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.
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.
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.
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:
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
CISPR 22 (EN55022) Emissions for ITE
EN 60601-1-2 EMC for Medical Devices
Military and Aerospace:
RTCA DO 160-C
MIL-STD 462 D
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:
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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Updated: Tuesday, 2008-08-19 17:10 PST