Grakon: Heat Sink Optimization Inside of a Fog Lamp Using Simcenter STAR-CCM+

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The information below was gathered from the 2018 Simcenter Conference - Americas that took place October 15-17 in Detroit, Michigan.


Author: Vignesh Balasubramanian, Thermal Engineer


Grakon designed and manufactured a commercial truck fog lamp with the customer requirements. After a year of production, Grakon looked into cost savings and weight management opportunities and optimization of heat sink were one among them. Thermal engineering played a key role in optimizing the heat sink. With the available production model, we tested the model for the LED solder point temperatures in a thermal chamber and then made a prototype of a heat sink which was available earlier in the program and never used due to the compliance issue. We tested the prototype heat sink and compared the values of LED temperature. We found that the current model had a safety margin of 15C and the prototype model was over by 25C. Having both the test results, we tried to correlate the model with the thermal simulation using STAR-CCM. We were able to get a 99% accuracy with the simulation vs test results. We approached the method of trial and error and started to increase the size of the heat sink. After four different iterations of heat sink size and shapes, we were able to get the design that met the new requirements of cost save and weight reduction that satisfied the thermal requirements for LED. STAR-CCM aided the organization with the cost save in the development process as well as achieving the goal.