ROCHESTER, N.Y.—A well-known foam shielding gasket manufacturer is entering the market with a new grounding pad that it says ensures a high level of electrical performance without breaking under mechanical stress during its lifetime.
The Doubleshield Pad from Schlegel Electronic Materials Inc. was designed to confirm reliable grounding performance in electronic applications, often in conjunction with printed circuit boards. Pads will be delivered in tape-and-reel packaging for automatic placement and soldering re-flow using standard SMT equipment, which generally is comprised of robotic machines used to place surface-mount devices onto those printed circuit boards. The pads are expected to be available to customers before the end of the year, according to Senior Account Manager Bill Houston.
The large majority of products currently available to customers that provide reliable grounding are made of beryllium copper, which is both more expensive to make and is less flexible or "springy," Houston said. Beryllium copper also has a limited lifespan, which he compared to a spring or hinge on a door that wears down over time the more it opens and closes.
"One of the differences is that this pad is made from a material that (is softer) and provides more cushion," Houston said. "This means it won't snap or break. It doesn't require tooling to set up, and we feel it is more reliable with a longer product life."
The first iterations of the Doubleshield Pad will come in two sizes, allowing it to fit most applications: 2.5 x 3.6 millimeters at 2.4 millimeters tall, and 1.6 x 3.6 millimeters at a 1.6 millimeter height. It has a hollow profile with a core of soft silicone and a shell of electrically conductive silicone rubber filled with Ni/C particles.
Rochester-based Schlegel EMI is best known for such products as foam or conductor elastomer gaskets and for carrying a broad array of products for EMI shielding. The hope is that, by adding this pad to its line of products, the company can serve as a one-stop shop for many of its customers who might otherwise rely on the Schlegel EMI's board or enclosure shielding. The most common customers for the pad are likely to be those operating in the commercial lighting or product display industries, or other general electronics such as scoreboard operation, where grounding is a critical part of the design process.
Professionals in these industries commonly use multiple grounding clips, chips and pads, and need a cost effective product that supports ease of design. They can't afford to have issues with improper grounding, Houston said. Pre-pandemic, it is likely the pad would already have been on the market, but now Schlegel is using digital marketing efforts, and may offer samples to its customers to help spread the word.
"We've created some technical training courses we plan to roll out and EMI shielding classes for the engineering community that we expect to generate some interest," Houston said. The company also will be presenting the Doubleshield Pad at various virtual presentations and shows this year.
Schlegel EMI maintains its core business in gaskets, and since late March, has been providing customized gaskets to companies like GE Health to be used in ventilators and other health care products. "There's still a huge demand to expedite these specific gaskets as the pandemic drags on," Houston said. Its line of silicone gaskets provides shielding capability for such industries as the military, aerospace and medical largely for fluid seal, environmental and microwave applications.
Schlegel EMI offers a full range of EMI shielding products, including FOF gaskets, absorbers, elastomers, thermal interface materials, shielding gaskets, conductive foams, conductive tapes and laminates. These products enable the computer, telecommunications, military, medical, and electronics industries to meet global requirements for electromagnetic compatibility.
Approximately 90 percent of the company's products are manufactured in China, although it has several offices around the U.S. and a manufacturing facility near Rochester.