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EMC Testing: What to Look For in a Service

The need for EMC compliance

There are a many reasons why your company's electrical/electronic products may required to comply to modern Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards.

Regulations Requirements:

Most industrialized countries have established agencies or other regulatory organizations responsible for defining and enforcing EMC standards. If EMC regulations exist in a country, equipment manufacturers can't legally ship their product into that country until compliance with those regulations is met. Professional compliance laboratories are familiar with the global compliance process and possess the accreditations and capabilities needed to perform testing and certification to meet the relevant standards in all of your target markets.



Customer Requirements:

There may be many situations in which your customer may dictate EMC requirements. For example, if your customer is an RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Company), an extensive set of tests referred to collectively as Bellcore, are required before the RBOC will purchase your product. If your product or component will be included in a third-party product, your OEM customer will need proof that your product or component will meet appropriate regulatory standards. Your OEM customer will dictate the amount of testing and documentation they require. It's not unusual for an OEM customer to ask for compliance exceeding legal requirements.

Reliability/Performance:

In certain cases, you may want to self-impose reliability standards for your products. For example, if you only plan to ship your product in the United States, unlike in Europe, you are not required to pass immunity standards. However, you may want to establish your own immunity standards to ensure customer satisfaction by minimizing field failures.

If you're looking for an EMC testing service, what features should you look for?

If your business or organization has international clients, be sure to look for an accredited laboratory that are provide the following certifications:

United States

  • CE mark
  • Bellcore
  • FCC
  • VCCI
  • BSMI
  • NoM

International accreditations are provided by A2LA (ISO Guide17025) and ANSI (ISO Guide 65). The labs should be recognized by NATA (Australia), New Zealand Ministry of Commerce, SABS (South Africa), HOKLAS (Hong Kong), BSMI (Taiwan), VCCI (Japan), GOST (Russia) and NEMKO (Norway).

The following is a list of both US and international testing standards that a high-performance EMC testing should be accredited to perform:

Commercial, Generic and Test Standards:

EN 50081-1 Generic Emissions
EN 50082-1 Generic Immunity
EN 50081-2 Generic Industrial Emissions
EN 50082-2 Generic Industrial Immunity
FCC Part 15 (to ANSI C63.4)
IEC 801-2, IEC 801-3, IEC 801-4, IEC 801-5
IEC 1000-4-2, IEC 1000-4-3, IEC 1000-4-4, IEC 1000-4-5,
IEC 1000-4-6, IEC 1000-4-8, IEC 1000-4-9, IEC 1000-4-10, IEC 1000-4-11
EN 61000-4-2, EN 61000-4-3, EN 61000-4-4, EN 61000-4-5
EN 61000-4-6, EN 61000-4-8, EN 61000-4-11 Immunity
EN 61000-3-2 (EN 60555-2 and IEC 555-2) Harmonics Testing
EN 61000-3-3 (EN 60555-3) Flicker testing

RTCA DO-160
Boeing D6-16050/D6-44588
Douglas WZZ7364/WZZ7000
Airbus Specifications
NASA Specifications
MSFC-SPEC-521
SL-E-0002
SSP 30237

Product-Specific Standards:

CISPR 22 (EN55022) Emissions for ITE
CISPR 24 (EN55024) Immunity for ITE
CISPR 11 (EN 55011) Emissions for ISM
EN 55103-1 and EN 55103-2 Emissions and Immunity for Entertainment Lighting, Sound and Audio.
EN 50130-4 Immunity for Security Equipment
EN 300 386 Immunity for Central Office Telecommunications Equipment
EN 61326 Test, Measurement, Control and Laboratory Equipment

Medical:

EN 60601-1-2 EMC for Medical Devices
FDA 510(k) EMC Requirements

Military and Aerospace:

RTCA DO 160-C
MIL-STD 461 C, D

MIL-STD 462 D
MIL-STD 464

MIL-STD-285
MIL-STD-704
MIL-STD-1541
DOD-STD-139

The Labs Must be Technologically Up-to-Date and Robust

To provide accurate, repeatable data, a laboratory must use cutting-edge test facilities and effectively manage every parameter that affects the quality of EMC measurements. Test facilities should be located in RF quiet areas for emissions testing. The lab must produce accurate test results that are not distorted by ambient RF noise. Immunity from external noise can only be achieved by the use of well-engineered anechoic chambers. These facilities, ensure proper evaluation by reducing the risk of over-stress during RF immunity testing.

Skilled, Experienced Engineers are a Must

In order to produce solid, accurate results, test engineers must understand the following:

  • application of test standards
  • the accredited procedures for performing tests
  • the operation and capabilities of the test equipment
  • problem-solving and troubleshooting techniques
  • fundamentals of excellent customer service

An EMC testing company should employ engineers that have a minimum of a BSEE and / or a minimum of 5 years electronics experience. Further, their staff must undergoes continual training to keep abreast with the latest technology. Test engineers should also be skilled in efficient and effective EMC troubleshooting techniques.

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Also see: EMC Consultants: What to Look For in a Service



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Updated: Tuesday, 2008-08-19 17:10 PST