Flextronics Automotive, formerly Invotronics Inc., develops and manufactures a myriad of electronics for vehicles, including automobiles, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. The company, located in Scarborough, Ontario, consists of several different departments including the Product Engineering Division, currently headed by Simon Chamuczynski, which is responsible for designing new products to customers’ specifications. One of the company products, developed by the Product Engineering Division, is a vehicle display, known as a cluster. The latest cluster design is to be used in snowmobiles and contains a color Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). To avoid overheating when exposed to direct sunlight, the cluster contains a passive heat sink, shown in Figure 1, to maximize heat dissipation from the LCD. As part of the design process, the thermal behaviour of the device was characterized under various operating conditions.
Carol Huang, a co-op student from the University of Waterloo, worked with Flextronics to analyze the thermal characteristics of the heat sink and LCD assembly using analytical methods, Finite Element simulations and testing to verify the thermal performance.
This case study is intended for use in Mechanical Engineering and System Design courses covering topics such as thermodynamics and heat transfer. The main expected learning outcome is to generate a need assessment and develop analytical model for the heat sink design. This case could also be used to analyze and compare features and characteristics of the difference metal heat sink design and apply FEA tools to validate that.