Gaskets, Insulators & Shielding

Gaskets & Thermal/Electrical Insulators

To protect your product from dust or moisture ingress, FPC is able to convert foam and other materials into gaskets to suit your specific needs. Similarly, thermal- and electrical-insulating materials can also be customised.

Pre-folded gaskets and insulators are also available upon request. Please enquire for more details.

EMI/RFI & ESD Shielding

Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also known as radio frequency interference (RFI) when it occurs in the radio frequency range (3kHz–300GHz), can decrease the functionality of electrical devices by introducing noise into the system or by damaging sensitive components.

Electromagnetic radiation arises from fluctuations in electric current or voltage. Sources of electromagnetic emissions can be natural (lightning, solar flares), or man-made (computers, power tools). The effects of EMI range from mild (e.g. static on a radio), to severe (e.g. malfunction of plane support systems), depending on the strength of the disrupting electromagnetic signal and the sensitivity of the target devices’ internal components. 

Electrostatic discharge (ESD), on the other hand, can damage or destroy delicate electronic parts by melting or vaporising them. ESD occurs when there is a sudden release of static electricity between two oppositely charged objects, releasing a burst of high current through the objects. The high current flow can result in intense heat that could result in outright device failure. Even if the device survives, its internal components are degraded and are more likely to fail over time.

The current flow caused by ESD events can also cause unintended switch activations, which can be extremely dangerous, depending on what the switch is meant to control.

In order to protect your electronic device and ensure it functions properly, EMI/RFI and ESD shielding might be needed. FPC provides two main types of shielding: foil shielding and printed shielding.

Metal Foil & Printed Shields

Metal foil shielding and printed shielding protect against EMI by reflecting or absorbing electromagnetic radiation, preventing EMI from passing through. The effectiveness of shielding depends on the conductivity of the shielding material. The higher the conductivity, the better the shielding. It is important to note that the shielding used will need to be grounded to work properly. 

Metal foil shielding and printed shielding also protect against ESD by providing a low resistance electrical pathway to the ground. Any electrostatic discharge will be grounded via the shield, preventing damage to the electrical device. Similarly, ESD shields must also be grounded in order to ensure proper function.

FPC provides copper foil, aluminium foil, and printed conductive silver shielding options. The shields can be integrated directly into the membrane switch if desired, and can be grounded via the switch tail, a separate shielding tail, or directly to the casing using conductive adhesive tape.