Newly Merged Molder Beefs Up EMI-RFI Shielding Operations

PSI Molded Plastics’ mechanized copper-paint line can handle large parts.

A significant expansion of its in-house electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI) shielding capabilities enables PSI Molded Plastics to reduce overall product cost for customers who find it advantageous to keep the entire process—from molding to finishing—under one roof.

The new 9000 ft2 paint facility was completed by GI Plastek in Wolfeboro, N.H., prior to its merger with its two sister injection molding companies—Precision Southeast Inc., and Plastics Solutions—into PSI Molded Plastics, all owned by publicly traded business-development company Gladstone Investment Corp.

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Rick Collopy, v.p. of sales & marketing, says the new painting and RFI shielding line is 50% larger than the firm’s previous line. “It has resulted in both a 40% increase in capacity and has increased capability with the addition of more booths,” explains Collopy. The $1-million investment has enabled the company to apply shielding to parts as large as up to 4 x 5 ft on a mechanized production paint line.

PSI applies a copper shielding emulsion onto plastic molded parts to eliminate EMI-RFI penetration that could disrupt sensitive components and circuits in electronic equipment and potentially throw off instrument calibration. The shielding is also used to eliminate emissions from healthcare instruments that could interfere with other patient-care equipment and affect patient safety. Collopy notes that the paint operation is used primarily for shielding of electronics of large laboratory and healthcare equipment. He estimates that the medical/healthcare/diagnostic equipment segment is about 25% of this injection molder’s business.

The expanded paint operation runs two shifts a day, five days a week, increasing throughput potential. The line has four drafted booths for priming, painting, coating and texturing operations, along with an in-line convection oven. PSIcan spray EMI a nd RFI shielding onto most substrates.

Collopy notes that copper-emulsion spray painting holds advantages over other forms of EMI/RFI shielding for plastics, particularly for shielding larger diagnostic and healthcare equipment.

Conductive spray-on material is a far more cost-effective option than large, heavy sheet-metal liners or enclosures. Spray-on shielding reduces the number of parts used on instruments, eliminating the cost of a box within a box and associated attachment parts. This in turn reduces overall product cost.

The PSI Molded Plastics merger, which includes manufacturing facilities in Wolfeboro, N.H.; South Bend, Ind.; and Myrtle Beach and Marion, S.C., has expanded the company’s presence into a variety of markets, including automotive, healthcare and diagnostics, appliances, materials handling, filtration, sports & leisure, industrial, and lawn & garden. PSI’s injection molding capabilities include gas assist, structural foam, and overmolding, along with in-house tooling.

In addition to supporting customers’ injection molded component requirements—from large parts to small, and from low to high volumes, the new organization also offers post-mold finishing, painting and decorating, and assembly capabilities, as well as automotive certifications.

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