Category Archive: Products
Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can significantly impact the performance and overall lifespan of electrical and electronic equipment. EMI gaskets—also referred to as shielding gaskets or RFI gaskets (when use for blocking radio frequency signals)—serve as one solution to this problem. These devices physically close gaps in equipment enclosures to seal in or seal out EMI produced by the equipment or surrounding environment, respectively.
Typically made from metal, elastomers, or wire mesh, their critical function makes them essential for any industry that employs sensitive electrical and electronic devices. However, choosing one for an EMI shielding application can be challenging as it often necessitates an understanding of how they work and the types available to ensure optimal performance.
To facilitate the EMI gasket selection process for our customers, we’ve put together the following blog post, which outlines how EMI gaskets function, the types available, and their industrial applications.
FUNCTIONS OF EMI GASKETS
The primary functions of EMI gaskets are to:
- Isolate sensitive equipment from potential sources of EMI
- Reduce the amount of EMI leaking into or out of an equipment enclosure
They achieve these functions by filling up the gaps between joined equipment surfaces, preventing EMI from entering or exiting the enclosure.
TYPES OF EMI GASKETS
When choosing an EMI gasket for an electrical or electronic application, material is a key factor to keep in mind. EMI gaskets are available in a variety of materials, each of which offers unique properties that make it suitable for use in different applications and operational environments.
Some of the types of gaskets available include:
- Beryllium copper EMI gaskets. Copper is highly conductive, and beryllium copper is highly versatile. When used for EMI gaskets, these qualities combined make for superior performance and suitability for formation into custom shapes and sizes.
- Conductive elastomer EMI gaskets. Similar to beryllium copper gaskets, these gaskets are high-performing. Made from elastomer material, such as silicone and other rubbers, and often embedded with metallic components, they require pressure to form an adequate EMI shield.
- Wire mesh EMI gaskets. Wire mesh EMI gaskets can create permanent seals and provide high levels of shielding. However, they do not include an environmental seal element.
INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS OF EMI GASKETS
EMI shielding gaskets find use in a wide range of industrial applications, including:
- Automotive control systems. As car technology advances, automobiles increasingly integrate electrical and electronic systems, including ones for control, navigation, communication, and media. The placement of these multiple systems in a confined space can generate high levels of EMI, which can affect their performance and function. Using EMI gaskets isolates the systems from one another, protecting them from the potential effects of EMI.
- Computers. EMI gaskets shield sensitive computer components from EMI generated by neighboring components and environmental sources, preventing the corruption of important data and ensuring they continue to operate as needed.
- High-speed electronics. High-speed electronics are highly sensitive to electronic signals. EMI gaskets ensure that these devices receive the right signals from the correct sources.
- Medical devices. As medical devices are often used in critical applications, such as analyzing and monitoring patient condition, they must offer reliable and consistent performance. Using EMI gaskets ensures that other electronic and electrical devices do not interfere with their function.
- Military systems. Military systems are increasingly relying on advanced electronics, including aviation systems, inventory controls, monitoring and satellite systems, and communication devices. EMI gaskets can reduce the amount of “noise” these devices emit and experience, ensuring smoother functionality.
- Smartphones. Much like computers, smartphones have multiple electronic components in a small space. Without shielding, EMI from one component can interfere with the performance of another.
CONTACT THE SHIELDING GASKET EXPERTS AT ROBERT MCKEOWN TODAY
EMI gaskets protect sensitive electrical and electronic devices and systems from EMI. At Robert McKeown, we offer high-quality shielding gaskets for use in industrial applications. To learn more about our EMI gasket offerings, contact us or request a quote.
The effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electrostatic discharge (ESD) can be devastating to sensitive electronic and electrical equipment and the employees that operate them. For example:
- EMI can ruin data collection and transmission, degrade signals, and interfere with or damage critical devices such as pacemakers.
- ESD can cause component failure and circuit destruction and result in electrical shock if the charge is not adequately dissipated.
Shielding products—such as shielding tapes—help disperse ESD and block EMI to minimize the risk of injury to life and limb and ensure the continued operation of the equipment. Shielding tapes act as a sealant. Instead of sealing in or out liquids, dirt, and other physical contaminants, they create a barrier that isolates the equipment and seals in or seals out EMI, ESD, and radio wave signals generated by environmental sources or the equipment itself.
Due to their critical function in electronic and electrical devices, shielding tapes find application in a wide range of industries, including medical and aerospace. Within these industries, companies employ EMI seals to protect their equipment and employees.
ADVANTAGES OF USING SHIELDING TAPE
When used in electronic and electrical systems for industrial applications, EMI shielding tape offers numerous advantages, including:
- Broader design flexibility and versatility. Shielding tapes are available in a variety of designs, materials, and sizes, which allows them to be tailored for use in a wide range of equipment and employee protection applications.
- Easier application and use. The application of EMI tape requires minimal surface preparation—i.e., ensuring the surface is dry and clean—and no specialized tools. As shielding tapes generally come with a pre-applied adhesive backing, they only require sufficient pressure to ensure adhesion to the equipment surface. As a grounding solution, the metallic part of the tape helps to disperse electrical charges safely without needing screws or other fasteners.
- Reduced crosstalk. Using these tapes reduces crosstalk—i.e., the interference of one signal by another nearby signal—across program or transmission channels.
- Greater protective properties. Shielding tapes minimize the adverse effects of ESD and ESI, resulting in greater protection for employees and equipment.
- Better durability. Many shielding tapes demonstrate superior abrasion and corrosion resistance and flame retardant properties, which enable them to withstand the stresses of use and result in longer service lives.
WHY WORK WITH SHIELDING TAPE EXPERTS?
With the numerous types of shielding tapes available, choosing the right one for a shielding application can be difficult. In these situations, it helps to get help. By consulting with an experienced fabricator and distributor of shielding tapes, customers receive qualified advice about which tape(s) is/are suitable for their needs or application and how best to apply it/them.
ORDER YOUR CUSTOM SHIELDING TAPES TODAY
Shielding products such as shielding tapes help protect your equipment and employees from EMI and ESD. At Robert McKeown, we offer shielding tapes and gaskets for use in industrial shielding applications. To further customize these EMI shielding products to our customers’ needs, we offer die cutting services.
Electrically conductive tapes provide separation between hazardous equipment and operators, ensuring the safety of the latter. Available in a wide range of types to meet varying operational or performance requirements, these products find use in a variety of industrial applications.
TYPES OF TAPES
Some of the common types of electrical and electronic tape employed in industrial applications include:
- Black Vinyl Tape: This tape’s ability to withstand a wide range of elements makes it the industry standard for electrical insulation and isolation. Although it demonstrates high strength and durability, it can be easily removed with little to no residue. It also exhibits excellent UV resistance.
- Thermal Insulating Tape: This electrical isolation tape is used to keep high heat away from equipment, such as wires, cables, and hoses, and on or near equipment that poses as a fire hazard, such as engines and furnaces. When heated, it becomes sticky, giving the tape greater adhesive flexibility. Cooling the tape allows for easy repositioning or removal of parts during assembly.
- Heat Sealing Tape: Heat sealing tape is used on machines that reach very high temperatures, such as vacuum sealers. It provides a barrier between the heat source and other objects, protecting the latter from melting.
- Acetate Cloth Tape: Acetate cloth tape is aesthetically pleasing and exhibits excellent conformability in coil-wrapping applications and high adhesion and insulation properties. It can also absorb resins and varnishes.
- Electrically Conductive Adhesive Tape: Electrically conductive adhesive tape provides reliable electronic isolation, ensuring that there is no direct connection between two or more circuits or adjacent parts. This tape is used in many industries, including electrical, medical, and pharmaceutical, for a variety of purposes.
- Electrical Insulation Tape: Electrical insulation tape provides the versatility and reliability needed for critical applications by limiting overvoltage and isolating any circuits that may be hazardous if connected.
- Paper Electronic Tape: Paper electronic tape satisfies a range of in-process and packaging needs of “through-hole” electronic component manufacturers. It is used in applications such as banding coils, coverings bobbin-wound coils, and end-turn taping.
- Paper Masking Tape: This tape is designed to provide temporary bonds during electrical component construction applications. It is also used in die-cutting operations.
- Silicone Solid Rubber Tape: Silicone solid rubber tape is manufactured in different formulations that provide varying properties, such as extreme temperature resistance, excellent tensile strength, and superior tear resistance.
- Composite Bonding Tape: Depending on the type employed, composite bonding tape demonstrates a variety of properties, such as electrical, chemical, and heat resistance, low coefficient of friction, abrasion resistance, and conformable release surfaces.
INDUSTRIAL USES FOR ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC TAPE
Each electrical and electronic tape can serve a number of purposes in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, such as:
Within the electrical industry, electrical and electronic tapes perform several functions. Typical functions include serving as protective jacketing for high-voltage cables and wire harnesses, providing electrical insulation, wrapping, sealing, and insulating cables to protect the equipment and operators, masking circuit boards components, and serving as wire labeling for safety.
Electrical and electronic tapes provide thermal management in a variety of industrial applications. They help keep heat within a reasonable temperature range for the equipment.
Composite bonding tapes allow engineers to meet specific performance requirements by providing strength and reliability in critical applications. They allow for the bonding of dissimilar materials—such as metals, glass, rubber, and fiber-reinforced composites—to allow for a combination of advantageous characteristics in the overall system.
Within the construction and building industry, electrical and electronic tapes allow for greater design flexibility, higher strength bonds, and faster operations. For some applications, they can replace fasteners such as screws and rivets.
Tapes are used to facilitate a variety of maintenance tasks, including repairs, painting, and marking safety areas.
Typical applications of electrical and electronic tape in the automotive industry include:
- Mounting attachment parts
- Wire harnessing
- Cable mounting
- Mirror assembly
- Permanent paint protection
- Surface protection
Adhesive tapes facilitate the production of a variety of renewable energy equipment from start to finish. For example, electrical tape provides frame bonding and permanent edge protection for solar panels. Additionally, during the manufacture of wind tube blades, tape can be used for mold preparation, lay-up and infusion, and permanent application on the finished blade.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ELECTRICALLY CONDUCTIVE TAPES AT RMK
At Robert McKeown Co., Inc., we specialize in electrically conductive tapes and films for industrial applications. Since 1937, our team has been dedicated to innovating and maintaining open communication with clients to deliver high-quality solutions tailored to their unique needs.
Regardless of whether you need next-day availability, fast-track quotes, or express and next-day samples and prototypes, we can fulfill the requirements of your project. To learn more about how our electronic tapes and adhesives can benefit your next project, contact us, or request a quote.
Robert McKeown offers a variety of adhesive and sealant products for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications.