Crane Engineers Build the Future of Power Products with 3D Printing
At Crane, we place great importance on innovation and creativity. Our products are some of the most advanced in their class, and we are dedicated to continually improving our technology.
Our culture of innovation comes from our people. It’s the ideas and passion of our associates that keeps us at the forefront of our industry. Recently, six Power Solutions engineers were recognized for their efforts to advance electronics technology with a Patent Award from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
On January 5, 2016, Ernie Parker, Frank Fan Wang, Jim White, Dave Wiley, Mike Pierce and Randy Stephenson were awarded a patent for “Transformer-Based Power Converters With 3D-Printed Microchannel Heat Sink.”
Modern commercial and military aircraft require increasing amounts of power for their electronic systems. That means higher power requirements for Crane's ELDEC transformer rectifier units (TRUs) and auto-transformer rectifier units (ATRUs). Customers also want these higher power units to be smaller and lighter, but reducing the size has resulted in a need for liquid cooling to better reduce heat from the smaller package. Typical liquid cooling systems require that large components in a TRU/ATRU be mounted to a liquid-chilled metal baseplate, which then acts as a heatsink to the hotter components.
The Crane team developed a new design that leverages 3D metal printing technology to create microchannels, or “fingers”, for cooling fluid. These fingers wind around the components to directly deliver cooling fluid instead of having to run through the traditional metal baseplate. It also allows the baseplate to become thinner and does not require it to be made of metal. This lets Crane's ELDEC TRUs and ATRUs deliver much more efficient cooling while significantly reducing overall size and weight compared to traditional "cold plate" units.
Innovative design is just one of the ways that Crane sets the standard for quality and reliability for flight and mission critical applications in harsh operating environments. Our world-class engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and other teams have helped us design, build and ship over one million power products around the world.