Form-In-Place Gaskets: What They Are and What They Are Not
Form-in-place EMI gaskets, also known as FIP EMI gaskets, is a robotically dispensed electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding solution that is ideal for modern densely populated electronics packaging.
The most important distinction of form-in-place EMI gaskets is that they were developed for applications where inter-compartmental isolation is required to separate signal processing and/or signal generating functions.
Simply put, form-in-place gaskets are meant to reduce “noise” between cavities on a printed circuit board (PCB) or in an electronics enclosure.
In addition, form-in-place gaskets provide excellent electrical contact to mating conductive surfaces, including printed circuit board traces for cavity-to-cavity isolation. Parker Chomerics form-in-place gasket materials are known as CHOFORM.
7 reasons why form-in-place EMI gaskets can be an ideal choice
- Small form factor – form-in-place gaskets can be dispensed in smaller bead sizes than most traditional EMI shielding gasket solutions, 0.018” tall by 0.022” wide.
- Excellent adhesion – 4-12 N/cm adhesion on prepared surfaces such as machined metals, cast housings, and electrically conductive plastics.
- High shielding effectiveness – Parker Chomerics CHOFORM materials can provide more than 100 dB shielding effectiveness in the 200 MHz to 12 GHz frequency range.
- Quick programming – Because form-in-place EMI gaskets are robotically dispensed, a standard CAD file can be used to program the dispensing system and quickly map out the dispensing pattern.
- Complex geometries – The positional tolerance of the gasket can be held to within 0.001” and is able to follow very complex geometries including sharp turns, corners, and serpentine patterns. Other gaskets such as die cut sheets or o-rings manufacture and/or fabricate into such shapes and patterns.
- “T” joints – Traditional extruded gaskets are difficult to mate at intersections or “T” joints. The robot dispensing systems produce reliable junctions between bead paths to provide continuous EMI/EMC shielding and environmental sealing.
- Integrated solutions – CHOFORM technology combined with a Parker Chomerics supplied metal or conductive plastic housing provides an integrated solution ready for the customers’ highest level of assembly. This approach requires no additional assembly or process steps for the installation of gaskets and/or board-level auxiliary components.
Form-in-place EMI gasket limitations
- Large form factor enclosure sealing that can accommodate a groove. For larger areas such as machined covers that can accommodate a gasket groove, other EMI shielding solutions are better suited. In most applications, conductive elastomers such as the CHO-SEAL product line by Parker Chomerics will provide better shielding and sealing. Form in place gaskets can be dispensed in bead sizes only as large as about 0.062” tall x 0.075” wide.
- Enclosures requiring submersion or durable weather sealing. Because of the small form factor, FIP gaskets will not meet stringent environmental sealing requirements such as IP 67 or higher. While silicone-based, the material is better at preventing dust and environmental moisture from entering an enclosure. FIP gaskets can be paired with additional sealing gaskets for enhanced weatherproofing.
This blog post was contributed by Ben Nudelman, market development engineer, Chomerics Division.