Schreiner ProTech
ESD and EMI protection films reduce damage caused by electrical voltages

03.03.2020 Just like during a thunderstorm, electrostatic discharges can also occur in industrial environments. Whenever the differences between the charges of two objects are big enough this will result in a sudden equalisation of electric potential. This flashover can destroy electronic components.

EMI protection films protect electronic devices against damage and malfunctions caused by electromagnetic waves.
© Photo: Schreiner Group
EMI protection films protect electronic devices against damage and malfunctions caused by electromagnetic waves.

Electromagnetic fields created by changes in electric currents and voltages can damage components as well. Protection films and labels from Schreiner ProTech reduce this risk: they provide insulation and shielding or warn against voltages.

Protective films prevent ESD damage

Electrostatic discharges (ESD), which are harmless to humans, can have serious consequences for electronics. According to estimates by German technology and safety services provider TUV Nord, the manufacturing industry incurs annual ESD-related costs amounting to billions of euros—and rising. The reason is that electronic components are becoming increasingly small and therefore more sensitive to electrostatic discharges. Electronic circuits may fail due to ESD effects and, as a result, incapacitate a vehicle, a process or an entire assembly line. While the damaged chip costs only a few cents the consequential costs incurred due to downtimes or repairs are enormous.

Plus, ESD damage often remains undetected in normal functional tests. When the equipment subsequently fails it is already in the customer’s hands in many cases. Consequently, the manufacturer may not only be liable for repair costs but also for providing replacements. Both can quickly amount to large sums to be paid by the manufacturer aside from the damage caused by a tarnished brand image. ESD protection films reduce the probability of an electrical flashover, for instance when the protective film is peeled off a display. This also reduces the risk of people suffering electrical shock or of combustible substances being ignited by the formation of sparks.

Protection films for EMI shielding

Due to the growing number of electronic components being installed in automobiles, avoidance of damage caused by electromagnetic waves is another increasingly important issue in the electronics industry making more complex demands on assuring electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). In the event of inadequate shielding, electromagnetic waves and electrostatic fields cause unwanted voltages and currents resulting in mutual interferences that affect the performance of neighbouring equipment. The potential consequences include audible humming, functional impairments and signal interferences (e.g. of sensors and electronic control units), plus a higher risk of fire due to overloads up to and including total equipment failure.

Protection films for EMI shielding from Schreiner ProTech produce relief: They reduce the hazards emanating from electromagnetic radiation. The films consist of electrically conductive materials such as metallized films, metal foils, metallized foam and metal fabrics. The frequency of the radiation is an important factor in selecting the shielding film: the lower the frequency, the larger the wavelength and penetration depth of the radiation. The film’s shielding effect depends on the material’s properties, the geometry and the assembly conditions. All films are optimised to suit the customer’s specific application. Customers test the shielding in real-world conditions at their own sites.