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Engineers today are faced with complex as well rapid design changes that require multiple design tools to work in conjunction with others. Both the MCAD and ECAD eco-systems have addressed this with their own neutral file format such as SAT, IGES, IDF etc. However, one key area where the concept of a neutral file hasn’t really been adopted is in the area of thermal simulation. Thermal engineers have been struggling for many years due to a lack of a standardized file format within Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses software. Lack of standardization is a cause of a major inefficiency bottleneck across the supply chain and introduces model accuracy problems due to conversion errors and other mistakes, resulting in an increase in man-work hours. The model problem is exacerbated now with the advent of newer electrical-thermal co-simulation tools like Sigrity PowerDC where electrical engineers are also demanding thermal component models for their power integrity and electrical-thermal co-simulations.
“After visiting multiple customers, it’s clear that the thermal engineering community must establish a neutral model file format”, said David Ochoa of Intel Corporation. “Intel would like to propose the adoption of a neutral file format to help engineers exchange thermal model data all the way from components to system level, regardless of the software package used.”
Intel Corporation teamed with Motorola Mobility to create an initial draft of minimum requirements for a neutral file format and presented it to the electronics cooling community at this year’s Semi-Therm 34th Annual Symposium (note, not part of the Semi-Therm event). The discussion recognized a need for a neutral file format, requested feedback, and opened an invitation to CFD software vendors to collaborate on an XML format. Future Facilities, a leading thermal simulation software provider, has already offered an XML based neutral file format meeting the requirements.
Cadence is supporting this initiative by adopting the neutral file format in Sigrity PowerDC. With easy access to thermal models, design teams can focus their time on designing and performing critical electrical-thermal co-simulations instead of chasing down or creating models. This allows more time to explore variants and run more iterations leading to better designs that meet the cost requirements of the product. Cadence along with Intel, Motorola Mobility, and Future Facilities believe model exchange will not only help thermal component suppliers but it will also help the overall industry with better electrical and thermal designed products.
We commend Intel on leading this initiative with a target plan of only releasing thermal models in the neutral file format in 2019. It’s time for the rest of the thermal community to adopt a standardized thermal model file format.
For more information on standardizing a thermal model file format, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.