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International Heat Transfer Conference 15

ISSN: 2377-424X (online)
ISSN: 2377-4371 (flashdrive)

Energy Efficient Cooling of Switch Cabinets Using Optimized Internal Settings

Wolfgang Heidemann
Institute of Thermodynamics and Thermal Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Christian Staub
University of Stuttgart, Institute for Thermodynamics and Thermal Engineering

Klaus Spindler
Institut fur Thermodynamik und Warmetechnik Universitat Stuttgart Pfaffenwaldring 6, D-70550 Stuttgart Germany

DOI: 10.1615/IHTC15.eef.008632
pages 2129-2142

KEY WORDS: Electronic equipment cooling, Energy efficiency, Cooling of switch cabinets, numerical simulations, mixed convection


The miniaturization progressing of electronic components - used in switch cabinets for manufacturing - increases the packaging density as well as the volumetric dissipation power of the electrical components. As a result, high air temperatures inside the switch cabinets, an overheating and with that a reduction in the component life time may result. For this reason switch cabinets must be very often cooled actively. The commercial CFD code FloTHERM is used to obtain the influence of the packing density of the electrical components, the geometry of the wiring system and the inner air flow on the temperature and the velocity distribution inside a switch cabinet of given size. Based on CFD calculations, measures for the optimization of the internal setting of switch cabinets are presented in order to be able to use cooling capacity provided by active cooling devices (e.g. air/air heat exchangers, air-conditioning units) as energy efficiently as possible for the avoidance of hotspot areas (areas of a high inside air temperature). For the validation of the CFD model, as well as the verification of the suggested optimizations, experimental data are used. The experimental data are obtained from measurements of temperatures and flow velocities carried out at a test equipment for switch cabinets in the laboratory. To reproduce the thermal situation inside the tested switch cabinet, empty housings of electronic components are fitted with resistance heaters and installed in the switch cabinet. By a single pulse-width modulated voltage applied to each resistance heater, a variable distributed overall dissipation power is adjustable. Different steady-state operating conditions of the switch cabinet with natural and forced convection with and without cooled air are investigated. Theoretical results for optimized internal settings of switch cabinets show potential for conservation of cooling energy up to 20% compared to the not optimized initial state.

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