Perfecting the art of EMC protection

Words by Phil McDavitt, general manager, Nicomatic O

ne finds more and more that today’s systems rely on digital

communications. This trend has picked up even greater momentum through the interwoven connections of IoT platforms, which have extended to a plethora of industries, as a result of Industry 4.0: automotive, smart technology, artificial intelligence, all of which rely on the collection and analysis of large amounts of data. Luckily, systems are much faster than ever before, thanks in part to the emphasis on software design, as a result of the miniaturisation movement. The combination of high speed, digital data transmission and ever-smaller design brings many benefits. But with the sunshine comes the perfect storm on the horizon: signal interference. Put simply, the faster systems run and the closer they are packed together, the more likely they are to interfere with each other. In many systems, failure due to interference is unacceptable: aerospace and defence applications cannot fail. The same is true for sensitive medical instrumentation. Anything that relies on AI or IoT platforms will be rendered useless if they are unable to function due to interference from within the system itself or from other external equipment. It’s not a new problem but it is one that is increasing in severity for the reasons mentioned above. Most systems’ designers, working on sensitive equipment for demanding applications, appreciate that they need to consider mitigating the risks of interference; they may not be aware of all the options that are available to them. The Achilles’ Heel for electronic systems, as far as interference is concerned, is often the connector.


Gaps around the connector can result in an incomplete Faraday cage; unwanted signals can penetrate the shell. Nicomatic specialises in supplying

DMM connectors comply with MIL- DTL-83513G, and facilitate a wide

Nicomatic specialises in supplying highly versatile, miniature interconnect products for the harsh environments that could see this interference affecting operability. One of the company’s key families, the DMM series, illustrates the protection solutions possible. 2mm pitch, low profile DMM connectors comply with MIL-

for panel mount designs. The flange fills the space between the panel cut-out and the connector, thereby improving attenuation by up to 15dB. Additionally, an EMI O-ring DM can be incorporated

“The Achilles’ Heel for electronic systems, as far as interference is concerned, is often the connector”

choice of configurations when compared to micro-d or sub-d.

Manufactured using all-metal aluminium alloy 6061 shells, the connectors themselves inherently offer a degree of interference protection. But EMI options include backshells, which shield against electrical interference with a transfer impedance (Zt) performance of <200mΩ, from 10kHz to 400MHz. Rear exits are elliptical shape and fully compatible with common banding systems. Openings allow wires to be fastened with a band clamp system, and ground the shielding of the cable. DMM connectors also include a flange which has a strong impact on EMI performance

complete Faraday cage and enhanced shielding.

extreme requirements. Lastly, spring fingers can be used to ensure the two halves of the connector are always in contact, producing a near- complete Faraday cage and

ensure the t

and the connector, thereby improving attenuation by up to 15dB. Additionally, an EMI O-ring DM can be incorporated for advanced performance for extreme requirements. Lastly,

Nicomatic has also developed

the DLMM connector family for UAV, robotics, space satellites and radar

the DLMM connector family for UAV, robotics, space satellites and radar applications. These are lightweight Micro-D MIL 83513 type solutions, with metallised composite shells that reduce connector weight by 50 per cent, when compared to Micro-D metal connectors. To reacclimatise with regards to the issue of interference, DLMM connectors provide the same EMI protection performance as the all-metal DMM connectors. Parts undergo extensive testing to ensure that there is no flaking of the copper/nickel metallisation layer: metallisation acts as rugged body armour to protect the DLMM. Nicomatic uses an ULTEM composite shell, which also helps to reduce the cost of manufacturing and is less expensive than a standard MicroD connector. This also reduces the lead time to three weeks. One can see that there are solutions

to the concerns around interference: it’s time that you interfered with electromagnetic interference at the earliest stage of the design process. Just remember that options, such as the ones provided by Nicomatic, prove that size, weight and cost need not be compromised: ensure the best quality, by preparing for the worst.


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