EMI & RFI Shielding Coating

What is Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)?

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) occurs when an electrical circuit is affected by external electromagnetic sources. It’s often difficult to locate the source of the EMI (as it can come from both natural and man-made electromagnetic fields), but as a general rule, anything that can create an electromagnetic field may also be able to create EMI and benefit from EMI shielding.

How Does Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) Damage Equipment?

Any type of EMI can be catastrophic. It can affect everything from medical and navigational equipment to tablet computer touchscreens, and it can disrupt, damage, or even destroy these devices either through data losses or complete system failures. Fortunately, EMI shielding can protect a wide variety of equipment from the influence of electromagnetic fields.

How EMI Shielding Works

The goal in all EMI shielding and coating projects is to block as much of the offending EMI as possible, so it can’t reach the sensitive electronics inside the enclosure. To accomplish this goal, a very high electrical conductive material such as copper or aluminum is used in EMI protection. The electric field in the EMI is absorbed as it drives free electrons in the metal into motion…essentially converting the potential energy of the electric field into kinetic energy in the metallic coating.

In our advanced facility, we utilize a process called physical vapor deposition (PVD) to apply EMI shielding in thin layers. These layers offer the EMI protection and shielding you’re looking for, minus the weight. Consequently, PVD is a great choice for coating plastic electronic enclosures. Usually, a designer specifies plastic enclosures over metal enclosures when they are trying to minimize weight and cost of shielding materials. As an added benefit, EMI application via PVD is highly scalable and relatively inexpensive. It is an excellent choice for large-volume production runs.

Many of our competitors utilize simple thermal evaporation systems to coat components with aluminum. However, the very best EMI shielding coatings are produced from very high conductivity materials such as copper, with an overcoat of nichrome or stainless steel to protect it. We routinely produce multi-layer coatings in a single cycle through our two-stage sputtering technology. Our custom-built PVD sputtering systems can apply almost any alloy or metal to your equipment, including:

  • Copper
  • Stainless Steel
  • Nickel Chrome
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium

Whatever your protective needs, at Vergason, we can deliver. From the automotive and health care industries to the avionics, military, and technology industries, we’ve set the standard for superior EMI shielding and protection for a wide range of products. Contact us today to discover how we can meet the requirements of even your most demanding shielding project.

EMI & RFI Shielding Materials

What Is the Difference Between EMI and RFI?

The terms EMI and RFI are often used interchangeably. EMI is any frequency of electrical noise, whereas RFI is a specific subset of electrical noise on the radio frequency spectrum spanning from 30 Hz to 300 GHz. Shielding coatings produced via PVD are rather thin when compared to the wavelength of lower frequency radio waves. This means that although PVD can be used throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, it is most effective when blocking frequencies above the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) threshold of 300 MHz. 

What is the difference between an EMI/RFI Shielding Coating and an ESD Coating?

  • An ESD (electrostatic discharge) coating is simply a continuous metal film with resistivity less than 10 ohms/square. The film spreads an electric charge across the surface of the part preventing an arc discharge from occurring and damaging sensitive items.
  • An RF shielding coating actually blocks radio waves from passing through the coating.

Products That Benefit from EMI Shielding

  • Automotive radar for ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems)
  • Medical devices such as infusion pumps and monitoring devices
  • Avionics
  • Marine electronics
  • Radios
  • Computers
  • Mobile phones
  • Process control components and sensors
  • EMI Shielding Wrap for Wires

Benefits of PVD Coating for EMI Shielding

Excellent adhesion and conductivity
Thin metallic coatings do not alter part dimensions
Outstanding coverage in hard to reach locations
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