Toyota and SDK Receive Ichimura Industrial Award for Development of Cooling Devices for Power Control Units


Technical experts of Toyota Industries Corporation (Toyota Industries) and Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) have received the 43rd Ichimura Industrial Award, from the New Technology Development Foundation, for their joint development of cooling devices for power control units installed in new-model hybrid cars.

Specifically, a Contribution Prize was awarded by the foundation to Toshiyuki Sekimori, Senior Managing Director, Toyota Industries; Kota Otoshi, General Manager, Engineering Department, Electronics Division, Toyota Industries; and Shigeru Yanagimoto, Technical Advisor, Aluminum Sector, SDK.

Picture of the cooling device for a power control unit


The Ichimura Industrial Awards are given to Japanese technical experts who have contributed to the growth of industry by developing excellent technologies.  In selecting recipients, the New Technology Development Foundation judges whether a technology is innovative and high-level from a global viewpoint; whether the technology has greatly contributed to the creation of a new industrial segment or the expansion of markets as a result of its commercialization; and whether the technology will play a leading role for the development of industry and society with pervasive economic effects.  (Source: the foundation’s website)

This cooling device constitutes part of a power control unit—the key component of a hybrid car—enabling effective cooling of power devices.  The cooling device has been adopted in Toyota Motor’s new model of Prius (third-generation) launched in May 2009.

The cooling device is a “direct-cooling-type,” produced by integrating fabricated aluminum with a ceramic insulating substrate through collective brazing.  The device has a special structure that helps remove strain resulting from the combination of materials with different levels of linear expansion coefficient.  The device is designed to ensure uniform flow of cooling water throughout the system, resulting in a thin device with low flow resistance.

In comparison with conventional cooling mechanisms, thermal resistance (at the junction of power device and cooling device) has been reduced to two-thirds, the volume of a cooling mechanism to one-third, and the mass of a cooling mechanism to one-fifth.  Thus, although this cooling device is thin, small and light, it has achieved high cooling efficiency.  Toyota Industries and SDK also received the 45th Oyamada Memorial Award (for fiscal 2010) from the Japan Institute of Light Metals for the same development efforts.

As for the prize of 3 million Japanese Yen that followed the receipt of the Ichimura Industrial Award, the recipients have contributed the total amount to the Japanese Red Cross Society as donations for the relief of victims of the East Japan Earthquake Disaster.