Environmental compliance and EMC emissions

2 Sep 2017

Environmental compliance is not confined to the RoHS/WEEE directive and International Material Data System. As well as the materials used in manufacturing, there is the environmental impact of the system design itself to consider, such as EM (electromagnetic) emissions.

EM compliance is a major issue for any electrical/electronic hardware designer, whether their product produces EM intentionally (as in some digital signal processing applications) or unintentionally, as in computer design. Electromagnetic emissions are released from any system which has a current running through it, either as a series of pulses or a continual stream. If not kept to a safe level they can be a danger to health, causing nausea, headaches, depression, sensory hallucinations and even cancer. However, the risks can be minimized by effective system design and screening.

As with many areas of environmental compliance, the EU has a stringent EMC directive, which all OEMs exporting products to Europe must adhere to. US directives are more limited. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ruling covers digital signal processing in broadcasting and telecommunications, while the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) has a protocol in line with the EU automotive EMC directive, which became law in 2006.

All electrical systems must undergo stringent testing to ensure they meet EM environmental compliance regulations. However, around 50% of prototypes fail the first test. New Pre-test EMC system software, similar to that used in computational fluid dynamics, is helping to minimize this.

We at Enventure Technologies offer an extensive range of engineering services for those affected by EMC legislation, from part obsolescence management to DSP programming.