It's no surprise that electronic enclosures and housings in aerospace and defense applications are built to meet the most stringent of military standards. These include but are not limited to environmental stresses, EMI shielding, and maintenance requirements. Additionally, the advanced technological requirements of the devices requiring these enclosures mean that these devices must be more rugged and more powerful, as well as smaller, lighter, and easier to replace.
This poses challenges for designers, leading them not only to suppliers who can meet these requirements but partners who can assist in the design and supply chain management of these complex units.
For environmentally-sealed and EMI-shielded electronics devices, there is no better full-system solution than an overmolded or vulcanized cover.
So, what is overmolding/vulcanizing/mold-in-place gasket anyway?
Top 6 benefits of overmolded covers with conductive elastomers
- Integration and permanent adhesion - Overmolded gaskets are integrated directly into an enclosure and permanently bonded onto to the housing. This adds a significant level of durability and means that the gasket will not experience wear as quickly as traditional gasketing in field operation.
- Simplification of assembly - Because the gasket is already directly bonded onto the housing, there is no additional assembly needed. This means no more having to place a gasket in a groove or requiring an attachment method such as rivets or pressure sensitive adhesive.
- Ease of maintenance and repair - Especially true in shipboard avionics, overmolded gaskets provide the benefit of minimizing maintenance procedure. There is no risk of forgetting to reinstall gaskets during disassembly and reassembly.
- Tighter tolerance controls - Molding uses a precise process and tolerance-controlled tools meaning the gasket can meet tolerance controls of just a few thousandths of an inch.
- Smaller form factors and custom geometries - With the tight tolerance controls of overmolded covers comes the ability to mold smaller form factors that will optimize sealing of covers and enclosures. The custom geometries mean that design factors such as closure force and sealing path are perfectly accounted for.
- Consolidated supply chain - With the gasket provided directly on the cover, there is no need to work with multiple suppliers, each completing a small part of the assembly. Overmolded covers can be directly supplied in a ready-to-use form.
With more than 40 years of experience in overmolding, the Process Engineering team at Parker Chomerics can assist with full system enclosure design that takes into consideration such factors as ideal surface finish and groove dimensions to meet customer-driven requirements. We will work with customers to determine whether overmolding is the best solution and feasible based on all necessary specifications.
Supply chain partnership
As devices become more complex, so do the associated supply chains. An electronic enclosure can quickly pick up more than 5 or 6 individual suppliers, each needing to meet various requirements of military standards. In addition to the difficulties of sourcing the best suppliers, a complicated web of interdependent timelines starts to appear. This is where Chomerics can provide significant support and logistical relief. Parker has an extensive network of first-class suppliers and can also work with customer-approved suppliers to manage a project from start to finish. Services offered can include: overmolding, machining, painting, dip brazing, embedded fasteners, part marking, etching, and custom packaging.
Overmolded covers provide countless benefits for customers looking for the best solution to durable and reliable EMI shielded, environmentally sealed housings while minimizing a complicated system of suppliers.
This blog post was contributed by Ben Nudelman, market development engineer, Chomerics Division.