Wire specialist National-Standard Co. of Niles, Mich., has licensed an alternative electronic-shielding technology to a Nicholas Plastics Inc. unit and is negotiating with two other polymer processors. GridShield wire mesh can protect small electronic devices from the interference of electro-magnetic or radio-frequency waves. Markets include automotive components, controls and small motors, cellular telephone housings, computer-related laptop cases, charger units and portable medical devices.
The wire mesh has special properties that make it compatible with insert molding, said Keith Stahl, National-Standard's director of new business development and head of the newly formed GridShield products group.
"Our product comes out of the press complete and has much more integrity than a painted or plated part," he said in a telephone interview.
Stahl claimed GridShield is 10-20 percent less expensive than most sheet metal or die- cast shielding and perhaps 30 percent cheaper than conductive painting or plating.
Paul Burton of Grand Rapids, Mich., developed the concept using National-Standard's nickel-coated, carbon-steel wire mesh. Extending the mesh over a grid can eliminate a need for gasketing material. National-Standard has five patent applications pending.
National-Standard licensed Nicholas' N-K Manufacturing Technologies Inc. subsidiary in January and could add another licensee by April, Stahl said. A licensee buys National-Standard's mesh and pays an upfront fee and a royalty based on shielding area.
N-K is making samples and prototype parts and marketing the technology for insert molded units shielding electronic and step motors, cell phones, pagers and personal digital assistants, said Armen Kassouni, vice president of engineering with N-K in Grand Rapids. N-K employs 92, occupies 75,000 square feet and operates six vertical injection molding presses of 90-450 tons and nine horizontal machines of 50-825 tons.
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