SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — Shielding for Electronics Inc. is rolling out a process for confining electromagnetic- and radio-frequency-interference emissions within portable electronic devices.
The firm thermoforms a sheet of flame-retardant ABS, PVC or polycarbonate into a substrate and vacuum-deposits thin layers of metal onto the film. The shield fits inside a device's plastic housing.
"Our challenge is to get people to understand this new technology and be able to design it into new products," Rocky Arnold, the firm's president and chief executive officer, said in an interview following his presentation to the Portable Design 2001 conference, held Jan. 29-31 in Santa Clara.
The technology, dubbed Form/Net, will compete against conductive paints and inks and vacuum metalizing.
Shielding for Electronics was incorporated in January 2000, is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and, by June or July, plans to establish design and prototyping functions nearby.
In May, the firm acquired a Mauston, Wis., manufacturing facility formerly known as Vacuum Platers Inc.
"We bought the company and a patent portfolio, and we've been remaking our operations in Mauston," Arnold said.
Arnold targets any portable product, including cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, Internet and Bluetooth wireless appliances, wireless local area networks, cable modems and set-top boxes.
Form/Met technology is used in Apple Computer Inc.'s wireless AirPort base station, which went into production in late 2000.
The Mauston facility employs 65 and had sales of about $4 million last year. As Form/Met demand increases, decorative plating work will be phased out.
Arnold aims to work with customers in a design cycle, produce prototypes in California within two weeks and transition jobs to Wisconsin for production.
In January, John Millis joined Shielding for Electronics as vice president of sales. Millis had been director of marketing and strategic planning with Trend Technologies Inc. of San Jose, Calif.