EMI or electromagnetic interference is a fancy sounding acronym that can have devastating consequences. These are some words that no electrical engineer wants to hear during his design stage. From simple noise generation in the signal to the failure of life-threatening mission-critical equipment, EMI can become the reason for many forms of electrical failures.
Military, aerospace electronics, medical, mass transit systems, industrial touch screens, and navigation are just some of the scenarios where EMI can have unwanted results and severely affect the outcomes. And sometimes, these outcomes lead to loss of lives.
So what’s the solution to the problems of EMI? The answer is Electromagnetic Interference shielding.
Product designers and engineers have been struggling in finding ways to curb the effect of EMI noise. To do it effectively they have been using shields, or EMI shielding to be specific.
So What is EMI Shielding
Shields are specially engineered mechanical devices that are designed in a way that when layered around devices, block the interference. These shields work in two ways. First, they protect the internal devices from the external interferences or noise. And secondly, they protect the external equipment or devices from noise by blocking the signals emitted by the device placed inside the shields.
Apart from this barrier-based physical shielding, there are circuit designs. Circuits are also designed in a way that helps to reduce the electromagnetic interference produced. But this circuit design is not enough on its own. This is when solid shielding comes in to play.
The starting and basic designs of EMI shields are prepared from metals sheets which are then formed into the shape desired. The main problem with this approach was the lack of stability of the thin metals sheets. They could easily bend and these deformed sheets do not retain the same level of shielding performance.
The modern day shielding apparatuses are sophisticated. They are still made from metal but the metal is manufactured and fabricated in a way that retains the flexibility of the metal even under extreme conditions. The thin sheets have been replaced by screens, wires, and metal foams. Another element that helps in shielding is silicone. It is an excellent insulator and sealer. When metal shields are fused with silicone, the shielding can take the dual role of the insulator and a sealer. This is a property demanded in extreme conditions where standard screens or metal foam don’t perform as required.
It is Important
EMI Shielding has become important in many areas of our lives. For example, it is used in the telecom industry because radio transmissions hamper the reception of a signal by a recipient if the signals are near the same frequency. Having a properly integrated EMI Shielding solution will prevent incorrect frequencies from interfering.
Medical equipment is required to be completely shielded from the effects of RF devices including phones, tablets, and other electrical equipment. Without some form of shielding, the results could lead to life-threatening situations.