Author Archives: Donte T

ATS’ Standard Board Level Heat Sinks for PCB

We’ve just released our new line of standard board level heat sinks. These stamped heat sinks are ideal for PCB application, especially where TO-220 packages are used. Available now through Digi-Key Electronics​ or at this link from ATS…


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Thermal Load Boards Gets Engineers To Solutions Faster, Cheaper


Prototype of a full scale load board with mock components

How do you characterize the airflow of an expensive PCB but not actually use a populated PCB itself?  You do it with 3D Printing.

3d printing in business-to-business has been known for its rapid prototyping and small scale production specifically in small to mid-size companies. Larger companies such as GE, Qualcomm and many others have the budget and the means to easily build 3d printing facilities when necessary, capable of 3D printing large and small components.  However,  smaller businesses depend on third-party manufacturers to turn their design into reality.

In thermal engineering 3d printing has become a vital tool in consulting and designing services primarily by creating thermal load boards.  Thermal load boards are a great tool for testing the airflow of a PCB populated with components.  Customers supply ATS with the component dimensions and placements, and ATS literally builds the components to place on a PCB to test the airflow of the PCB.

A PCB load board can save cost and time.  First, it allows an engineer to go beyond CFD to doing real airflow testing. While CFD is enormously helpful, actual airflow data confirms what is simulated, allowing engineers to greatly improve on the design.  And with a PCB Load Board, the physical design of the board and component placement is at a fraction of the cost of creating a sample board for this purpose.

Second,  a PCB load board reduces time on research and development and saves costs on materials by more than half, benefiting both the customer and manufacturer (see here).  This non-linear process sets up the customer for a prototype (Load Board) they are able to test multiple times through wind tunnel simulation, air velocity and temperature measurement, and flow visualization to name a few. The components on the load board consist of 3d printed parts the customer has defined in their layout. Heat sink holes are also placed into the board, again defined in the layout.

In one example of implementing this technology, a customer

“had their board laid out already, with the purpose of the load board is to validate the heat sink performance. The customer was still 6-9 months away from having software, so they can’t actually run their board at 100% capacity to create the load, that’s why ATS stepped in to make the load board with heaters that can be powered directly,” says Field Application Engineer Greg Wong.

Engineer Peter Konstatilakis has this to say as well

“ATS’ purpose of this service is to provide the customer with a means of thermally validating their board with the heat sinks they’ve decided to use before they spin up their board. This way any changes needed to house a different heat sink or make the board more free flowing in key spots can be made before spending thousands to spin up. In the end finding they can’t get their product on the market because they weren’t able to manage the thermals.”

For more information on PCB Load Boards and how they can save time and cost in your next design, please email us at  or visit our Contact Us page.

WATCH: PCB Layout & Design for PCB Cooling Solutions


Qpedia Issue 99 Just Released

Qpedia, Issue 99, has just been released! Download the issue.

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Featured articles in this issue include:

Minimizing Thermocouple Errors in Electronics Thermal Characterization
Thermocouples are a common, inexpensive tool for performing thermal characterizations on systems, PCBs, and individual components. Although using thermocouples appear to be simple, errors frequently occur due to improper calibration and other factors, creating inaccurate temperature readings. This article provides guidelines in order to help improve the accuracy of temperature measurement when using thermocouples.

Salient Features of a Piezoelectric Fan and Their Deployment in Electronic Systems
Piezoelectricity has been around for over a century, but until recently was not applicable to electronics. Because of the decreasing size of components and increased power demand in advancing technologies, piezoelectric fans are now being used in electronics because of their lower acoustic noise, space requirements, power consumption and reliability. This article discusses the benefits of piezoelectric fans and research on its future implementation.

Technical Note: Requirements of Accurate Measurement with RTD
In this new section, Qpedia reviews fundamental thermal engineering principles, calculations and equations needed for the successful cooling of electronics This issue discusses how to accurately measure temperature using RTDs.

Industry Developments: Vehicle Climate Control Systems
Automobiles must operate in a wide variety of environmental conditions, from very high to very low ambient temperatures with strong solar radiation. Typically cars are driven over open terrain, which creates a thermal challenge in order to insure that its interior quickly and quietly maintains the desired temperature regardless of the outside weather conditions. In this issue our spotlight is on devices used for thermoelectric cooling.

Technology Review: Thermoelectric Cooling Devices
Qpedia reviews innovative technologies developed for electronics cooling applications. This section presents selected patents that were awarded to developers around the world to address cooling challenges. In this issue our spotlight is on thermal management systems for LED lighting.

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Not a Qpedia subscriber? Sign up now and find out why over 18,000 read Qpedia every month.

Thermally Conductive Adhesive Tape

Top 3 questions customers ask when dealing with Thermally conductive adhesive tape for heat sinks.

The three most frequently asked questions about thermally conductive adhesive tape specifically made for heat sinks. This video covers how to apply the adhesive step-by-step for easy installation and removal.

Next, are the dimensions we carry for precise matching with your heat sinks. Finally, we go over the types and brands we carry. We only the best on the market from the companies who manufacture thermally conductive adhesive tape for heat sinks.

For more information on thermally conductive adhesive tape for heat sink please visit

Please don’t forget to watch our installation and removal video here: How to Remove Thermal Interface Material

Blow Torch, ATS Heat Sink Attachments

This video shows a flame test of the ATS heat sink clips superGRIP and maxiGRIP. These are used in the ATS clipKIT. It shows that the clips do not ignite, a key requirement in Telecomm applications and for general safety.

For more on ATS’s clipKITS, visit