EMC requirements for electrical goods

Understanding the EMC Requirements for Australia and New Zealand

Do you understand the EMC requirements for electrical goods manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand? If the answer is no, then you need to understand the electromagnetic compliance (EMC) standards. Not sure what this means? Then please continue reading.

The EMC requirements are quite complex, and there are slightly different standards for different parts of the world.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority are in charge of regulating the EMC standards for Australia and those requirements are available as a detailed list known as the AMCA Standards.

These standards are very similar, and indeed in places identical, to the European standards.

What Do Manufacturers Need to Know

For the most part, if a manufacturer produces products which meet the ACMA standards, then that is sufficient for selling products not just in Australia and New Zealand but also in Europe.

It becomes a more complex issue if you want to export products to the United States, Japan or Canada, where the standards can be slightly different, or if you are looking to import products which were designed for other countries.

How EMC Testing Works

EMC testing is intended to ensure that products do not put out too much electromagnetic interference and that if interference is caused by another product, that they ‘accept’ that interference in a safe way.

All electrical products will produce a small amount of interference because of the way that electricity works.

A product that is well designed will produce very little interference, however, and will also be shielded to stop the interference causing problems with other products.

Australian EMC regulations have strict standards for how products should behave, and require that products are tested in an accredited laboratory.

Once the tests are completed then a Declaration of Conformity is produced which will show that the product complies with all applicable standards.

The manufacturer is required to register the product to a national database of accredited/compliant products and also apply a compliance label either to the product itself, to the packaging, or both, depending on the size, power, and nature of the product.

The challenge for manufacturers is making sure that their products meet the correct standards.

There are a lot of different standards, designed for different types of product, and figuring out which ones a specific product should meet can be confusing.

That’s why it is best to consult an accredited EMC testing laboratory when designing your products. They can advise you on what design standards you should be working towards.

Testing covers a few specific classes:

  • Emissions
  • Susceptibility
  • Coupling

Emissions relate to how electromagnetic energy is generated by a product and released into the environment.

Meanwhile, susceptibility relates to how a product might malfunction and how such malfunctions might result in unintended operation. Coupling relates to the way that interference might reach a victim.

The most common EMC test which is used in all countries is the Radiated Emissions Test. This measures the electromagnetic field which is emitted by a product.

These emissions can cause interference to a number of electrical systems, including navigation systems and the landing guidance systems for aircraft.

Because of the risk of such interference causing serious faults, it is vital that all consumer goods on the market pass EMC regulations and do not produce strong-enough emissions to cause problems with sensitive systems.

Indeed, it is the risk of EMC issues which is what leads to airlines asking passengers to switch off all handheld or portable devices.

While it is unlikely that a device would cause interference, the risk is there, especially if a device is malfunctioning.

EMC testing confirms whether a device is generally safe, and also looks at edge-cases, such as how severe interference could be in the event of a malfunction.

If you are unsure whether your product needs to be labelled, or if it meets the EMC requirements at all, then you should seek professional advice to ensure that you are correctly complying with Australian regulations.

At Compliance Engineering, we offer EMC certification and advice and can help with labelling requirements as well as the standards for international certification.

Whether you are working on small, low-risk products or communication technology, we can help you to ensure that your products are fully compliant and that they are ready to be sold in Australia or around the world.

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 contact us here.

EMC Labelling Requirements

What are the EMC Labelling Requirements in Australia

If you are an electronics manufacturer, do you fully understand the labelling requirements for your products in Australia? If not, then you need to read below to learn more.

The EMC labelling requirements are the requirements set out by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The requirements specify how products should be tested and labelled, and also the records that a supplier is required to keep relating to a product and its compliance with EMC standards.

Do You Need to Register as a Supplier?

The EMC requirements can be quite confusing. Before a supplier can put a label on a product, they must register themselves on the national database so that they are listed as a ‘responsible supplier’.

Labelling is not always mandatory. Some devices are classed as being low risk, and in that instance, a label is not required. However, even low-risk devices are required to meet certain standards.

What Are the EMC Standards?

The EMC standards are laid out on the ACMA website. These are the standards that are set by ACMA for products sold in Australia and New Zealand.

If you want to sell your products abroad then you will need to confirm that they are also compliant with other, international standards.

The standards used in Australia and New Zealand are very close to the ones used in the UK and Europe, so for most manufacturers, the only thing that would be required would be some additional tests to ensure all aspects of the international standards are covered.

There may be some regional differences, however, so it is a good idea to seek advice from a qualified test centre.

How Do You Prove Compliance?

If a product has passed EMC testing (electromagnetic compatibility) and is not considered to be a low-risk product, then it must be labelled. The ACMA requires that compliance labels are durable and are printed in a legible format at an appropriate size.

If the product has its own built-in display then the label can be displayed in an electronic form.

Products that were manufactured prior to the 1 March 2016 may bear a C-Tick compliance mark. The C-Tick mark was superseded by the RCM.

Any products which already carry a C-Tick may still be sold, and do not need to be relabelled. However, all new products should bear the RCM.

The compliance mark should be no smaller than 3mm in height and can be any colour as long as it contrasts with the background colour so that it is easy to read.

If the mark is stamped, moulded or engraved then the relief must be prominent enough to make the mark easy to read.

Electronic labelling is permitted for built-in displays (but not displays that are external to a product and must be connected separately).

If an electronic label is used then it should display the information prominently, for example during the power-up sequence, or in the help menu for the device.

The documentation which comes with the product should explain how to view the compliance information. In some cases, it may not be practical to apply a label to a product, perhaps because it is small in size.

In that case, the compliance information must appear both on the external surface of the product’s packaging, and also in the product’s documentation or warranty information.

Any label printed on a product’s packaging must occupy an area which is greater than 1% of the external surface of the package.

The manufacturer must also maintain records that explain why they have chosen not to label the surface of the product and should record the location of the label.

If you are unsure whether your product needs to be labelled, or if it meets the EMC requirements at all, then you should seek professional advice to ensure that you are correctly complying with Australian regulations.

At Compliance Engineering, we offer EMC certification and advice and can help with labelling requirements as well as the standards for international certification.

Whether you are working on small, low-risk products or communication technology, we can help you to ensure that your products are fully compliant and that they are ready to be sold in Australia or around the world.

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 contact us here.

Choosing EMC Test Lab

How to Choose a Good EMC Test Lab

How important is it to choose a top-quality EMC test lab? The consequences of getting it wrong can be catastrophic not just in terms of costs, but time. Read below for more detail.

If you make electronic or electrical products then you will need to ensure that your products comply with the EMC regulations and that they are correctly labelled also.

For small, low-risk products, the regulations are quite simple but if your product needs to be fully labelled and tested then you should work with a lab to certify it and to document the compliance testing that has been done.

The penalties for improper testing and labelling are quite severe.

This is because the EMC regulations exist to ensure that all electronic appliances are safe and that they will not interfere with essential services such as communications or medical devices.

For this reason, it’s important that you choose an EMC test lab that you can trust.

What to Look for in an EMC Test Lab

EMC testing is a complex field, and there are a number of different standards to worry about, as well as requirements for different products.

In addition, if you plan on selling a product abroad, not just in Australia, then you will need to make sure that in addition to the Australian standards, you also comply with the standards required for other countries.

This includes standards such as the CE mark, the EN Mark, or the FCC requirements. A good lab will do far more than just test your products.

There are some labs out there that will just push the buttons and tick the boxes to tell you whether your product has passed or failed.

Good labs will offer advice and guidance, especially when you’re getting tests done on a prototype so that they can give you advice beyond ‘use some chokes to cut down on interference’.

Depending on the products that you want to get certified, you may need a fairly sophisticated facility. Consider the following:

  • Does the lab have an open area test site?
  • Do they offer pre-compliance testing in a GTEM?
  • Do they have an ESD simulator that can provide high voltage for good testing?
  • What is the lead time on tests?
  • Can the lab certify products for sale internationally?
  • How much do the tests cost?

Shop Around for the Best Prices

Prices for EMC testing can vary massively. There are some Far East labs that are cheap, but the lead times can be incredibly long, and they don’t always have the tools required to perform the full battery of tests.

They may claim that they can offer all the tests you need, but if they are cobbling together tests on less than ideal equipment then you may face problems later on if your product is not fully compliant.

Using a more local lab will give you some peace of mind since you know that it is operating to Australian regulations, and you can be more confident in the standard of the equipment.

It doesn’t whether you’re looking for shock, ingress, impact, vibration, RF shielding or environmental testing, performing the testing in Australia gives you more peace of mind.

For newer products and prototypes, it is often worth paying a little extra for advice and recommendations as you go through the prototyping stage.

It’s better to pay one fee and pass first time, than to have your time to market delayed by doing tests and having to repeatedly go back to the drawing board, pay new fees, and modify the design at a later stage.

At Compliance Engineering, we offer EMC certification and advice and can help with labelling requirements as well as the standards for international certification.

Whether you are working on small, low-risk products or communication technology, we can help you to ensure that your products are fully compliant and that they are ready to be sold in Australia or around the world.

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 contact us here.

EMC Testing Requirements

EMC Testing Requirements You Should Know About

Do you know what Electromagnetic Compatibility standards are? Are you a manufacturer of electronic products? Then you need to read the article below.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards have been in place since 2017. These standards were put in place to ensure that suppliers complied with certain requirements before putting labels on their products. 

Today, EMC testing and test reports are used to determine whether suppliers have met these requirements. 

The Electromagnetic Compatibility or Radiocommunication Labelling notice of 2017 (EMC LN) requires that suppliers meet all EMC testing requirements before labelling their products and sending them out into the market.

Electromagnetic Risk Levels

The Electromagnetic Compatibility or Radiocommunication Labelling notice of 2017 (EMC LN) identifies three types of risk levels in relation to a product: Low, Medium and High-risk products. 

Each risk level requires that certain evidence is presented to show that a product complies with the relevant EMC standards. The levels match the risk linked to a product that has not met the necessary EMC testing requirements. 

The high-risk level includes products that pose a great risk of interference and therefore stricter testing measures are required for compliance to be awarded. 

The evidence provided for compliance testing must be valid, accurate and verifiable.

EMC Testing

EMC testing varies depending on the risk level a product has been categorised in. For instance, testing of low and medium-risk products can be done in an in-house test lab or by a recognised EMC testing body

On the other hand, testing of high-risk products must be done by approved regulatory bodies.

If a supplier has previously met the relevant EMC testing requirements for their products, they can use the previously acquired test reports to seek compliance from regulatory bodies. 

This means that products that have already been tested and cleared do not have to be re-tested in order to get EMC compliance. 

Suppliers are responsible for ensuring that their products undergo the necessary testing and evaluation before putting them up for sale. 

Any interference or damage caused by their products due to lack of testing and compliance is deemed to be the supplier’s fault and the law is left to take its course.

Following are some examples of EMC testing requirements:

1). Emissions Testing

Your product should not emit a large amount of electromagnetic interference or emissions. Electromagnetic waves and signals can affect a wide range of devices that we use on a day-to-day basis. 

Products that emit too many electromagnetic emissions can easily interfere with the normal functioning of other devices.

2). Immunity Testing

Your product should continue functioning properly even when in the presence of various electromagnetic emissions and signals. 

This testing requirement gauges the immunity of a device to interference by electromagnetic signals and emissions that are practically everywhere nowadays.

3). Safety Testing

Your product should not pose a danger to the health or life of end-users. This EMC testing requirement focuses on the safety of end-users.

Testing Bodies

EMC testing bodies are labs that have the necessary technical capability, resources and equipment to perform tests on products to determine whether they meet relevant EMC requirements. 

A testing body can either be an in-house lab or an approved testing body. Following are some of the approved testing bodies:

1). NATA Approved Bodies

These are bodies that have been approved by NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities). These bodies use the EMC requirements and standards set in law to gauge whether a product has achieved compliance.

2). NATA MRA Partners

These are partner-bodies from other jurisdictions that NATA acknowledges through mutual recognition agreements or MRAs.

Conclusion

With the tremendous increase of electronic devices and products in the country and the world at large, there is a need for stricter EMC testing requirements if the electromagnetic spectrum is to remain stable. 

It’s crucial that manufacturers and suppliers of electronic products adhere to these requirements for the good of everyone.

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 contact us here.