Optoelectronics

Cast metal heat sinks cool large scale outdoor lighting systems

29th October 2015
Jordan Mulcare

Advanced Thermal Solutions, ATS, now uses advanced die casting technology to produce heat sinks that cool stadium lighting and other large scale outdoor lighting systems. At the site of the 2015 Super Bowl (XLIX) in Glendale, Arizona, cast metal heat sinks from ATS helped cool the high output LED lighting around the University of Phoenix Stadium.

The University of Phoenix Stadium was the first NFL field to be lit using only LEDs. The lights draw approximately 310KW of energy compared with the 1,240KW required by the stadium’s former halide system, a savings of about 75%. To realise these benefits, the LEDs needed a thermal management solution that could meet the cooling needs of the lighting as well as perform in the high heat of Arizona.

The solution was a custom, 2-part, die cast aluminum heat sink designed by Advanced Thermal Solutions. Die casting allowed the heat sink to meet exacting tolerances required in the lighting design. Painted and installed, the aluminum sinks fit the stadium’s modern design look while providing the essential cooling solution. 

With advanced die casting processes, larger heat sinks can be produced to bring thermal management to modern heat problems. An ATS die casting was used to create the heat sink structures used on LED-based city street lights in an urban setting. Another ATS die cast sink helps cool an LED canopy lighting system for gas station fuel pump areas. The stated needs for this passive heat sink included proper functioning in the presence of hornet nests.

Die casting can yield complex, precise, rigid cast parts with smooth surfaces that don’t need intense secondary machining. The casting process allows for much higher aspect ratios while fulfilling the requirements of small inter-fin spacing. Die casting is a practical way to produce high volumes of precision parts, especially for large solutions in applications that require unique shapes for accommodating the electronics.

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