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Stay Cool to Stay Connected: Why Thermal Management Matters at the Edge

by Teddi Strassburger on September 17, 2020

(This blog post from CPI details some important considerations for your network at the edge. Check it out! -Teddi)

By Sam Rodriguez, Sr. Project Manager, Industrial Solutions at CPI

SAM_RODRIGUEZ_2020_RGB300 (1)_resizeWhen it comes to protecting your technology investment, especially if that means placing sensitive IT equipment in an edge and/or outdoor environment, much of the discussion tends to focus on the physical act of protection. This is generally done in the way of safety and security, and the need to shelter and shield equipment from the elements to prevent a network outage or failure.

Do You Have Enough Airflow?

One of the most overlooked and misunderstood considerations of protecting IT equipment at the edge is how to keep that equipment cool enough to perform reliably and operate as needed. In talking with customers, there seems to be a commonly shared belief that as long as there is at least some air movement within the enclosure that this is satisfactory, and a single fan or even single opening will ensure the equipment inside has needed airflow.

It’s important to remember, however, that compute devices—especially those installed in edge applications—can and likely will require much greater airflow than what is provided in standard cabinet configurations. Many of these cabinets have a single fan and filter, but industrial installations that include both inlet and outlet openings require filtration for both. For proper cooling to occur, there should be at least two openings to ensure the required airflow is provided. That said, the openings aren’t enough, and fans and filters need to be large enough to support the required airflow for all devices installed.

Did You Size Your Cooling Properly?

As a typical standard, many cabinet manufacturers provide a fan/filter solution that is nominally rated at less than 70 CFM, which equals ~200 watts or less of cooling. Most of these edge compute devices consume 1000 watts or more power. To support this level of heat load, larger openings and fan/filters are required. Even when deploying the largest capacity fans, the thermal load may be too much for fans. What then?

Chatsworth Products (CPI) has a major focus on delivering expertise and solutions that help to ensure compute devices are cooled properly. While in the design phase, intentional thought has been given to ensuring filtered air is placed in the correct location. For edge and/or outdoor applications, CPI’s NEMA Type 12, 4 and 4X RMR® Industrial Enclosures offer protection from the elements while meeting cooling requirements so that devices perform reliably and maintain operation as expected.

Please contact your local Accu-Tech representative for more information. You can also watch a video to see how you yourself can ventilate a sealed enclosure to ensure proper cooling.

Topics: CPI chatsworth thermal management edge networking

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