Solar Power Systems Found to Emit Harmful EMI

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can disrupt many types of electronic devices and equipment we use to communicate. For this reason, it’s important to limit EMI as much as possible and to contain it by using EMI shielding products. EMI can come from cordless phones, fluorescent lights, television sets, electric tools, computers, cell phones, and more. Digital devices such as power circuits, especially those that convert DC current into AC current, can also emit EMI.

 

In the Netherlands, VERON (the Netherlands national Amateur Radio society) has had many problems with EMI being emitted from residential solar panels. Although there are regulations regarding solar panels in the European Union (EU), only about 33 percent of solar installations met the regulations during 2014. These emissions cause strong interference which can cover a large range of VERON’s spectrum.

 

There are four main ways to reduce noise from EMI: shielding, filtering, cancellation, and suppression. Filtering, cancellation, and suppression are most often addressed by dealing with EMI that is carried into the system through cables and wiring.  Filtering can be used by putting capacitors across signal lines or wiring them to the ground. Cancellation is simply twisting wire pairs which in effect means the wire noises will cancel each other out. Suppression is oftentimes the most effective way of lowering EMI in cables and wiring. It works by molding ceramic into the shape or size needed which allow the EMI to be converted to heat into a core made of ferrite. Once this happens the EMI begins to dissipate.

 

EMI shielding can be achieved by construction of a metal Faraday cage around the electronics.  In order to allow for access to the electronics within the Faraday cage, conductive gaskets are most often used at the seams and access points, and this is where Vanguard’s Ultra-Vanshield EMI gaskets can provide a unique dual function solution for both weather and EMI shielding.  Their unique construction and materials perform in extreme cold and heat, and are mechanically forgiving.

 

At Vanguard, we manufacture shielding products which are designed to protect sensitive electronic systems. We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified facility and our custom fabricated line can be used for all types of telecom base stations, computers, high speed electronics, automotive control systems, avionics, solar systems, and more. We are able to customize products for our customers worldwide at a reasonable cost. Shielding products range in size from 0.010 to 3” in cross section. We also offer a wide range of finishing services.

 

To learn more about Vanguard and our products, we invite you to read our blog, follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on LinkedIn. To find out how we can help shield your products, we invite you to speak to a representative about your needs.

Posted on: May 3rd, 2018 | Posted in: EMI Shielding Gaskets, Solar Energy

Combating Supply And Cost Uncertainties In The “Age Of Trade Wars”

One cannot read the news lately without coming across some discussion of the back and forth currently going on with respect to punitive tariffs being imposed by one county or another on imported goods.  Whether one agrees with these policies or not, we will all have to deal with the wide-ranging tentacles that global trade has on our day to day lives.

Over the past couple of days, the US government imposed a number of broad ranging tariffs on imported goods that directly impact the types of products that Vanguard produces.  These tariffs cover everything from rubber tubing and hose, to gaskets, to the machinery used to produce these types of products themselves.  Though on surface this may appear to be a windfall for our products in the US, there is bound to be some level of retaliation, and as a global supplier of our products to Europe and the Far East, we need to be prepared to deal with the consequences of these actions.

In addition to the direct effects, some of the actions have had indirect effects on supply channels causing prices for raw materials to increase unexpectedly.

At Vanguard, our overall philosophy has been to be globally competitive through innovative materials, engineering, and production techniques without having to count on government intervention or low cost imported products.  With our 50+ years of know-how in engineered elastomers, we have been able to be cost competitive with our wholly US manufactured products on a global scale.  Even with these newly imposed tariffs, our goal and focus will remain the same, without taking advantage of these political situations to scrape out some level of desired price increases.

If your off-shore supplier of tubing, seals, or gaskets becomes non-competitive, or if you experience new “timeliness of supply issues” with them as a result of these events, we stand ready to supply you with economical alternatives immediately.

With any luck, the tough talk and posturing will calm down soon, and a sense of normalcy will return to the global markets as opposed to the turmoil that currently exists.  We have not yet reached that point, however.  In the meantime, as it is up to us as manufacturers to put plans in place that allow for competitive, reliable supply of products to service our customers.

Made in USA

American Made Products

Posted on: April 4th, 2018 | Posted in: Import Tariffs, Manufacturing

Aging Population Prompts Portable Medical Device Development

As the US faces a growing population of older adults and lifestyle choices catch up with us, the need for complex, portable healthcare systems becomes more apparent. Smaller respirators, ultra-portable CPAP machines, therapeutic electrical muscular stimulation, ultra-portable ultrasound machines, electronic diabetes monitoring systems, and other products are all increasing in demand.

Throughout our lives, but especially as we age, we visit the doctor to check how our systems are functioning. Sometimes, the cause of an ailment can’t be seen from the outside. During these circumstances, medical imaging technologies allow us to see structures inside the body to determine what could be causing a patient’s symptoms.

By the year 2025, the global medical imaging market is expected to reach $55.7 billion. Demand for smaller, portable diagnostic devices is driving some of this growth, along with rising rates of chronic illnesses that have been linked to increasingly sedentary lifestyles and on-the-go meal options.

Poor health habits are known to contribute to Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other increasingly common issues. Wearable health monitoring devices are becoming more popular as they help people monitor their conditions without inconveniencing them. Portable  devices put patients in control of their health, giving them insight on their diseases without a lengthy trip to the doctor’s office. And when it is time for a doctor follow-up, all the information is readily available for review.

Modern diagnostic devices are also providing faster access to test results. The FDA recently cleared a portable scanning device that can check for ischemic heart disease in about 5 minutes. This is a benefit not only for patients, but for doctors and Emergency Departments overall. Determining whether chest pain is coming from a heart attack, or a less threatening condition can reduce wait times and help staff prioritize the highest risk patients.

These types of advances in the medical field are already having a major impact on people’s quality of life and time to diagnosis. With our expertise in precise extrusion and compounding to achieve mechanical performance and electrical conductivity, we are able to service this growing industry in the healthcare space. We look forward to seeing what new developments arise in the coming years, and how we can help bring these products to life.

To learn more about our custom configurations and capabilities, feel free to contact us online.

Posted on: March 15th, 2018 | Posted in: Medical Devices

How to Protect Sensitive Equipment from Solar Flares

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires have been causing unimaginable destruction across the country. But there is another phenomenon that has the potential to cause immeasurable damage to modern infrastructure – coronal mass ejections and solar flares.

The sun is millions of kilometres away from the earth – yet disturbances on its volatile surface can push us back into the dark ages.

Solar Flares & Coronal Mass Ejections (CME)

There are super active spots on the sun where the magnetic field is particularly concentrated. Often there are explosions around these regions which result in the ejection of a wide spectrum of radiations running the gamut from visible light to X-rays. These events are known as solar flares and based on their intensity – which is measured on a logarithmic scale – they can either expose air travellers to an increased dose of radiation or wreak havoc on GPS and satellite communication.

While solar flares are to be held in awe – coronal mass ejections (CME), often confused with solar flares are even more potent. They take a while to reach us but the directional blast comprises solar matter particles which cause distortions in the earth’s magnetic field and can cripple electrical grids.

NASA’s Response to Solar Flares and CMEs

NASA has a good idea of the repercussions of solar flares and coronal discharges. In its attempt to “keep the lights on,” it has started the Solar Shield project through which the North American grid system can identify power stations and generators that might be hit the hardest during an event so that pre-emptive and remedial measures can be put in place.

More Solar Flare Mitigation Techniques

NASA is vigilant. But that doesn’t mean all industries can rest easy. A class X behemoth can still cause a lot of damage to ground equipment, especially for military, aviation and sophisticated telecommunication.

Under these circumstances EMI/RFI shielding products prove to be effective. They act as a buffer between items and the coursing electromagnetic currents ensuring the continued operation of sensitive equipment.

Vanguard has been at the forefront of this niche and is capable of supplying EMI/RFI shielding gaskets, manufactured to customer specifications.

Please speak with a representative by contacting us at 203.744.7265 or click here to learn more about our capabilities.

EMI shielding gaskets

EMI/RFI Shielding Gaskets

Posted on: January 15th, 2018 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Protecting Advanced Law Enforcement Equipment

Today’s law enforcement agencies make use of a variety of high-tech equipment on a day-to-day basis. In addition to the well-known equipment officers carry, they also make use of electrical devices such as body cameras, breathalyzers, communications equipment, emergency respirators, and thermal imaging cameras, among many others.

 

In critical law enforcement scenarios, this electrical equipment must meet two main requirements. First, it must be rugged and safe for use in all types of weather conditions and challenging situational environments. Second, it needs to be protected from potential disturbances, such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), to ensure proper functioning at all times.

 

Understanding EMI

The electromagnetic spectrum — the collective term for the range and scope of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their associated wavelengths — ranges from gamma radiation, which has the shortest photon wavelengths, to radio waves, which have the longest wavelengths, with visible and infrared light in the middle. EMI occurs when any of these waves interfere with the functioning of a piece of equipment; RFI is also classified as a type of EMI, wherein only waves within the radio wave frequencies cause the interference.

 

EMI can be caused by a number of sources, both natural and manmade. Natural sources include fluctuations in the earth’s natural magnetic field, lightning, and solar magnetic storms; manmade sources include interference from computer circuitry, arc welders, and certain types of electric motors. On a larger scale, transportation infrastructure — like the high-voltage contact switching and third rails required on many subways and railways — can also generate EMI.

 

For law enforcement workers, EMI can have serious, even life-threatening effects. For instance, it can garble radio communications, which can be disastrous if an officer is radioing for backup. EMI can also cause infrared camera malfunctioning, which can hamper tracking efforts, as well as body cam interference, which can result in fuzzy or distorted footage.

 

EMI Shielding Solutions From Vanguard

With over 40 years of experience designing, engineering, and manufacturing elastomeric products, Vanguard Products Corp. is proud to specialize in EMI shielding solutions, helping to ensure optimal performance of law enforcement equipment — and optimal safety for law enforcement workers.

 

Made of the highest-quality silicone and fluorosilicone, our EMI shielding gaskets come standard in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and can also be custom designed for special applications and requirements.

 

Many of our EMI shielding gaskets meet stringent MIL-DTL-83528 military specifications. Vanguard is a registered manufacturer with the United States Department of State, Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Compliance and Registration Division, in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Part 122, so you can rest assured that all our EMI shielding gaskets will perform reliably.

 

To learn more about EMI shielding gaskets , our material options, quality assurance processes, and custom design capabilities, contact the team today.

Posted on: August 30th, 2017 | Posted in: EMI Shielding Gaskets

How Manufacturers Are Leading the Green Revolution

There’s a common understanding that alternative sources of power benefit people and the world around us. Fossil fuels and coal are losing favor among consumers, who are looking for cleaner energy options that reduce the amount of air pollution and other contamination.  Drive down any road, now, and you are likely to see many homes with solar panels, and pass any number of electric or hybrid cars.

Solar and wind power have become more popular in powering the electric grid, while electric vehicles are gaining a greater following among drivers.  In fact, both Great Britain and France recently instituted programs to completely eliminate the sale of fossil fuel powered personal autos by 2040. Volvo has decided to end “gas only” and “diesel only” powered automobiles by 2019.

To meet the growing demand for these sources of power, manufacturers have been working to create the necessary components for this infrastructure. Solar panels, wind turbines, and battery-powered cars all require a complex network of parts to function – and they need creative design engineers to bring them to life.

At Vanguard Products, we’ve been seeing an increase in demand for sealing products for these applications. We create custom compound silicone materials that can withstand high temperatures, have high compression set resistance, and extreme UV resistance. All of these traits are needed to ensure the reliability of power generation equipment, which must be durable enough to stand up to unpredictable weather and operating situations.

Sitting out in the sun and exposed to the elements 24/7, solar panels and windmills can be exposed to temperature extremes both high and low, and an intense amount of UV radiation. Many materials will fail under these conditions, so it’s vital to find silicone seals that are designed for this type of function.

Our Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) shielding products are also being successfully applied to the electric vehicle market. As self-driving technologies continue to advance and work their way toward reality, automakers need to ensure the safety of these vehicles. Because wireless electronics are so pervasive in society today, it’s necessary to avoid outside electronic interference within the vehicle. EMI shielding components can protect the vehicle from receiving unintended signals, keeping occupants and other drivers safe from harm.

As a custom elastomer manufacturer and supplier, we look forward to the continuing development of these exciting technologies, and are happy to play a role in their success. If you have any questions about the types of materials used in these alternative power applications, feel free to contact us online or call (203) 744-7265  for further information.

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 | Posted in: Solar Energy

Monitoring Air Quality During Summer Months

As summer officially begins, many people are rushing to get their air conditioners ready for the rising temperatures. But heat isn’t the only thing we have to look forward to this season – poor air quality is also a concern.

While pollutants are a daily force to content with, they tend to get worse during the summer. This is because heat acts as a catalyst for many reactions, including those responsible for creating smog. As air pollution and ozone combine during summer heat, dangerous smog becomes a concern. Many people are aware of smog being an asthma trigger, in addition to causing other respiratory issues, but it has also been identified as a factor in cardiac arrest.

To combat air pollution, steps have been taken to plant more trees and other greenery in urban areas. Plants do absorb pollution and give off clean oxygen, but the results aren’t as rosy as once thought. New research has found that trees can actually emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when exposed to high levels of heat. So during the hot months of summer, trees actually compound the effects of air pollution in urban areas.

For these reasons, it’s especially important to implement monitoring systems that track particulate concentrations in the air, allowing government agencies and companies to provide better controls and limitations for emissions. It also allows agencies to better inform the public about when they should take greater care surrounding their own exposure to pollutants. For high risk individuals who are already in poor health, knowing when to limit outdoor exposure could literally be a life saver.

At Vanguard Products, we develop items that go into systems for air and water quality to be monitored and controlled. Water quality is another important health factor during the summer for a number of reasons – namely, hydration, keeping cool in public swimming pools, and cooling systems that rely on water. Poor water quality can easily result in illness, so that’s another resource that requires monitoring during the summer.

If you oversee a project that requires air or water quality monitoring, let us know your requirements so that we can help find the right solution for your system.

Posted on: June 21st, 2017 | Posted in: Air Quality

Robotics Design: What Are the Biggest Challenges and Opportunities?

The field of robotics design is advancing quickly, and the possibilities for the future are exciting, albeit not without its share of challenges.

Innovations in Robotics

Though industrial robotics have been around for decades, advances in robotic programming, design and construction have opened applications in less obvious areas.  Robots are showing up in applications as varied as the military to surgical robotics to robots that will vacuum your house.

Recent advances include a bomb-defusing robot. RE2 Robotics is in the second development phase of an Underwater Dual Manipulator system that will dismantle explosives underwater for the US Navy.  Once complete, the revolutionary robotic arm will be able to go where other bomb robots cannot reach, such as under bridges or piers, and it will be controlled remotely from dry land. The system’s applications may even extend beyond bomb disposal in the future, such as providing repairs for offshore oil and gas rigs.

Another cutting-edge innovation is the robotic bat named B2 that mimics the primary flight characteristics of real bats. B2’s advanced design, which is the brainchild of researchers at the University of Illinois and Caltech, has the potential to be the first thorough methodology for reverse engineering of the complex flight mechanism of bats. The bat-inspired aerial robot will be more energy efficient than existing aerial robots. Its possible applications include supervising construction sites and performing tasks in places people cannot go, such as inspecting Fukushima nuclear radiators that have dangerous radiation levels for humans.

Challenges to Widespread Application

These amazing, novel designs, though, present design challenges that are common to even the oldest robotic applications.  First, the range of motion and articulation can cause sealing problems.  Combined with the EMI shielding challenges that the onboard electronics require, this can present quite the engineering task.

Further, many of the new robotic systems are much more modular and compact, allowing for easily piecing together components to achieve the ultimate functional goal.  Modular and compact systems can be much more difficult to seal and shield, and can become a mechanical engineering nightmare fairly quickly.

Finally, the quest for better batteries is a challenge facing the industry, but one in which progress is occurring in leaps and bounds.

Looking to the Future of Robotics

The market for robotics will develop more smoothly by tackling the above-noted barriers rather than avoiding them. The next five years will see more companies emerging to find solutions to the difficult issues of industrial automation, predicts WT VOX. However, having the knowledge and insights to provide viable fixes is complex, and it will require robotic designs that are reliable and repeatable.

At Vanguard, we have a good deal of experience in the robotics industry.  Vanguard’s expertise in sealing and EMI shielding make us uniquely positioned to work closely with companies developing robotic systems.

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017 | Posted in: Robotics

It Really Is A Small World After All

One of the challenges commonly encountered by an engineered products company of our size is adequately supporting our customers around the globe.  This has become more of an issue over the past couple of years as many companies work on a single project simultaneously in multiple locations.  It is not unusual now for an engineering team to be located in Northern California, Texas, India, and China, all working on different aspects of a project, but requiring quality engineering and supply support in each location.

Vanguard has had the extreme good fortune of working with the highest quality representatives and distributors around the world for many years.  Long ago, we were on the cutting edge of establishing technically competent partners in nearly any location to support our customers.  Domestically, many of our one dozen representatives have been our partners for nearly thirty years.  A similar statement can be made of our 10 international partners spanning from Scandinavia to the Far East and Australia.   We have established extensive production capabilities at our joint venture operation in Japan.

As the markets continue to grow, we continue to work with our partners to further expand our coverage.

In the meantime, we’d like to thank our partners for their excellent support, and encourage all of our customers and potential customers to take advantage of their outstanding applications skills.

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 | Posted in: Uncategorized

How 5G Wireless Technology Will Power Our Future

4G versus 5G

To begin with, 4G and 5G don’t actually stand for any specific definition of capabilities – they merely stand for 4th Generation and 5th Generation wireless technology. They do, however, require that certain standards be met to use the branding.

4G is actually a combination of two standards, with LTE Advanced being the primary standard followed. An upgrade of the LTE standards bumped the data speeds from a peak upload of 50 Mbit/s and a peak download speed of 100 Mbit/s up to a peak upload of 500 mbps and a peak download of 1000 mbps.

The 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), a group that has overseen cellular communications standards since the third generation of wireless and put forth the LTE and LTE Advanced standards, has already established specifics for potential 5G technology. Among these are latency under one millisecond, the capability of delivering a 1 Gbps downlink to start and multi-gigabit downlink in the future, and improved energy efficiency to improve battery life and reduce power drain across the grid.

The Aim of 5G

5G aims to improve integration of technology and the Internet of Things, as highlighted by Ericsson’s CEO, Hans Vestberg. This means having localized networks that are service-aware, and can prioritize situation and connection based on the urgency of a device – changing latency and connection speed to meet specific needs.

As mentioned above, improving the efficiency is a major aim as well, as data communication uses a great deal of power. Being able to reduce pings when data is not necessary, or increase them at peak usage, can make new technology only use large amounts of power when necessary. This reduces the hassle on consumers of constant recharging, and can reduce the cost of use over the life of a device.

Also, 5G systems will tend to be much more localized than the current 4G systems.  This means that instead of the hulking wireless towers you see, or the towers disguised as “Frankentrees” in order to make them “blend” into the background for 3G and 4G systems,  the 5G systems will consist of many more “mini-cells”,  some of which could be the size of a current at-home router and located at various points around the neighborhood or countryside.  This will greatly increase the coverage, and reduce the unsightly presence of large scale cellular installations.  Also, it will increase amount of data that a system as a whole will handle by paring down the amount that each individual point will need to handle.

Once fully implemented, it is likely that true 5G systems could replace hardwired telephony, hardwired cable TV, and hardwired internet service.  AT&T, for instance, is exploring the potential to use 5G systems  to replace all of its DSL services, allowing them to offer a complete package of TV service, 5G internet, wireless, and home phone services.  5G implementation would also allow carriers to offer “true” unlimited data plans to their home customers.

Potential Timeline and Problems Facing 5G

Still in its trial period, 5G wireless certainly appears to be a few years off. Even optimists are expecting that initial specs will be completed by late 2018, with Phase 2 specs completed in 2020. That being said, AT&T has made the bold move of announcing rollout of 5G technology in Austin and Indianapolis by the end of 2017.

What this means for tech companies and consumers is the potential for better communication and automation. Of course, the big hurdle that 5G faces is adoption – the cost to upgrade will be substantial at the beginning and, if it is anything like 4G, the time from inception to commercial use could be 5-6 years.

Design Challenges For 5G Base Stations And The Future

Because the base station systems will be shrunken in size and spread around in higher numbers, in addition to operating in a broader spectrum of high and low frequencies, there are numerous challenges for the enclosure design engineer to overcome.  Many, if not most, of the systems will be located outdoors, and must provide robust moisture sealing and EMI shielding in a small package.  Because of their proliferation, the systems must provide performance with low maintenance and low cost.  These requirements make these systems ideal applications for our Ultra-Vanshield and Microbridge shielding gaskets.

We’re excited to continue our involvement in the telecommunications industry in the “5G future” with our unique capabilities, and look forward to expanding our work with them in the future.

Posted on: April 25th, 2017 | Posted in: Ultra-Vanshield Dual Elastomer Shielding Gaskets