VITA and ANSI ratify air flow through cooling standard for VPX

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. VITA, the trade association for standard computing architectures serving critical and intelligent embedded computing systems markets, announces the ratification by ANSI and VITA of ANSI/VITA 48.8-2017, “Mechanical Standard for Electronic VPX Plug-in Modules Using Air Flow Through Cooling.” The standard has completed the VITA and ANSI processes, reaching full recognition under guidance of VITA.

ANSI/.8 addresses previous design challenges for AFT cooling of modules, such as air cooling, air flow intake, heat exchanges, and exhaust paths. Modules compliant with ANSI/VITA 48.8 use a finned heat exchanger frame located within the central section of the assembly to top-cool primary circuit board and mezzanine board components.

ANSI/VITA 48.8-2017 describes an open standard for the design requirements for an Air Flow Through (AFT)-cooled plug-in module having 3U and 6U form factors while retaining the connector layout. VITA 48.8 is the first open standard AFT technology to support small-form-factor 3U VPX modules, which are preferred for use in size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C)-sensitive rotorcraft and unmanned platforms. Based on technologies developed by Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (Owego, New York), VITA 48.8 helps reduce weight and cost for high density, high power dissipation 3U and 6U module-based systems by eliminating the use of wedgelocks and ejector/injector handles; the standard instead calls for the use of lightweight jack screws for insertion and extraction into a chassis. VITA 48.8 also supports alternative air-flow arrangements, allowing air inlet at both card edges as well as the top edge (opposite the VPX connectors). Because VITA 48.8 does not use module-to-chassis conduction cooling, it also may help to spur innovative use of new lightweight polymer or composite material-based chassis.

The VITA 48.8 Working Group was chaired by Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions and sponsored by Lockheed Martin, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions, and Abaco.

Copies of the standard may be purchased at the VITA Online Shop (

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