EMC requirements for electrical goods

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.