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

Vanguard Products Achieves ISO 9001:2015 Status

Since its inception and implementation in 1992, the ISO 9000 standard has been the most globally recognized and utilized quality standard. ( History And Improvements Of ISO 9000) The standard has had many evolutions since its beginnings as the BS 2570 standard, but the overall goal has been consistent:  to ensure the quality of an end product by establishing institutional preventative actions and requiring documented procedures for the production of the product.

 

Even though Vanguard Products had been utilizing these principals for decades in the production of our products, we realized early on that formal impartial third party recognition to the ISO 9001 standard was important to illustrate our commitment and history of producing quality, consistent products.  As a result, we have achieved and consistently maintained our ISO certification for over 10 years.

 

Updated ISO Certification

ISO 9001-2015 Certification

Recently, a new version of the standard has been implemented that adapts the specification to the changing new manufacturing environments which are driven by the complex supply chains, global competition and economies, and instantaneous information access.  These requirements are detailed in the new ISO 9001:2015 standard, and include:

 

  • The establishment of robust management systems
  • Increased top level management involvement and alignment of quality strategies with the overall business strategies
  • Implementation of a risk based quality management system to act as a preventative tool and provide opportunities for continuous improvement

 

These new attributes allow potential customers to be confident that an ISO 9001:2015 certified company has performed the necessary due diligence to service their needs on a quality, timely, consistent, and long term basis.

 

As we move past our 50th Anniversary year into the future, we at Vanguard have quickly embraced this new standard and are pleased to announce that we are one of the early manufacturers to incorporate these philosophies into our quality management system and to achieve ISO 9001:2015 certified status.  View our ISO 9001:2015 Certification

 

We look forward to applying our consistent quality philosophy to your engineered elastomeric needs in both our general rubber and EMI shielding products.

Posted on: February 21st, 2017 | Posted in: ISO Certification

Understanding the Importance of EMI Shielding in Medical Devices

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) are disturbances generated internally or externally that affect electrical circuits through induction.  They can affect all types of electrical equipment and can come from both natural and man-made sources. The disturbance can cause equipment to malfunction or even stop working.

In everyday life, EMI isn’t a problem that requires us to be all that concerned, as a large number of consumer electronic products are well designed for minimization of the effects of EMI.

Medical devices can be a different case, however.  Historically, these types of devices are difficult to shield from EMI, and the companies that are producing these products have had great difficulty satisfying both the FDA and FCC with respect to EMI issues.  When medical devices are affected, it can be damaging and even life threatening. For example, a ventilator can change breathing rate causing a patient distress due to EMI. Things as simple as cell phones, solar magnetic storms, thunder storms, and even ignition systems can cause problems with EMI. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged the problem and sought to find solutions as well as informing the public about the problems associated with EMI in medical instruments.

The good news is that shielding can help protect sensitive devices from EMI. While this is a good idea for any type of electrical equipment, it is imperative for high-tech devices that are used in medical scenarios such as hospitals and laboratories. Vanguard Products Corporation manufactures EMI shielding products and general rubber products to help with EMI concerns.

Vanguard’s EMI shielding products are used to reduce EMI exposure to electronics and equipment in conjunction with proper enclosure design. Applications currently include blood analyzers, DNA analyzers, and other laboratory type of equipment.

Visit us at the 2017 MDM West/Electronics West/Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show, booth 3378 at the Anaheim Convention Center from February 7-9 to see how we can help minimize EMI shielding issues in your medical electronics.  http://www.vanguardproducts.com/whats-new.html

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 | Posted in: EMI Shielding Gaskets, Medical Devices

Wrapping Up 2016 with a 50th Anniversary Celebration

2016 was a milestone year in many ways, and for us, it marked 50 successful years in business. For half a century now, we’ve been providing full service manufacturing and engineering services to industries as diverse as electronics, construction, food and beverage production, and more. Over the years our capabilities have grown, and our commitment to quality has never wavered.

From the humble beginnings in the family basement in the 60’s to our sophisticated manufacturing today, it is interesting to look back at some of the things that our company has been involved in over the years.

In the last 50 years, Vanguard has:

  • Worked with our customers to bring air conditioning, lighting, and electricity to the world
  • Brought quality coffee, wrinkle free clothes and various other innovations to the marketplace through our work in the small appliance industry
  • Helped advanced the defense of the US with our work with the military and military contractors, including work on Marine 1, the President’s helicopter
  • Aided in the exploration and commercialization of space travel with our work on the International Space Station and the various commercial launch companies. We’ve also been involved in the pursuit of the next frontier–Mars
  • In the medical arena, we’ve worked with our customers to develop implements for cranial surgery, provided products for various surgical implements to decrease recovery time, helped develop products that allow children with respiratory ailments and paralyzed patients to breathe easier, and provided cutting edge products that allow children and adults with severe diabetes to lead more normal lives. Additionally, we’ve done substantial work in the medical analytical field from blood to DNA analysis.  We’ve also provided numerous products to our customers in the dental and vision care industries to improve safety
  • Manufactured products used by our customers to aid the booming cellular and computer industries
  • Worked with our customers in the green energy fields in the development of efficient solar power systems and electric vehicles
  • Added style to the fashion industry and theater through our work on Broadway sets and fashion jewelry
  • Provided key products to allow clean water to be brought throughout the world
  • Supported farming through our work with suppliers to the agricultural and dairy industries
  • Helped the hobbyists around the world in their leisure time endeavors, from RC cars and planes, to hunting and fishing, to canoeing and paddleboarding, to beer making and virtual reality gaming
  • Along with our customers, developed new innovative products for the food services industry

 

At Vanguard, though it is good to look back, we are always focusing forward. In the next year, we will be pursuing our ISO-9001/2015 certification, and looking to new markets and applications. We are looking forward to what the next 50 years will bring!

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Keeping Up with REACH Restrictions in the Chemical and Material Sector

Across the globe, regulations continue to change to meet the growing need for safety in the chemical and material market. The European Union, through its European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), has adopted the REACH regulation, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Though REACH came into being back in 2007, regulations have continued to evolve as more chemical research and information becomes available. If a substance’s risk is deemed unmanageable, it can be banned.

Chemicals LabelFor manufacturers, importers, and downstream users in the European Union, the burden is on these companies to ensure the products they are working with or handling follow REACH guidelines. There are a couple of categories to be especially mindful of – Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), and Substitute it Now (SIN). SVHCs include carcinogens and mutagens, and  toxic bioaccumulative agents. Over the years, the list of SVHCs has grown from about a dozen original chemicals to include 163 different substances, most of which are found in shrink boot adapters, backshells, resistor fixed single-surface mounts, and other products.

The SIN list includes a staggering 830 substances that are commonly found in resistors, power management products, wires and cables, rubber and plastics, and many EMI shielding gaskets. All together, we can expect to see about 1,000 substances on the REACH substance list in the coming years.  Inclusion on the SIN list indicates that ECHA has determined that these materials may be harmful, and it is, more or less, their warning to designers to try and avoid the inclusion of these materials in their product, as it is likely that they may be moved to the SVHC list at some point in the future.

In addition to REACH regulations, the EU mandates that all electrical products meet RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) regulations. Notably, this restriction limits the amount of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium in electronic devices.

Therefore, it’s important for manufacturers to select materials that comply with REACH and RoHS regulations. Even if the manufacturers themselves are not in the European Union, it’s important to consider the needs of potential customers around the world during product development.

At Vanguard Products, we take great pains to insure that products in both our EMI shielding gaskets and in our general rubber goods are fully compliant with the current SVHC and RoHS restrictions.  We also have a vision toward the future by limiting our use of substances that are on the SIN list, as they are highly likely to be restricted at some point in the near future, causing our customers potential issues and expensive requalification.

For example, Nickel/Graphite has been promoted extensively in the EMI/RFI shielding community for use in electronics products.   With an eye to the future, we have avoided using this type of material in our Ultra-Vanshield product line, as it would appear to be targeted in the near future by ECHA for reduction or exclusion, as numerous nickel compounds are currently on the SIN list.

In many tubing applications, “rubbery” plastics, such as PVC, commonly need to include significant amounts of plasticizers that have been included on the SVHC listing in order to achieve their rubber-like feel.  These plasticizers can be dangerous as they can leach into the fluid flowing within the tubes.  Our Vansil and Vanprosil  silicone products do not need to include these plasticizers, and as such, are more easily compliant to the SVHC regulations.

The bottom line is that when choosing materials and specifying products, it is important to keep in mind not only the current restrictions, but what the future holds.  Selecting Vanguard Products for either rubber applications or EMI shielding applications makes that task much easier.

Posted on: November 2nd, 2016 | Posted in: REACH Regulations