IEA’s engineering department strives to ensure it operates under the company’s “first for the customer “ philosophy. “And I believe that distinguishes us from the rest of the industry,” says Alan Meissner, Chief Technology Officer.
At IEA, engineering is a cross functional activity. “If not otherwise directed, engineers, particularly those well versed in their technologies, can fall into the trap of designing in a vacuum, so focused on the uniqueness of their work that they forget the two most important aspects of good design:
- Meet the customer’s needs
- Produce something that can be manufactured at a competitive cost.
Because of IEA’s dedication to customizing products to the customers’ specific needs, such isolated ingenuity doesn’t happen. IEA’s engineers interact closely with sales personnel to gain a thorough understanding of the parameters that will ultimately define the cooling solutions they create. They also work in partnership with IEA’s production and purchasing groups to ensure each new idea embraces manufacturing realities and delivers on the requirement to combine performance with cost efficiency.
Three scientific principles guide product development at IEA:
- The Theoretical: How it looks in the computer
- The Empirical: How it responds in the laboratory
- The Practical: How it performs on the job
The Theoretical is the output of skilled, trained and experienced thermodynamics professionals supported by the latest design technologies.
The Empirical is made possible by the industry’s largest and most advanced thermodynamics laboratory, the IEA Calorimeter. It allows for complete and thorough validation of any IEA product at the factory.
The Practical gains a significant boost from IEA’s superior empirical tools, but the engineering team remains available should unexpected nuances in the operating environment require product modification.
A recent success in creating a new cooling solution demonstrates the IEA approach. Realizing the need to replace copper in the radiators used on larger, hotter running engines, IEA’s engineers turned their attention to making aluminum a more efficient alternative. Over an 8-month period, they first created a new, patentable alloy – introduced to the market as Cold Aluminum™ – then formed their new material into unique fin patterns to enhance its cooling efficiency, and finally directed creation of the manufacturing processes necessary to braze their new-age fins into functioning cores.
IEA’s engineering group also pursues a transcendent concept of customer service, going beyond supporting just IEA’s products to helping customers resolve cooling issues across the full spectrum of performance problems. “Our staff has an excellent grasp of all elements of power generation systems, not just the radiators,” explains Meissner. “We’re able to analyze the engine, the effects of the environment in which it’s operating and the impact of the desired power output to uncover the source of performance deficiencies and recommend effective remedies… whether the radiators involved came from IEA or not.”