Editor's note: GE Intelligent Platforms changed its name to Abaco Systems on 23 Nov. 2015 as a result of the company's acquisition last September by New York-based private equity firm Veritas Capital.
AFT technology, designed by engineers at the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems segment in Linthicum, Md., improves the air cooling of advanced electronic modules with a heat exchanger design that helps protect the modules.
AFT is capable of 175 Watts of cooling per module and meets the electronic industry's VITA 48.5 standard, which is administered by the VITA Open Standards, Open Markets embedded computing trade association in Fountain Hills, Ariz.
The Curtiss-Wright Corp. Defense Solutions Division in Ashburn, Va. -- a key GE competitor -- also licensed the Northrop Grumman AFT electronics cooling technology in 2012 for a variety of high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) applications.
Advanced electronic devices generate heat, which can lead to damage or failure, Northrop Grumman officials say. AFT uses a central channel with heat fins to isolate electronic components from cooling air, which is forced past heat fins to remove heat from electronic components without exposing electronics to air contaminants like dust, dirt, and humidity.
Northrop Grumman-designed ruggedized, self-aligning, sliding air seals at the inlet and outlet of the modules help channel air flow. Users in the field can remove these electronic modules and seals to ease maintenance and systems upgrades.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is a longtime supplier of advanced radar and electronic warfare systems for aerospace and defense applications, where typical use of high-power electronics makes electronics cooling and thermal management a crucial concern.
Traditionally, electronic devices like personal computers are cooled by direct forced air, where fans blow air directly over components. AFT technology transfers heat into the cooling air more efficiently to cool higher power densities, Northrop Grumman officials say.
"This innovation opens the door to developing more powerful, rugged electronic systems across the military and commercial electronics fields," says Tom Jones, vice president and general manager of advanced concepts and technologies at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.