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Protect Electrical and Electronic Equipment With EMI Gaskets

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.
Understanding EMI Gaskets

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.

EMI Market Trends and Solutions

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) — also called radiofrequency interference (RFI) when occurring in the radiofrequency spectrum — refers to an electromagnetic disturbance caused by an electronic device interacting with another electronic device. Electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, and conduction can all disrupt the electrical circuit of the affected device. EMI can cause major problems for a huge range of applications, and is becoming a greater concern in today’s increasingly connected world.
EMI Solutions
Ever wonder why wireless devices must be put on airplane mode or turned off during a flight? Electromagnetic waves emitted when using those devices can actually interfere with the plane’s navigation system.

As the use of technology and electronic devices continues to rise, the EMI shielding market is rapidly expanding. Government guidelines outlining EMI shielding requirements are also expected to shift. And as technology use increases, electronic devices are becoming smaller and smaller, and the use of Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth is becoming more and more common. Both of these trends — the miniaturization of devices and the increased use of wireless technologies — can contribute to EMI problems.

EMI Shielding Materials

EMI shielding is extremely important in today’s ever-shifting landscape, and we’re proud to partner with Parker Chomerics, a leader in EMI shielding innovations offering a range of different of products including:

EMI Shielding Gaskets

EMI shielding gaskets from Parker Chomerics can eliminate all types of EMI gaps. Common applications include EMI window seals, grounding tabs, server face plates, panel seals, cover seals, and door seals.

EMI Shielded Window

These windows not only guard against EMI, they also protect displays from scratches and breakage, and can withstand harsh conditions. EMI shielded windows can be used with the above-mentioned EMI shielding gaskets, as well. Common applications include electronics used in military and medical environments, instrument panels, and cabinets and racks.

Metal Foil Tapes

Parker Chomerics offers a few different types of shielding tapes, available in aluminum, copper, tinned copper, nickel-plated, and, if appearance is a concern, embossed types. These tapes are perfect for EMI cable shielding, especially when dealing with surfaces that cannot be soldered.

EMI Shielding Paints

Paints are ideal for scenarios in which common EMI shielding products will not work, such as high-altitude environments. You would not want to wrap EMI shielding tape around an airplane, for example. Parker Chomerics offers a range of different paints to suit specific shielding applications, such as circuit boards, plastic enclosures, electrolytic platable plastic, aircraft airframes, and aluminum and composite.

Electrically Conductive Adhesive

Various types of adhesive are available from Parker Chomerics, all designed for use in applications requiring sturdy, conductive electrical bonds. Adhesives are often used to fill cracks in electrical boxes, poor-tolerance enclosures, and EMI vents and windows.

Electrically Conductive Sealants

Sealants are important for filling in gaps on electrical enclosures or electrical grounding. This is often required for man-portable electronics, military ground vehicles, and radar and communication systems.

EMI Solutions from Robert McKeown Co.

Since 1937, Robert McGeown Co., Inc. has been providing clients across diverse industries with world-class engineered materials for the electronics industry. Specializing in application assistance for both new and existing product design, we can offer high-performance, tailored solutions for all types of shielding needs thanks to our state-of-the-art proto-fast design center. We also keep a bulk inventory, allowing us to provide customized materials even for low-volume orders.

To learn more about Parker Chomerics’ industry-leading EMI shielding solutions and discuss options for your unique application, request a quote today.

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