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Novel coating offering protection from electro-magnetic interference wins Award

News International-French

21 Oct 2014

Prestigious Innovation award for plasma-sprayed coating that maximises the value of using lightweight composites in electrical and electronic insulations.

A new plasma-sprayed coating that paves the way for increasing the use of lighter and more efficient materials in electronic applications has received the 2014 Innovation in Materials Award from the trade body for the UK composites industry, Composites UK. Zircotec’s durable coating offers a considerably lighter solution than resorting to metal shields to protect the rising number of electronic systems housed in composite enclosures from electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can interrupt or degrade signals of transmitted data. Issues range from being simply a nuisance through to catastrophic failure that mandates legislation in sectors including automotive, aerospace and defence. With a rising number of engineers looking to make use of the lighter weight properties of composites in such applications, Zircotec’s coating offers a robust solution without adding the weight penalty of using metal shields.

“The judges recognised the technical excellence behind the innovation along with the benefits the product will bring to both the composites industry and end-user sectors,” says Dr Sue Haliwell, Operations Manager at Composites UK. “Engineers want to use composites for housing electronics but their poor EMC performance has held this back and having to add a metal shield takes away all the weight advantages,” says Zircotec’s Managing Director Terry Graham. “Zircotec’s range of plasma-sprayed coatings now offers electronics engineers a solution to minimise EMI and can be applied to composites, both thermosetting and thermoplastic components such as junction boxes and interface units. The material is highly durable and chemically resistant. As a coating it takes up considerably less space, another advantage sought in the high performance applications now turning to composites.”

Zircotec’s EMC coating is already in use within motorsport, driven by a surge in electric hybrid powertrains, and is likely to transfer to similar applications within the automotive sector. The Abingdon based firm is now discussing applications for the new coating in future defence, aerospace and marine applications with projects set to start in the next 12 months.