Solving EMI challenges with die-cuts

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By Pam Hane | Apr 26, 2021
A variety of different die-cut components

As technology becomes more interconnected, addressing how electromagnetic interference (EMI) affects the performance of electronic devices is becoming an important design decision. If left unchecked, excess EMI has the potential to disrupt electronics, causing everything from delays to completely preventing a device from working.

While we’ve spoken before about different EMI shielding techniques, today we’ll be focusing specifically on one of the most common ways we tackle interference challenges at GMN: with die-cut components.

Why is EMI shielding important?

In the simplest terms, EMI shielding is the process of preventing undesired electromagnetic signals from affecting sensitive electronics. This is typically done through the addition of a conductive material to help absorb, block, or dissipate the excess interference.

Electromagnetic interference has been a longstanding design concern for industries where multiple electronics must be connected in close proximity. More recently, EMI shielding has become a bigger concern than ever as technologies such as 5G networks continue to rise in popularity. The new infrastructure required for the higher-frequency networks involves more antennae and even stronger electronic signals. Couple this with the fact that so many electronics, appliances, and even wearables are now connected to the internet through Bluetooth, WIFI, and 5G, and ensuring your device is protected against electromagnetic interference has never been more important.

Fortunately, die-cuts provide an efficient solution for shielding problems. Shielding materials such as conductive tapes, foams, fabrics, and foils can be die-cut to exact size and easily implemented in electronic products at any stage of the design process.

How can die-cuts help with EMI shielding?

Die-cut materials are frequently used to solve shielding challenges as they are cost-effective, easily customizable for a wide array of applications, and very efficient at blocking EMI signals. Through the use of a die-cutter, digital plotter-cutter, or laser-cutter, a wide variety of different materials can be precisely cut into a nearly limitless number of shapes and sizes. This precision allows us to cut materials to size with very tight tolerances, even for components with complex part geometries. Once a program is successfully set up for cutting a part, it creates an easily replicable solution for high-volume production.

Another benefit to die-cut shielding solutions is that they’re easier to apply at later stages in production than other shielding methods, such as screen-printed conductive ink or vacuum metal deposition. While die-cut parts can also be a great option early on in the design process, EMI issues aren’t always immediately obvious and can show up farther along in production. Die-cuts provide an accessible and easy-to-apply solution for late-appearing shielding issues.

Die-cut materials are also highly customizable. As a preferred converter for Laird, Rogers, and 3M, GMN’s engineers have access to a wide array of different shielding materials and can design custom solutions for project needs. EMI materials can be combined with magnetic and thermal insulators before being laminated and cut together for a tailored shielding solution. GMN also has a rapid prototyping group that can quickly provide parts for qualification and testing, with prototypes often available within just a few days.

We have years of experience using die-cut fabrication methods to provide custom shielding solutions. To learn more about how GMN can help solve your EMI challenges, schedule a consultation with our experts.