Shielding Market Expected to Grow Despite Challenges

Demand for electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI) shielding options in the United States was estimated at $523 million in 2002 and is expected to reach almost $630 million by 2008, according to a soon-to-be-released report, RGB-066Y EMI: Materials and Technologies, from Business Communications Company, Inc.

05/01/2003


Demand for electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI) shielding options in the United States was estimated at $523 million in 2002 and is expected to reach almost $630 million by 2008, according to a soon-to-be-released report, RGB-066Y EMI: Materials and Technologies, from Business Communications Company, Inc.

These options are intended to shield electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and are considered a "band-aid" phenomenon, as they add no value to the products they protect.

Major shielding options include metal cabinets, conductive coatings, conductive plastics and elastomers, laminates and tapes, and several other materials, such as gaskets, metal sheeting, wire mesh, windows and connectors.

Despite the proliferation of new electronic technologies, such as laptop computers and wireless, hand-held devices, very few new shielding technologies have emerged, and enhancements to older technologies have also been few. However, the industry has seen some significant changes, particularly in the level of shielding required, the number of new applications requiring shielding, the restructuring of industry participants, and the disparity in growth rates among shielding options.

When measuring the growth of each of the above shielding areas by overall coverage in sq. ft., the least expensive option—metal cabinets—showed a slight increase and conductive coatings showed a slight decrease.

There are several issues currently confronting the EMI market. Among them are increasing cost pressures due to the economy, specifically the telecommunications sector; the environmental issue of metal disposal, which specifically affects conductive coating; increasing frequencies driven by higher chip speeds, which traditional shielding options don't perform as well with as lower frequencies; and the long-term potential of fiber options, which could render EMI shielding irrelevant.





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