We live in a society in which we strive for higher performance and efficiency in everything around us. Computers go to a 7nm process, supercomputers do 148.6 petaflops and electric cars aim for a range of 1000km. From a technological point of view, these evolutions usually come down to a higher energy density, and related temperature hotspots. Traditional solutions such as air cooling with extruded aluminium profile are no longer sufficient.
There is a need for more efficient cooling to maintain our technological progress. Cooling with a fluid (water, glycol, …) instead of air provides 10x to 100x better thermal transfer. An optimized design of the heat sink can increase the efficiency by a factor of two or more. Generative optimised design is so complex that they cannot be produced by traditional techniques such as milling, die-casting, extrusion, … The only alternative is an additive manufacturing (AM).
Several metal AM techniques are available today. Main disadvantage of these AM technologies is the production price and speed. These barriers are the main reasons why we don’t yet see them in mainstream applications. Economical serial production of complex heat sinks is the focus of ValCUN. This is done by hybrid manufacturing. Hightech where needed and fast and economical where possible. ValCUN combines traditional production technologies such as diecasting or extrusion with its disruptive metal AM technology.
For the cooling of three IGBT’s a generative design increased cooling performance by 40%. Manufacturing 100.000 coolers with metal additive manufacturing technology known as SLM would not be possible within two year on one machine and would cost more than € 100 per part. Combining diecasting with ValCUN’s AM technology makes it possible to produce this batch in 6 months at a unit price of a factor 3 to 5 less.