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Click on the following bookmarks for further details of an Enclosure Feature Definition:

The Enclosure
Access Panels
Panel Mounting Components
Conductor Interfaces

The Enclosure

    Two enclosure (or cabinet) styles are available - a basic rectangular shape, and an alternative with a sloping front. The enclosure material is selected from a pull-down list, as is the surface finish, if any. These are important parameters, as they automatically add information about the conductivity and permeability to the project file.

Cab_def.gif (8659 bytes)

The materials properties can be viewed by clicking the Properties button:

Cab_mats.gif (5169 bytes)

The details of the enclosure seams, or interfaces between each enclosure face are also completed during definition of the enclosure. Clicking on the Cabinet Seams button produces the Cabinet Seams form:

Cab_seam.gif (7573 bytes)

    The definition of the seams is important, as these can be major sources of electromagnetic field leakage. If the seam is solid, or if the two faces are gasketed, there is little or no leakage. However, if the seam consists of two metal surfaces fastened together by screws, the narrow slot between the two faces, between each pair of screws acts as an aperture, producing leakage. This is taken into account during the Audit stage, along with the maximum distance between fasteners, which determines the frequency where leakage can become a problem.


    Most enclosures contain a variety of apertures, to allow for example for the passage of cooling air, to allow displays to be viewed, and for access to insertable items such as magnetic disks. These will have a much greater effect on the enclosure emc performance than the basic enclosure material itself. The amount of attenuation an aperture offers at a particular frequency decreases as its size increases, and the Auditor program makes use of a standard working design expression that predicts a linear decrease in attenuation with log(frequency), until no attenuation is provided when the wavelength is equal to, or greater than twice, the largest aperture dimension. This expression will approximate real conditions, but will not be exact, as the transmission of a particular aperture will be a complex combination of source size, orientation and distance.

    The Rectangular Aperture definition form is accessed from the Definitions menu, and is shown below. (A separate but similar form is used for Circular Apertures for clarity).

Rect_ap.gif (9281 bytes)

Arrays of apertures such as a series of cooling holes can be defined as a single object. An array of holes on a pitch of less than half a wavelength reduces the attenuation offered by a single hole by 10 x log(Number of Holes).

Aperture Shielding Devices

    The Aperture definitions form also allows a shielding component to be fitted to the aperture, such as a mesh shielding window, or a honeycomb panel for a cooling vent. The Audit process can then take into account the shielding characteristics of the additional shielding component.

    The following components can be added to an aperture:

a) Mesh Display Window or Coated Display Window
    Shielded windows utilise either a fine wire mesh encapsulated between plastic sheets, or a tin oxide conductive coating. In both cases a ground connection must be made all the way round the edge of the window. Shielded windows cause some reduction in the visual quality of the display, with coated windows providing less reduction but also less shielding.

b) Honeycomb Panel
    Honeycomb panels consist of an array of diamond shaped tubes, assembled into a panel. Each tube acts as a waveguide structure, which does not allow the passage of an electromagnetic field below a cut-off frequency, determined by its dimensions. The assembly of tubes allows reasonably unrestricted pasage of air. As with the display window, the panel must be adequately grounded all the way round its periphery. Note also that the attenuation can vary with orientation of the field to the panel; two layer panels with cross-oriented honeycombs are available to offer increased attenuation.

c) Single Waveguide Structure
    If the depth of the aperture is small compared to the width or height of the aperture, it behaves as an open aperture. This will normally be the case for enclosures made from sheet metal. However if the depth of the aperture is greater than the width AND the height, improved attenuation will be obtained at some frequencies, as the aperture behaves as a waveguide structure.

d) Display with Internal Shield
    An opening for a display can be shielded by providing an internal grounded shield or bulkhead around the display. Clicking on the dB Level button produces a form which explains this, and allows the user to specifiy whether the display wires are filtered.
    Clicking on the dBLevel button when a Coated Window, Mesh Window or Honeycomb Panel is selected produces the Shielding Components Properties form, shown below:

Rect_win.gif (10493 bytes)

    Several example Shielding Components files are provided, of mesh display windows (*mdw), coated display windows (*.cdw) and a honeycomb panel (*.hcp) . These are accessed by the form's File Open menu.  The user can also define shielding components.

Access Panels

    The Auditor examines apertures which are covered by a panel as a separate topic. The narrow slots formed at the edge of a panel are easily disregarded when making an emc assessment, but can be one of the more significant sources of field leakage. Depending on how an access panel is grounded around its edges to the enclosure itself, it can act in one of several ways.

    If it is metallic, but totally ungrounded (isolated by a painted surface for example), its shielding effectiveness will be severely restricted. If it is grounded at regular intervals around its edges by screws, the gaps between the fasteners will act as slot apertures, which will tend to leak electromagnetic radiation. The closer together the fasteners, the higher the frequency for a given leakage level. If an emi gasket is placed between the panel and the enclosure, a high level of shielding should be obtained.

    The panels definition form is shown below:

Acc_pan.gif (8244 bytes)

The panels sub-form, which collects details of the panel attachment method is shown below.

Pan_fix.gif (5223 bytes)

Panel Mounting Components

    Many enclosures incorporate a range of panel mounting components, such as indicator lamps and fuseholders. These are often quite small, and because they actually fill a hole in a panel, are overlooked for emc purposes. Do they matter? It depends on the size of the mounting hole, and whether the component is metal and grounded. If the component does have a metal body which is long compared to its diameter, and which is grounded all around its periphery, then the aperture is effectively protected by a waveguide structure.

    However, if the component has a plastic body for example, the mounting hole represents an aperture. A 15mm mounting hole would provide just 20dB attenuation at 1000MHz. This is at the upper end of most emc assessments, but if an internal circuit was susceptible to this frequency, it would be of importance.

    The Panel Mounting Components form is shown below.

Pan_comp.gif (7435 bytes)

Conductor Interfaces

    Conductors entering and leaving an item of equipment penetrate the emi shield, and so should be considered when reviewing the shielding characteristics of a design. In addition, emi filtering measures should normally be carried out close to the enclosure wall, if not actually mounted at the wall.

Cond_int.gif (8668 bytes)

The Conductor Interfaces Form, where details of the cable shield termination type, the connector style, and whether emi suppression filters are used are recorded.

    An important feature of the interfaces definition is the ability to define the details of any emi suppression filters which may be fitted to conductors at an interface. The audit process then examines the noise sources which may have been identified, and assumes some coupling may occur between the noise sources and conductors connected to an interface. The insertion loss at the noise frequencies for the particular filter circuit is then calculated.


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