Simulated End Use Environment
MICRON, a leading manufacturer of solid state drives (SSDs), needed a testing device to test their products in a simulated end-use environment. They provided DT Engineering with the drives to be tested at different temperature and air velocity requirements. A test chamber is necessary to determine airflow requirements for proper functioning, but due to MICRON's special specification to test under both heating and cooling conditions, they were unable to find a wind tunnel commercially available. Hence, DT Engineerining stepped in to design this one-of-a-kind product.
The DT Engineering team kicked off the project by brainstorming how to support a wind tunnel capable of both heating and cooling. They performed hand calculations and computer simulalations to determine how temperatures and air velocity would meet the desired ranges.
First, the engineers used a typical refrigerator system to achieve low temperatures and a resistance heating element to achieve high temperatures. The temperature ranged from -20º C to 80º C. Next, the team created a way to control the air velocity between .5 - 2 meters per second. Each component was controlled with microprocessor/digital control.
During the design process, the engineers encountered a unique challenge - refrigerator systems are designed to operate with constant airflow across the evaporator coil. To solve this issue, they used a closed-loop wind tunnel with a multi-duct configuration, allowing consistent airflow for the refrigeration system and variable airflow through the test section.
Each sheet metal part was custom designed by DT Engineering, the other components (i.e. sensors, freezer, heater) were sourced, and the entire test chamber was built in DT Engineering's lab. A series of tests were conducted to ensure the reliability of the tester, and it passed with flying colors.
MICRON is currently in the process of ordering more units for DT Engineering to manufacture.