How can the simulation model contribute to product certification
The aim is to create a complete electronic device as a virtual twin, which shows the same thermal characteristics in relation to the real model and thus meets the requirements of a “virtual approval test”. The idea for virtual certification sounds simple…. Every electronic device has to pass several tests as part of the certification process before it is ready for the market. These can sometimes be costly and time-consuming. If these certification requirements are restricted to thermal behaviour, various expansion stages of a device family could in future be based on the virtual twin. The manufacturer would, so to speak, have the simulation model verified and certified in parallel with future thermal test series. For further certification runs for light device variants or expansion stages, only the simulation model should have to be submitted for certification. …but there are some prerequisites UL, an international leader in safety science, has been using simulation models for a variety of purposes for some time. It has been shown that the combination of tool, technical expertise and a smooth process are crucial for an effective result. Some main criteria had to be considered in order to test the idea of a virtual certification on a pilot project. After an evaluation ALPHA-Numerics was able to integrate the CFD software 6SigmaET as a strong partner in the pilot project. The main criteria were and are:
- A very experienced user is required to build a realistic CFD model, such as the ALPHA Numerics team and the CFD software 6SigmaET
- It must be possible to set up the model within a reasonable time by easily adopting fully detailed CAD data
- The CFD software must support the creation of electronic parts such as cables, connectors, printed circuit boards with layout, transformers or electronic components through simple menus
- Task-related special boundary conditions, such as electrical and thermal contact resistances, temperature-controlled fans, current load on copper structures, detailed PCB structures and much more must be realisable in the CFD software
- The construction of a calculation grid (typical in the CFD world) must not become the central work task and should not take up much time
- It should also be possible to test the time warm-up behaviour of clocked devices.
- The CFD calculation times should remain reasonable
- It should be easy to evaluate the results by means of an automated certification report according to UL specifications.
- The CFD software manufacturer must be open to incorporate special, indispensable extensions for the certification requirements into the CFD software (Thanks here to FutureFacilities!)
With 6SigmaET this is definitely possible! ALPHA-Numerics has proven in this pilot project that their engineers have the experience to build and calculate such detailed models in a physically correct way and to deliver the results in a short time. The 6SigmaET software convinced UL to choose ALPHA-Numerics and 6SigmaET in this pilot phase due to its efficient handling and accurate results. The software is available as a free trial version. The cost of the service is manageable and, more interestingly, implementation is comparatively fast. We, the ALPHA-Numerics team, will be happy to advise and accompany you on your journey of certification-compliant simulation. Recording of the Public presentation of 10th Nov 2020: link to stream the video.