EMC is an acronym for Electromagnetic Compatibility, but what is EMC testing and why is it important? Products and systems which use electricity and/or electronics are said to be Electromagnetically Compatible when their emissions do not cause unacceptable interference with other electrical and/or electronic products and systems, and when they have sufficient immunity to operate as required in their electromagnetic environment.

To ensure that a high level of EMC performance is achieved, manufacturers put their products through EMC Testing. There are many types of testing but is generally split into two disciplines: Emission and Immunity testing.

Emissions may be conducted through power or communication lines and or radiated from the enclosure. Testing ensures that emissions are below a defined limit and do not adversely affect the spectrum and, just as importantly, do not affect the operation of nearby products.

Immunity testing is a measure of a products ability to function as intended in the presence of electromagnetic interference. A product is subjected to a variety of different types of phenomena during immunity testing, for example, Radiated RF disturbances (Radiated Immunity), in which a product is irradiated with RF energy over a defined frequency range. This simulates interference from different types of radio transmitters such as TV, PMR or cellular. Other tests include Electrical Fast Transients (EFT), which may come from a motor or an arcing electrical switch, or Surge which could be the indirect effect of the RF radiation from a nearby lightning strike.

Why is it important to conduct EMC Testing on your product?

There are many reasons why it is important to EMC test a product. One reason is so that a product continues to operate as intended and that the user experience is not affected by incident electromagnetic phenomena. This may be seen as trivial, however, in some extreme cases this could affect public safety. The EMC world is peppered with anecdotal evidence of devices going awry when subjected to EMC interference. For example, most people have probably observed TV or radio interference from mobile phones; that’s a quirk of the developing technological world, which we normally just live with. More serious occurrence could be where incident RF interference has adversely affected medical equipment or devices such as pacemakers.

Another reason for EMC Testing is that EMC compliance is a mandatory requirement in most markets including Europe, North America, China, Korea, Asia and South Korea. EMC Testing with a third party, such as UL, is a choice for manufacturers who do not have their own equipment, are looking to strengthen their position in the market, or need advice from experts in EMC testing. Take a look at our EMC Testing service to see how we can help.

How can UL help?

At UL we have several sites around the globe capable of providing all your EMC Testing needs. Have a look at our interactive map to find your closest testing location. Whilst we have the capabilities to assist you it is our helpful engineers that you will find the most benefit. If you are new to EMC Compliance, or compliance in general, simply fill in our contact form, or give us a call, and we will get back to you for a no obligation chat about your needs and how we can help. Don’t forget to have a look at our events page to see if there is a webinar or seminar that you might find interesting.