A Beginner's Guide To EMC Testing

A Beginner’s Guide To EMC Testing

There seems to be a lot of talk about EMC testing these days.

If you are in an industry which designs and develops products, goods or devices there is every chance that the matter is very much at the forefront of your mind.

However, knowing that you need to have your products EMC tested and understanding what on earth it is all about are two very different things altogether.

You will be glad to know that the basic ins and outs of EMC testing are actually quite easy to understand, as is the process that you need to follow.

Based on this, let’s take a deeper look into EMC testing:

What Is EMC Testing?
How Do I Determine The Type Of Tests That I Need?
What Is A Pre-Compliance Test?
Tips For On The Day

What Is EMC Testing?

Let’s keep things nice and simple. EMC testing, otherwise fully known as Electromagnetic Compatability testing, is a test to see how electrical and electronic equipment interacts with its electromagnetic environment.

It will show the effect that the piece of equipment has on other products which are within a set distance.

Keep in mind that all electronic devices do have the potential to emit electromagnetic fields.

How Do I Determine The Type Of Tests That I Need?

This is unlikely to be something that you will be able to do yourself unless you happen to be an expert in EMC testing (in which case we would have to wonder why you are reading this beginner’s guide!)

However, the right EMC testing company will be able to assist you professionally and efficiently.

What Is A Pre-Compliance Test?

Once you have found a reputable EMC testing company to assist you in identifying the types of testing you need to be carried out, they may offer a pre-compliance test. What is this?

A pre-compliance test will most likely last half a day to one full day and will identify any clear failures or significant areas that need to be addressed.

Whilst this will, of course, be an extra cost, it can actually save you money in the long run.

This us because it gives you the chance to rectify issues or even go back to the drawing board before committing to the full set of EMC tests you need.

Tips For On The Day

Once the scheduled date for the EMC testing comes around there are a few things that you can do to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

After all, you don’t want things to fall at the final hurdle! The following tips should help you to avoid any unnecessary pitfalls:

Bring a few spare units along with you, sometimes EMC testing can lead to equipment issues, even destruction!

Ensure that all units that you bring along are fully charged and in tip-top condition.

Ensure that the general working and operating condition of the unit is clear and simple to those doing the tests.

Make sure that you have a few spare fuses handy in case they are needed.

Make sure that you have the ‘final build’ with you, if you make any major changes in the future you will have to have re-testing carried out.

The Bottom Line On EMC Testing

EMC testing is a vital part of electronic product design.

It may seem a little complex on the surface, however, as we have very clearly seen, understanding the basics of EMC testing doesn’t need to be rocket science.

As for the more complicated parts of the process, that’s what you are paying the experts for!

If you would like to know more about the EMC standards and product testing or need EMC testing done, then look no further than Compliance Engineering.

We are the definitive source for all of your Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements.

Please call us today on + 61 3 9763 3079 or get an online quote

The History of EMC Compliance Testing

The History of EMC Compliance Testing

Do you view EMC testing as a relatively new requirement? Perhaps you have always presumed that it has a short history, starting only in recent times.

If that’s the case, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

EMC understanding and testing goes back a lot further than you may realize, in fact, it has a rather rich history.

Let’s take a look in more detail at the topic by addressing the following areas:

Observance Of Electromagnetic Interference
Legislation Started To Reflect Early EMC Testing
The Increase In Electronic Devices Prompted Development In EMC Testing
The Role Of The IEC In Early EMC Testing
New Technology Meant New Ways Of Carrying Out EMC Testing
What EMC Testing Looks Like Today
What The Future Of EMC Testing Looks Like

Observance Of Electromagnetic Interference

Since the time that humans started to make use of electricity, the fact that electronic interference exists was observed.

In fact, not only was it observed but as early at the end of the 19th century, very basic forms of EMC compliance testing was already in place.

Take, for instance, the design of lightning rods for houses, as well as the design of circuit breakers.

These devices date back to the 1870s and came about as an awareness of EM radiation pulses and their effect became evident.

Legislation Started To Reflect Early EMC Testing

In 1892, within the German Empire, the Law of the Telegraph came about.

The Law arose from an understanding that a negative impact could be created by power lines on how telegraph cables worked.

The Increase In Electronic Devices Prompted Development In EMC Testing

Of course, early EMC testing was mostly related to the industry.

However, as people started to welcome electronics into their homes it soon became clear that electronic interference could be a real issue.

The Role Of The IEC In Early EMC Testing

In 1906, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was founded and soon became recognised worldwide as the advocate for EMC testing.

New Technology Meant New Ways Of Carrying Out EMC Testing

The world has changed a lot within the past century, particularly in the area of electronics and technology.

The development of municipal power grids, an increase in car use and the general way that consumers use electricity has meant that the world of EMC testing, as well as equipment for EMC testing, has had to work hard to keep up.

As the market continued to change, the way that EMC testing was carried out had to adapt to ensure that all new gadgets that were at peoples’ disposal were safe for use.

What EMC Testing Looks Like Today

Following this rich history, EMC testing has now maintained a vital place in the development of electrical products.

In fact, as we now know if a device does not meet the necessary requirements and standards the manufacturers must deal with the risk.

Hence many organisations now exist that are skilled and experienced in carrying out a variety of EMC tests, depending on the product or device in question.

What The Future Of EMC Testing Looks Like

These days we are seeing the world of electronics changing at an electrifying pace.

We are living in a time when innovation and product design are both exciting and fast-moving.

Hence we can expect that as our world of technology evolves so will the regulations and standards for EMC testing.

Clearly, there is a strong demand for continued learning and development within the field of EMC testing to meet the many challenges that come with ensuring that new products are safe and reliable for consumer use.

If you would like to know more about the EMC standards and product testing or need EMC testing done, then look no further than Compliance Engineering.

We are the definitive source for all of your Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements.

Please call us today on + 61 3 9763 3079 or fill out a quote form

EMC Standards

What are EMC Record-Keeping Standards

If you make electronic or electrical products then you are obliged to ensure that they are EMC compliant.

The electromagnetic compatibility regulatory arrangements determine the standards that products must meet, and also layout how products should be labelled, as well as the records that must be kept.

The rules can be confusing, but there is clear guidance for how companies should manage their products and their records to ensure that they are not only operating in compliance with the standards but that they can demonstrate that they are compliant if they are called upon to do so.

The EMC record-keeping requirements exist to ensure that buyers, both domestic and commercial, know what they are getting, that it is safe and meets the EMC standards. The records should:

Accurately identify the product
Indicate the standards that the product complies with
Confirm that, to the manufacturer’s knowledge, all equivalent products comply with that standard

The type of compliance records that should be used depends on the type of device.

Very low-risk devices do not need to be labelled, but most devices should have a Declaration of Conformity on them so that it is easy to see that they do indeed meet the standards.

Other required records include:

A description of the product that has been tested
A copy of the agreement between the supplier and the agent
Test reports which confirm that the product, as supplied, complies with the EMC standard in question
Technical information
Written statements explaining any issues, e.g. if a product cannot be labelled there should be an explanation as to why

There are a number of templates that can help companies with these records.

For example, form CO2 is a template for a DoC which serves as a good base for those who are not sure what to include in their declaration and provides clear examples[3].

Any information about the product must be clear and state the exact model number of the product.

For devices that have software or firmware which may affect their functioning, it is important that you provide information about the version number of the software/firmware that was tested.

If any changes are made to the software or firmware which might alter the device’s compliance with the EMC standards then that new version must be tested so that the device can continue to be marked as compliant.

Devices are divided into the categories of low risk, medium risk and high risk. The requirements become more stringent as the risk factor becomes higher.

Low-risk devices simply need a description and, where possible, a label.

The regulators appreciate that not all products are easy to label, but very low-risk devices do not always need it.

For medium-risk devices, the manufacturer is required to obtain a copy of a test report which confirms that the device is compliant.

High-risk devices have the most stringent requirements.
Manufacturers must have their device tested by an accredited testing agency, and obtain a properly accredited report, or a technical construction file.

Manufacturers are required to be able to submit copies of their compliance information within ten days after it is requested in an inspection.

If it is decided that the documentation provided is not sufficient to prove conformity, then the manufacturer may be asked to submit a device for separate testing at an accredited laboratory.

This is unlikely to be requested for lower-risk devices, but it is something that the manufacturer should be prepared to do, just in case the ACMA decides that it is necessary for one of their devices.

If you would like to know more about the EMC standards and product testing or need EMC testing done, then look no further than Compliance Engineering.

We are the definitive source for all of your Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements.

Please call us today on + 61 3 9763 3079 or our online form

Sources

[2] https://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Suppliers/Regulatory-arrangements/EMC-Electromagnetic-compatibility/emc-record-keeping-requirements
[3] https://www.acma.gov.au/-/media/Technical-Regulation-Development/Form/Word-Document/C02–Suppliers-declaration-of-conformity-Final-100215-doc.doc?la=en

EMC Testing & Legislation

Your Go-To Guide To EMC Standards And Legislation

Companies often need to be more diligent when considering introducing new products that require electrical testing for compliance & getting a deeper understanding of EMC testing and how this will save you time and money with your go to market plans.

The fact that you are here reading this page means that you are considering EMC testing.

Perhaps you have a new product which needs to meet the current standards and legislation or you may just be curious about how the whole system works.

Whatever the case, we have prepared a simple and concise guide to EMC standards and legislation to avoid the risk of the topic becoming too complex or overwhelming.

Let’s break the topic down into a few vital elements:

What Do We Mean By EMC Standards?
Why Do I Need To Comply With EMC Standards?
What Are The Basics Of EMC Legislation?

What Do We Mean By EMC Standards?

The design and development of a new device are key areas to the manufacturer.

However, before they are able to put their new product on the market for sale to consumers they must ensure that it complies with EMC standards.

These standards need to be complied with during the development, the design, and the manufacturer of the product.

EMC Standards relate to the frequency range and limit radiation which is not necessary.

This, in turn, stops the risk of broadcasting and telecommunication devices being interfered with.

Why Do I Need To Comply With EMC Standards?

The importance of EMC Standards being complied with is clear by taking one example of frequency range.

EMC standards play a key role in adjusting the frequency range assignment so that essential services such as police radio, as well as TV broadcasting, are able to operate smoothly and without any issues.

In addition, EMC standards ensure that devices are not damaged by things such as static electricity and lightning surges.

In the absence of EMC standards, we can only imagine the negative impacts and effects that the use of electronic and electrical devices would have and the serious health and safety risks that would arise.

What Are The Basics Of EMC Legislation?

EMC Law is rather complex and often interconnects with other legislation.

However, to keep things simple, we can say that for any electrical device to obtain CE certification it must comply with the EMC Directive.

While the laws on EMC testing has evolved in recent times, it is useful to note that a new EMC Directive (2004/108/EC) has become the UK’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006.

There exists one main way for a product to receive CE certification. A sample of the product is submitted to a lab which is recognised for EMC testing.

The lab carries out a number of tests and provides either proof of EMC compliance or shows areas where the manufacturer needs to make modifications and changes before resubmitting the product to be re-tested.

Once a product has been proven to meet EMC standards it will be provided with a Declaration Of Conformity.

This document is included with the product, sometimes as part of the instruction manual and other times as a separate leaflet.

The Declaration of Conformity is a formal declaration that a product meets all safety directives where they apply to the particular product.

As we can see, the world of EMC standard and legislation is quite complex.

However, understanding the basics of what EMC standards are, why they are important and the basic legislation does not need to be rocket science.

We hope that the clear and concise outline we have provided above has given you insight into what is involved in this essential part of product design and manufacture.

If you would like to know more about the EMC standards and product testing or need EMC testing done, then look no further than Compliance Engineering.

We are the definitive source for all of your Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements.

Please call us today on + 61 3 9763 3079 or complete our online form