What is Electromagnetic Compatibility?

Electromagnetic Compatibility | EMC Tech

Once an electrical or electronics manufacturer, distributor, or importer has discovered the meaning and the responsibilities involved in EMC, the next step may be to find an accredited EMC Testing Facility.

EMC Technologies is an Australian owned and NATA accredited EMI/EMC/EMR test facility with laboratories in Melbourne, Sydney, and New Zealand.

What is EMC compatibility?

There are various online definitions for EMC compatibility. They all say the same thing using different words.

The following definition comes from Wepopedia (www.webopedia.com/TERM/E/EMC.html)

“How well a device or system is able to function in an electromagnetic environment without introducing electromagnetic disturbances that interfere with the operation of other electrical products in the environment. Electronic devices that can function and meet the criteria are called electro-magnetically compatible devices”.

It means that the equipment must not cause electromagnetic interference to other devices or systems, electromagnetic radiation to people, ordinance, or volatile materials, and must not be susceptible to natural effects like lightning.

The proliferation of electronic devices creates an environment in which the potential for electromagnetic interference between different devices is huge. Products and systems include:

  • Household appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, TV sets, radios, telephones.
  • Handheld and portable devices like mobile phones, hair dryers, electrical beauty products, game consoles, adaptors, chargers, and many more.
  • Industrial installations, aircraft, ships, motor vehicles and motorcycles, battery operated trolleys, power tools, commercial signage, and more.

EMC Standards

EMC compatibility is specified in a series of international standards. The Australian regulatory body is the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Australian standards are similar or identical to European Standards.

ACMA specifies mandatory standards in its Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Regulatory Arrangement. The details are contained in a document titled “ACMA Mandated EMC Standards”. This document can be found in an ACMA published document titled  ACMA_Standards_List (www.acma.gov.au/-/media/Technical-Regulation-Development/Regulation/pdf/EMC_Standards_List.pdf?la=en)

In summary, ACMA stipulates the following compatibility:

  • Products fitted with wireless transmitters, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, must be tested for compliance with ACMA (EMR) and ACMA Radcom standards.
  • Products with no wireless transmission, must comply with the ACMA list of EMC testing protocols.
  • Products with connectivity to satellite telecom network, mobile phone network, or the PSTN network must comply with the Telecommunications Labelling Notice (TLN).

The Standards Australia (www.standards.org.au/searchandbuyastandard/pages/default.aspx)website also has applicable references on its IEC/CISPR page.

The Australia/NZ Regulatory Compliance mark (RCM)

The Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) applies to all manufacturers and suppliers in Australia and New Zealand. Compliance to RCM requires that all electrical equipment must be tested, certified, registered, and labelled as RCM compliant. Certification requires compliance to electromagnetic radiation (EMR), electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), electrical equipment safety (EESS), radio communication, and telecom standards.

EMC Testing

Compatibility testing conducted by accredited and certified laboratories observe and reports on the interaction between electrical and electronic equipment that operate in the same environment.

EMC testing, at its foundation,  has two critical objectives. To:

  1. Protect the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum is divided into frequency bands in which devices operate. This spectrum is becoming crowded and must be protected. Equipment with no transmitter and frequency allocations also cause radiation because of switching currents and voltages.
  2. Safety. This testing is life saving. Safety critical applications include medical, industrial, military, and aerospace equipment. The testing checks equipment malfunction caused by power supply surges, electrostatic discharge (ESD), and radiated electric fields.

EMC testing addresses three main compatibility issues:

  • Emission. The way in which equipment generates electromagnetic energy and releases it into the environment.
  • Susceptibility. The tendency of equipment to malfunction in the presence of electromagnetic disturbance.
  • Coupling. The way in which emitted interference reaches and affects a victim which can be other equipment, systems, people, or material.

EMC Testing by EMC Technologies

EMC Technologies is a leading Australian expert in electromagnetic testing, assessment, and predictions (EMR). We are a NATA accredited supplier for EMR measurements, the supply of site radiation folders (SRF), absorption rates (SAR), and RF predictions relative to Occupation, Health, and Safety (OH&S) requirements.

Contact us (EMC Tech) for expert advice applicable standards and testing requirements for the Australian and NZ markets.