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Connector Insights from iCONN

What is Electromagnetic Shielding and Why is it Important for Your Design?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon , February 18, 2019

Electromagnetic Shielding pngElectromagnetic shielding  can protect from radios and cell phones to kitchen appliances and televisions, electromagnetic (EM) energy. Below is a diagram of the Electromagnetic Spectrum, which illustrates the full range of radiant energy. The shorter the wavelength becomes, the higher the frequency and the more dangerous the radiant energy. Despite claims, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that exposure to low-frequency EM radiation is dangerous to humans. However, even radio waves can have a menacing impact on electrical equipment.

Electromagnetic Spectrum

When EM energy waves meddle with electronics, we call the interaction Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). EMI can result in temporary or complete electrical failure, data loss, and more severe consequences, such as injury or death. Especially in critical applications related to medical, military, or transportation systems and devices, the impact can be devastating.

Electromagnetic Shielding

To prevent electromagnetic interference, OEMs and product developers need specialized cable assemblies and connectors that deflect energy waves from interfering with electrical currents. We call this deflection electromagnetic shielding.

Traditionally, electromagnetic shielding was manufactured using thin metal sheets made of aluminum, copper, or steel that could be molded to fit electronic housings or enclosures. However, these thin sheets easily deformed under pressure, allowing EMI to penetrate. Today we use braided strands of copper or metallic foil tape to deflect radiant energy. Both shielding products are suitable for EMI protection, but some key differences require consideration:

EMI Shielding Chart

The best choice isn’t always easy to identify. Nonetheless, this detail is crucial to the success of your product. If you need help deciding which electromagnetic shielding is best for your application environment, talk to an experienced cable and connector manufacturer like iCONN Systems. We have a wide selection of EMI-protected products and offer customized engineering to ensure your cable assembly is a perfect fit for your product and application environment. Contact us today or check out our white paper Maintaining EMI/RFI Shielding in Electrical Connectors.

EMI/RFI Shielding White Paper