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Concurrent Engineering Helps Meet Thermal Challenges
November 21, 2006

With each successive generation of Cisco products, increases in functionality and speed have increased thermal design challenges. In response, Cisco Systems has defined a temperature aware design flow that significantly improves co-design between electrical and mechanical engineers. “The new concurrent electronic/thermal engineering approach has reduced the time required to identify and solve thermal problems, making it practical to address thermal issues at an earlier stage in the design process,” said Herman Chu, Technical Leader for Cisco Systems, San Jose, California. “It appears that the five days that was required in the past to evaluate a prospective board design from a thermal standpoint can be reduced to only two and a half days or less.”

FLO/PCB, integrates with the PCB design software used by Cisco. It promotes a new design flow in which information is transferred seamlessly between the electronic and mechanical design processes. Designers begin by transferring information from the PCB design software to thermal analysis. A 3D computational fluid dynamics solver predicts airflow and temperature, for both sides of the board. Cooling management can thus be considered from the earliest stages of the design process. Placement updates made in thermal analysis can be passed back to PCB design thus providing bi-directional connectivity allowing for concurrent placement and thermal design.

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