Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing is more relevant than ever. In this blog post, we provide an overview of the topic and ask three questions to Giuseppe Citera from the VDE Testing Institute.
EMC is more relevant than ever
Machines and devices for which the topic of EMC is relevant and which have therefore undergone EMC testing can be seen wherever you look these days: For example, vehicles and airplanes that people use to get around, or stationary and portable devices that people use for entertainment, work and communication. But industrial plants, medical technology in hospitals and many other electronically operated objects are also affected. For all these things, it must be ensured that they function properly at all times despite the electromagnetic radiation acting on them from various sources. Conversely, the electromagnetic emissions they themselves emit must not exceed certain limits.
EMC laboratories with the latest equipment
This is where EMC laboratories come in, using the most advanced testing technology to test a huge range of electronic components and devices before they enter the market or are allowed to be used. Various sophisticated test fixtures are used for this purpose, which differ depending on the laboratory and are suitable for different types of EMC test objects. One example is shielding chambers of various sizes in which test objects can be shielded from electromagnetic radiation for test purposes. Also used, depending on the DUT, are different types of antennas that measure the emitted electromagnetic radiation. But more unusual test equipment such as elaborate lightning generators for simulating secondary lightning effects (LEMP) can also be found in EMC laboratories. The latest developments in EMC measurement technology are regularly presented at specialised trade fairs.
3 Questions for Giuseppe Citera, graduate engineer at VDE Prüf- und Zertifizierungsinstitut GmbH.
Mr. Citera, which test objects do you deal with daily in the EMC laboratory?
In our lab, we test almost everything that has an electric circuit. The range is very wide, from radio modules that are a few centimeters small to large industrial control cabinets or electric cars. The test specimens come from various areas, from household appliances and medical technology to machines for industrial applications.
What challenges do you currently see in standards and laws on EMC testing?
Due to the implementation of a new approval process by the EU Commission, the procedure for the European Commission to publish new EMC standards in the Official Journal of the EU is currently quite long and challenging to calculate. This creates uncertainty for manufacturers, as it makes it more difficult for them to plan according to which EMC standards a new product must be tested for the declaration of conformity.
What trends do you see for the future of EMC testing?
Whether in daily life with smart home and smart clothing goods or in new Industry 4.0 applications, more and more things are being networked with each other and equipped with radio modules for this purpose as a result of numerous technological developments. Obviously, this also means that EMC laboratories will have more work since they will need to test all of these objects for electromagnetic compatibility.
Finding the right EMC lab
How do you find an EMC lab that has the correct prerequisites for a specific test job? Online platforms such as testxchange can help here and save time when searching for laboratories and communicating with them. If you are looking for a testing lab right now, give it a try!