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Why EMC/RF Testing Matters

Consumer CompactElectrical and ElectronicsOctober 09, 2023

The chances are you have a smart phone in your pocket, a computer in your office, a car with infotainment and hazard avoidance systems and a house full of electronic devices. Each will emit electromagnetic radiation that could interfere with other devices if they are not tested properly.

We live in a connected world, with most automobiles and consumer electronics now connected to the internet of things (IoT). This means, from the moment your smart phone alarm wakes you in the morning to the point you finish checking your emails before sleep, every minute of your daily involves some form of connection to the IoT.

This is true even if you think you do not actively engage in the online world. Behind the scenes, many of the devices you rely on for safety, entertainment, information and communication constantly interact with the IoT for updates and the data they need to provide a good level of user functionality.

Market growth

Connected device markets are growing. Consumers around the world are happier than ever to adopt new technologies that improve their lives. At the same time, the connected world is reaching new markets and creating new opportunities for developers and manufacturers.

Demand drives growth. This year, the global consumer electronics market is expected to be worth USD 1,028 billion, with a predicted annual growth rate of 2.32%. The largest segment in the sector is telephony, with an estimated value of USD 498.3 billion.1

The connected vehicle sector is also growing rapidly. Worth USD 59.70 billion in 2020, it is forecast the global market will reach USD 191.83 by 2028.2

Electromagnetic radiation

All electric devices emit electromagnetic radiation. In isolation, this will not cause an issue for the user but, since we are now surrounded by electrical devices, there is a high chance that radiation from one or more devices could impact the operability of other devices in the area.

This would mean equipment failing to function properly. At best, the user is left frustrated and disappointed but, at worst, it could place them at risk if the device is designed to protect them. For manufacturers and suppliers of electronic devices this could mean more than just unhappiness, it could also mean noncompliance with market regulations.

Regulations

Governments around the world enforce regulations to protect consumers and ensure the continued functioning of infrastructure. For example, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and radio frequency (RF) are covered under the radio equipment directive 2014/53/EU (RED) in the European Union (EU), which establishes a regulatory framework for placing radio equipment on the market.3 In Great Britain (GB), there is the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 and, in the USA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).4

Both national and international organizations have published EMC/RF standards to ensure the correct functioning of electrical devices to help manufacturers and governments protect users and vital infrastructure. This includes the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which has several committees dedicated to the issue of EMC/RF.

EMI/EMC testing

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can occur naturally, for example in electrical storms, but it is more often associated with electronic devices. If EMI emissions are not minimized, they can disturb the functioning of other equipment that is not sufficiently immune to the impact of electromagnetic radiation.

EMC measures a device’s immunity/susceptibility to electromagnetic energy and the amount of EMI it generates in its internal electrical systems. EMC testing ensures a product is sufficiently protected from external electromagnetic radiation while also ensuring it won’t affect other pieces of electrical equipment.

Failure to evaluate the EMC/RF compliance of a device can have severe negative consequences, such as safety risk, product failure and data loss. Manufacturers therefore need to ensure their products are properly tested to ensure proper function, regulatory compliance and consumer satisfaction.

Tests include:

  • Conducted emission
  • Radiated immunity
  • Radiated emission
  • Bulk current injection (BCI)
  • Magnetic field immunity
  • Magnetic field emission
  • Conducted transient immunity
  • Conducted transient emission
  • Mobile phone (handy transmitter) test
  • Electrical fast transients
  • Electrical surge
  • Harmonics and flickers measurements
  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD)
  • Human exposure measurements of electric and magnetic field

Growth in the markets for connected vehicles and consumer electronics has led to an upswing in demand for EMC testing capabilities. In 2021, the global EMC testing market was estimated to be worth around USD 2,116.9 million but, by 2028, it is predicted the segment will be worth USD 3,066.7 million.5

The key to success for manufacturers and developers in this growing market, where demand for testing services is also on the increase, is access to cost-effective, independent EMC testing solutions.

SGS expansion in EMC/RF testing solutions

We provide a comprehensive range of  EMC/RF testing solutions for automobiles and consumer electronics through our global network of state-of-the-art laboratories.

Recent additions to the global network include Senai in Johor, Malaysia, Chakan in Pune, India, Chonburi, Thailand, and San Diego, USA. These laboratories are strategically positioned to provide maximum support to automotive and consumer electronics manufacturers as they develop safe, effective and regulatorily complaint products for all global markets.

Learn more about SGS’s EMC testing capabilities.

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References

1 Consumer Electronics - Worldwide | Statista Market Forecast

2 Connected Car Market Size, Growth, Share & Trends Analysis | Forecast [2023-2028]

3 Radio Equipment Directive (RED) (europa.eu)

4 Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016: Great Britain - GOV.UK

5 EMC Testing Market to Reach US$ 3,066.7 million at a CAGR of 5.4% in 2028 | The Insight Partners

© SGS Société Générale de Surveillance SA.

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Kwan

Laurence Kwan

Director, Connectivity Asia Business Development, SGS

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