In Australia, manufacturers of various products that contain electronic circuitry are mandated to comply with EMC testing standards. This test must be conducted and complied before the products will be released onto the market. One of the reasons why EMC testing is required is that the electromagnetic radiation which can emit through the air has a tendency to interfere with the proper operation of various equipment and devices present in its surroundings.
To minimise the amount of electromagnetic radiation or interference that EMI emitting products emit into the environment, the active electronics should enclosed within a ‘Faraday cage’ that has been designed with sufficient electromagnetic shielding. However, in other cases, the circuit design itself is insufficient in properly protecting the equipment from the excessive level of electromagnetic radiation coming from the other equipment or affecting the equipment itself. Hence, electromagnetic shielding is applied in these cases to ensure the EMI environment the product is used does not affect the products performance.
What is Electromagnetic Shielding?
Electromagnetic shielding is the process of enveloping cables and electronics with magnetic or conductive materials to prevent incoming and outgoing electromagnetic frequencies emission. This practice is crucial in preventing electromagnetic interference from affecting delicate electronics. The metallic mesh shield is used to protect a certain component from affecting the other component within a particular product. For instance, in mobile phones, metallic shields are used to protect electronics from its cellular receiver or transmitter. It could also decrease the amount of radio frequency that can be possibly absorbed by users.
The level at which the energy of a radiated electromagnetic field is decreased due to electronic shielding is called electromagnetic shielding effectiveness. This degree of shielding effectiveness is measured in decibels (dB). An approximate ideal value for electronic components lies between 40 and 60 dB.
Uses of Electromagnetic Shielding
As electronic technology continues to evolve, innovative solutions will also be introduced to the market. This is in response to the ever growing electromagnetic interference issues present in different devices and equipment that people use every day. These are the fields of industry where electromagnetic shielding is found to be very useful. Here are some examples:
The aerospace or aviation industry is one of the industries which must be protected against the threat of interference. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) coupled with radio frequency interference (RFI) can cause degradation and even malfunctioning in some aircraft components and parts. Sources that can cause these interferences are varied.
These aircraft components and parts have electronic devices that are vulnerable to RFI and EMI. If these components are not properly taken care of, interference can harm them causing a loss of data and loss of connection for cellular phones and computers. There can also be more serious results such as jamming of the radar signal and cockpit radios which can hamper the communication between the personnel in the radio tower and the aircraft’s pilot.
To protect this highly advanced aerospace equipment, electromagnetic RFI shielding must be provided. Without this RFI shielding of these crucial electronics, an aircraft could be at high risk and therefore unfit for operation.
Secret codes and private conversations related to national security must be encrypted and prevented from the threat of hackers and terrorists, especially as the value of information is skyrocketing. Before, hacking was often done only by students just for the thrill of it. Now more than ever, hackers steal valuable or sensitive information to form terrorist groups or to organise crime.
Computers are the modern commodity where valuable information such as trade secrets, financial records, and even classified military information is stored. Unfortunately, this crucial information is very easy to steal for hackers. In fact, any computer that has a connection to the outside world by whatever means is at high risk. Physically isolated computers are also at great risk due to the fact they emit electromagnetic radiation. This is where electromagnetic shielding comes into play.
Ordinary people using home computers won’t probably have to worry regarding the loss of data due to electromagnetic emission. However, this is a very critical issue for classified and military data centres. When computers are being operated they radiate different kinds of electromagnetic energy. Some of this electromagnetic energy can easily be picked up by hackers even from a remote place. This will then be deciphered in order to gather information regarding the data and applications. Again, this act can be prevented through electromagnetic shielding or installation of electromagnetic generators in data centres. Tempest was the name given to the classified (secret) U.S. government project to study the susceptibility of some computer and telecommunications devices to emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in a manner that could be used to reconstruct intelligible data.
Communications equipment is highly sensitive to the electromagnetic environment. Its manufacturers utilise high-speed digital signal processing, electromagnetic compatibility standards and procedures for complicated networks which are strictly mandated for compliance among manufacturers not only in Australia but worldwide. This is done in order to safeguard the highly sensitive digital signal processing and microwave operating frequency bands of the radio spectrum.
To be able to reduce the electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic shielding is required for some of these communication devices. This RFI shielding gives communications equipment compatibility composite shielding materials.
Electromagnetic interference can be harmful to the sensitive electronic components in military equipment and applications. To protect this equipment essential to the military, navy or air force, crucial safety measures must be taken into account such as electromagnetic shielding and other EMI mitigation techniques.
The breakthrough in technology has given rise to various equipment and devices that nearly all people worldwide use every day. It includes information technology equipment such as computers and peripherals, printers and monitors, among others that may impact on human health. This is due to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by these devices when operated.
However, these effects maybe mitigated through the use of electromagnetic shielding products and devices that can protect users from radiation emitted by computers and peripherals.
When it comes to health, especially in a matter of life and death, state-of-the-art medical devices that have reliable and safe performances is highly crucial. Electromagnetic interference must be prevented so that the threat to the safety of life can be avoided. One way of preventing interference of electromagnetic waves emitted by medical devices during critical operations is through electromagnetic shielding.
Transportation electronics and other automobiles can be vulnerable to harsh external electromagnetic interference. They are also capable of creating risk such as the loss of control of the automobile. Hence, proper equipment must be included in the vehicle including electromagnetic RFI shielding. This helps in enhancing the performance of automobile electronic luxury devices, detection surveillance, and vehicle tracking systems.
In Australia, manufacturers of electronic and electrical devices are strictly required to be compliant with EMC testing standards. There is a host of accredited testing laboratories out there such as EMC Bayswater that is willing to assist in the test process at reasonable rates. At EMC Bayswater, we do not only offer comprehensive EMC testing we are also experts at providing the best in electromagnetic shielding. Call us today for accurate and effective electromagnetic shielding testing.