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EMC – making sure electronic products can work together

As electric and electronic products become more and more widespread, manufacturers are starting to focus increasingly on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

Technological devices of all shapes and sizes are now crucial to our day-to-day work and private lives. However, the huge variety of products that are out there – from smart watches to jumbo jets – does pose a potential problem. And that is not all, as the components in these products get ever smaller, it also gets more difficult to make sure they can all work together smoothly.

More disruption and more vulnerability

Any electric or electronic product that doesn’t have the appropriate shielding is vulnerable to electromagnetic disruption from the outside world. At the same time, every device emits its own such disruption. What’s more, the very small structures in state-of-the-art products are significantly more vulnerable to disruptive impulses. Part of the solution is to have a precisely defined set of guidelines that will ensure all products are protected by adequate electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

The relevant framework in the EU is the European EMC Directive. It regulates “the ability of equipment to function satisfactorily in its electromagnetic environment without introducing intolerable electromagnetic disturbances to other equipment in that environment.”


It is down to the manufacturer or importer to ensure a product has adequate EMC, and they are also responsible for its CE labelling and/or EC Declaration of Conformity. If companies are unable to conduct the necessary series of tests themselves, they can outsource the work to specialist test institutes. One such institute is EMC Test NRW in Dortmund, Germany. During EMC testing, measurements are taken to assess both the electromagnetic disruption emitted by the product being tested and its own resistance to such disruption. As well as testing assemblies from industrial companies, the facilities at EMC Test NRW are also large enough to accommodate buses and construction and agricultural machinery.

Besides testing the electromagnetic compatibility of products, the methods used by EMC Test NRW can also be applied to individual materials. This is important when materials need to offer electrical insulation and high transparency with regard to electromagnetic waves – for example if being used in the base frame for a measuring table. That is why the metal-free Profile KH from item also had to be tested and it has be for applications up to 2 GHz.