Discovering EMC’s Role in Functional Safety

Electromagnetic disturbances can greatly influence the performance of equipment and the functional safety of systems. Consider the current problems we hear in the news with unintended acceleration in some vehicles. While this complication’s true cause may never be determined, analysts have theorized that electromagnetic disturbances could play a large role. Due to the amount of electronics and ever changing technologies found in today’s automobiles, unintended acceleration is only one of many examples of unwanted anomalies that could occur due to an EMC issue. Automakers are faced everyday with the risk and associated liability that could come with a problem such as this once the vehicle is on the street with the consumer. That risk is why the automakers over time have had to develop specific test standards that relate to the EMC concerns of their vehicles and enforce their suppliers to meet them by way of specific test plans. The automotive industry is just one example of how EMC can relate to the functional safety of a product as guided by IEC TS 61000-1-2: 2008.

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EMC and Aerospace

Aerospace equipment and systems are required to meet electromagnetic compatibility requirements to ensure proper operation and minimize risk to space programs. A standard has been established for electromagnetic compatibility for space related equipment and systems, SMC Standard SMC-S-008. The purpose of the standard is to minimize the risk to space programs with respect to electromagnetic phenomena and compatibility. A series of specific tests have been identified to confirm compliance.


The Future of EMC Engineering: Why FR-4 is Obsolete for Tomorrow’s Technology

A discussion topic between designers, namely those who only do circuit design and have no interest in the field of EMC, and compliance engineers attempting to meet regulatory compliance requirements, is the use of FR-4 as the core material for printed circuit board construction. Fiberglass Resin (FR) is low cost and has been used in almost every electrical product for decades, with exceptions such as military and satellite applications, harsh environmental conditions, and other unique uses. The disagreement lies with the extent that we can use FR-4 in high frequency applications and should we be concerned more with electrical performance or manufacturing and assembly.


Assessing the EMC Performance of PCB Shields by Electromagnetic Modeling

In the past EMC Engineers have relied on metallic enclosures to contain electromagnetic fields and meet radiated emissions limits in military and consumer products. Modern commercial electronics products typically use molded plastic enclosures since they are considered to be aesthetically more pleasing than a metal enclosure, but also to save weight and cost.

Electromagnetic Compatibility Comes of Age

The science of electromagnetic compatibility has been in exis­tence for several decades. As an art, it goes back much further, perhaps to the time of Edison when he was just beginning to experiment with practical electrical devices. I am sure that with some of his more sophisticated devices undesired interac­tions took place because of inadequate shielding or filtering. Certainly, with the advent of radio, incompatibility problems occurred as a result of the poor quality of transmitters and receivers. Perhaps the first formal recognition of electromag­netic compatibility problems occurred when the telephone and power companies found they had mutual coupling problems when their lines were carried on the same utility poles. Later on, the increasing use of the radio spectrum called for formal controls administered by departments in the post, telephone, and telegraph offices in many countries, or through the Feder­al Communications Commission in the United States.


EMC and Railway Safety

The railway environment is generally regarded as a “severe” electromagnetic environment. For an electrified railway, Megawatts of power are required to be converted into the propulsion of trains in order to transport passengers or freight from one destination to another. The railway presents a complex electromagnetic environment made up of many systems including signalling, traction, telecommunications and radiocommunications.