded electronics packaging for aircraft onboard computers.

Challenges

The trend in electronics is to pack greater power and functionality into the same footprint. In A&D, as more electronics are added to aircraft, the packages that protect them must support more weight and expel more heat. They must also conform to a regulated form factor and withstand extreme shock, vibration and thermal constraints — without exceeding aircraft weight limits or compromising fuel-efficiency.

Engineering Solution

TEN TECH looked at existing aluminum packages — full blocks of machined aluminum that weigh around 3 pounds. We wondered if we could eliminate 2 pounds by creating a lattice structure that would provide the same stiffness and thermal performance, while remaining modular, removeable and replaceable. Using Ansys Discovery Live, the company was able to explore this idea and get answers to their what-ifs in 30 seconds, instead of wasting weeks of work time. Sometimes, the answers weren’t the ones they wanted, and other times they were completely, and wonderfully, unexpected. On occasion, they also rearranged board components to correct overheating or excessive stress identified by Discovery Live.

Benefits

  • It meshes complex, messy or organic geometry, which would be beyond the scope of a traditional finite element mesher.
  • It’s intuitive to use. It does what it needs to do; you don’t have to “fight” with it.
  • It enables 3D printing of lighter, organic shapes that would otherwise be difficult to manufacture.
  • It provides real-time design feedback, so they can run through many more design iterations, without having to start from scratch each time and suffer through tedious hand calculations.
  • It fosters collaboration: Engineers can visualize their ideas and see results in colorful 3D images.
  • Without it, TEN TECH couldn’t have continued to pursue their lattice design due to resource constraints.

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