Navigate EMC Testing with Benchmark Almelo's In-House Expertise

Electronic products can be affected by radio waves produced by electronic devices and can cause interference via their electromagnetic (EM) energy. Because of this, developing electronic products for modern electronic device-filled environments requires thoughtful design and extensive knowledge of the operating challenges for those products, such as meeting electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards for products using radio waves. Fortunately, Benchmark Almelo (Almelo, Netherlands) offers customers the test equipment and expertise necessary to identify EMC issues with new products and help them find viable solutions. 

Achieving EMC Compliance

For an electronic product in a particular market and region, achieving EMC compliance calls for knowledge of appropriate EMC compliance requirements according to international standards, such as from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioelectriques (CISPR). It also requires suitable test equipment and facilities to perform complex EMC measurements. Those measurements ensure an electronic product meets appropriate EMC certification levels for a region. Certification levels are set by different organizations, such as the European Commission (CE) for the European Union (EU), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the United States, and the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Organization (ISED) for Canada. 

Fortunately, Benchmark's Almelo, Netherlands test facility offers customers at any Benchmark site opportunities to work with us on EMC testing of electronic products—in particular EMC pre-compliance testing of products in development—to help ease and speed the way for an electronic product to achieve EMC compliance. While manufacturers can independently apply a CE marking to a product, the product must be tested to verify compliance with regulatory requirements for a region. Electronic products with CE, FCC, and ISED markings must be tested to ensure they will not interfere with other electronic devices and meet a region's safety and environmental protection requirements. For example, CE testing can include safety and health testing, RF and radiated emissions testing, and EMC testing. Determining compliance with restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) requirements may also be part of CE testing. RF and radiated spurious emissions testing cover major wireless frequency bands (e.g., Bluetooth, GNSS, and Wi-Fi).

Earlier EMC Testing

EMC pre-compliance testing should be performed during a product’s design, development, and production stages. Earlier EMC testing of a product in development, such as its key components and printed-circuit boards (PCBs), can warn against problems with immunity or susceptibility to radiated (though the air) and conducted (through conductors such as wires) EM energy. Earlier EMC testing can also help guard against a product being a source of unwanted radiated and conducted EM energy. EMC pre-compliance testing is often delayed due to the complexity of the measurements and the need for advanced test equipment. 

EMC pre-compliance testing at an electronic product’s design stage helps evaluate its PCB layouts and circuit designs at various EM levels. Such tests are usually much more complex and demanding than standard production measurements. They involve radiated and conducted emission measurements as well as a product’s immunity to radiated and conducted EM energy. Detecting and correcting EMC problems earlier in a product’s development can avoid costly EMC repairs and reduce lead times approaching production for products meant for operating environments often crowded with radio waves.

In-House Pre-Compliance Testing

The Benchmark Almelo facility is equipped and staffed for EMC pre-compliance emission and immunity testing, including conducted and radiated emission testing, and conducted and radiated immunity testing according to ANSI and CISPR EMC test requirements.

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Measurements can also be performed earlier in a product’s development lifecycle, expediting a product’s time to market. Benchmark’s EMC test experts assist customers in defining their EMC pre-compliance testing requirements and help speed a company’s entry into a desired market with pre-compliance EMC testing. Products that pass Benchmark’s pre-compliance EMC testing are sent to an approved and accredited external test laboratory for official EMC approval.

Specialized EMC Measurements

Establishing an EMC test facility requires a dedicated test area, such as an anechoic or semi-anechoic chamber, to isolate products under test from radio waves in the surrounding environment. The test facility also requires specialized test equipment, such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) receivers and EM (electromagnetic) field probes. Benchmark’s Almelo test facility features a semi-anechoic chamber with a 1.5-m-diameter rotating test table for products under test and the high-performance test equipment needed for pre-compliance EMC testing.

Benchmark Almelo's EMC test services cater to industry professionals and decision makers navigating product development and compliance testing. Our exceptional speed, availability, short-term flexibility, and proactive approach to identifying root causes during testing, distinguish us from our competitors. We also understand that regulatory standards must be met for product compliance. For this reason, our Almelo test lab offers advanced pre-compliance testing for emissions and immunity during the development phase. Our EMC specialists provide project support, consultancy, and issue resolution. With an in-house EMC test facility, we expedite risk mitigation, streamline electronics development, and offer flexible, customized EMC consulting.

Working as Partners

Customers requiring EMC pre-compliance testing are treated as partners in developing the optimum EMC measurements for their product under test. Customers collaborate with Benchmark engineers to establish EMC target goals for a product. Our engineers assess the test facility and measurement capabilities of the equipment to determine the most cost-effective approach for conducting measurements.

This unique partnership carries through all stages of a product’s creation, from design through production, without compromising a product’s development timeline. Benchmark’s experience in EMC pre-compliance testing for different markets helps determine the optimum set of EMC measurements and the timing for the testing. This expertise ensures that a customer's wide range of electronic products for EMC pre-compliance testing makes a seamless transition from concept to market, focusing on compliance, quality, and timely delivery.

Tailored EMC Testing

EMC pre-compliance test capabilities serve many markets, including avionics, defense, complex industrials, medical technology, and semiconductor capital equipment. By working with outside partners from each market, EMC testing requirements can be established for each product and stage of a product’s development for the most efficient and cost-effective means of preparing a product for full EMC compliance certification with an accredited EMC test laboratory.

Customers interested in visiting the Almelo EMC test facility can learn first-hand about its full range of EMC test equipment. By spending time with Benchmark’s experienced engineers, you can learn how such advanced test equipment can be efficiently and effectively applied for early EMC pre-compliance testing and full EMC compliance certification with an accredited EMC test laboratory.

When EMC testing matters, choose Benchmark Almelo as your preferred partner. 

Design & Engineering Test Development

about the author

Klaas-Jan Dunnink and Marthijn Struik

As a Design Engineer at Benchmark, Klaas-Jan Dunnink has developed products for the industrial and avionics sectors that comply with strict EMC requirements. In his role as an EMC test engineer, he is an expert in industrial (CE) and avionics (DO160) EMC standards, test procedures, and equipment. Marthijn Struik is an experienced Senior Design Engineer and EMC Consultant with over 25 years in product development, including work on DECT, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi technologies. Marthijn brings expertise in RF measurement equipment for testing, along with RF development competencies. He currently focuses on EMC challenges and has, along with Klaas-Jan, established a pre-compliance EMC test environment at Benchmark.

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