Take the pain out of the Directive

PRE-EMTive action in designing for EMC.

Having reached the second anniversary of its implementation, the EMC Directive has had far reaching effects on the electronics and electrical industry. The responsibilities it has placed on manufacturers to ensure compliance with its regulations have had an impact on the whole production cycle, from initial concept and design to variants and upgrades. It is radiated emissions which are often the primary cause of non-compliance and yet, in trying to rectify the problem they are also a common area of costly over engineering.

‘There is an increasing need within the industry for fully validated modelling software to speed up and hence reduce the costs of product development,’ says Dr Alwyn Finney, who is manager of EMC advanced projects at ERA Technology. ‘We are aware of the pressures on manufacturers and we believe that it is imperative that an adaptable, reliable and cost-effective measurement solution is found.

‘At present, software modelling tools do not lend themselves well to dealing with enclosures and cabling, aspects of design which link most, if not all, products. Modelling the radiated field characteristics from a circuit board is a useful approach but does not take into account the shielding offered by the product’s enclosure, nor the coupling effects of the cables to and from the product.

‘The PRE-EMT (Precompliance Radiated Emissions Evaluation Measurement Technique) is a European funded research project which centres around developing new measurement data generated as source input to electromagnetic predictive software. As a result, far field radiated emissions will be determined without the need for expensive open-area test ranges and measurement equipment. By speeding up the compliance procedure, by allowing easy comparison for variants within the product family and by minimising the suppression requirements. PRE-EMP will greatly reduce the costs of design and production.’

ERA Technology has teamed up with five leading European research partners for the project. The consortium is currently appealing for sponsorship from organisations throughout the UK.

‘The PRE-EMP project is a unique opportunity for manufacturers,’ says Finney. ‘This is a topic which has been recognised as valuable by the EU and it is in the manufacturers’ interest to be involved in the development of a fully validated, low-cost, practical tool which stands to reduce both design and production costs.’

If you would like to know more about this project, please contact Dr Finney at ERA Technology on 01372 367017.