What Is a Heatsink?

Heatsinks help dissipate heat from electronic devices and systems, serving as cost-effective heat exchangers. To enhance the device’s performance, dependability, and service life, it’s important to select or create the right heatsink design. The ideal heatsink reduces operational temperatures, resulting in less damage to components and increasing their longevity.

Our Heatsink Capabilities

At California Machine Specialties, we manufacture heatsinks based on our customers’ specific requirements. We use various processes to produce top-quality heatsinks, including:

  • Vacuum brazing
  • Dip brazing
  • Furnace brazing
  • Stock material extrusion or machining

Our team has manufactured custom heatsinks for military power supplies found in marine vessels such as Navy ships and submarines. Additional applications include ground support equipment and semiconductor components. Our heatsinks for electronics have provided customers with the solutions they need for optimizing their power supplies, resulting in increased efficiency, performance, and cost savings.

Heatsink Materials Used

Heatsinks for military power and other applications may consist of different types of materials, depending on the application. Aluminum is the most common type of heatsink material for a variety of reasons: it is lightweight, easily extruded, cost-effective, and has high thermal conductivity.

Copper is another popular heatsink material for its superior conductivity, but it is much denser and more expensive than aluminum. Therefore, aluminum offers the best balance in terms of performance and cost.

Typical Heatsink Applications

Here is an overview of the typical applications for heatsinks.

Semiconductor Devices

Heatsinks are found in various semiconductor devices, including power transistors. Thermal resistance is the main design factor influencing the selection of heatsinks for these particular applications.


Various optoelectronics such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) may also use heatsinks. Heatsinks help cool these devices to optimize their service life and performance. 

Military Power Supplies

Military power supply systems also rely on heatsinks to maintain temperature control for improved performance and maximum longevity in the field. 


Some soldering applications use temporary heatsinks to prevent heat damage to nearby electronics when soldering circuit boards.

Industries Served

Custom heatsinks play a vital role in cooling devices across a wide range of industries. These industries include:

  • Electronics
  • Military
  • Aerospace
  • Medical equipment
  • Industrial manufacturing
  • LED lighting
  • Appliance
  • Automotive

Custom Heatsinks by California Machine Specialties

California Machine Specialties offers custom solutions based on your unique specifications. We can consult with you on the design of your heatsink for manufacturability and cost. Using high-quality materials, we provide dip-brazed, vacuum-brazed, furnace-brazed, machined, or extruded heatsinks. Depending on your application, we offer machined, thermally bonded, or brazed fins. 

We also provide other services and solutions such as mechanical assemblies, precision machining, and manufacturing engineering. We have designed and manufactured numerous components for use across many industries and applications. With your specific challenges in mind, Cal Machine can help you develop the ideal solution, whether you need heatsinks, precision machined parts, or custom assemblies.

Our customer-centric products and services aim to meet or exceed your requirements within competitive price ranges. To ensure consistent quality across all our services, we follow AS9100 Rev C and ISO 9001 quality management processes. To learn more about our capabilities or to start your project, request a quote today.