Dutch electromagnetic shielding company Holland Shielding Systems has developed a process for coating plastics with metal which, it says, is highly accurate.
Small components such as sensors and medical equipment will benefit from the process because accurate metal placement means that quite specific areas can be kept non-conductive.
The process, which is said to be economical in runs from single prototype up to 100,000 pieces, can be used to apply different metals, in layers, in one step.
A sandwich of copper between two stainless steel layers, for example, gives a highly conductive shielding core within two corrosion-resistant layers. The electrical performance of the copper layer could otherwise be spoilt by softeners leaching out of the plastics substrate or, on the outer layer, by air.
A variety of metals can be applied, including silver, gold, zinc, aluminium and tin, to provide electromagnetic attenuation of 72dB at 250Mhz.