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The View from the Chalkboard – February 2014

Perhaps the subtitle of this month’s “View from the Chalkboard” can best be called “In Compliance” – more than just a magazine name! …..or it can be put another way, “What is the importance of EMC Standards in an EMC Curriculum”?

Regardless of the title, it turns out that the topic of EMC standards is not typically part of a university-based EMC curriculum. This is interesting, since EMC standards are important (and many times are a requirement) to demonstrate that a product not only has met its “functional” characteristics, but that the product complies to various types of EMC standards. These standards may range from those designed to ensure customer satisfaction to those that are legal requirements imposed by national governments. Unfortunately, many times the concept of requiring products to meet or comply with various engineering standards is seen as an unneeded and an undesired sequence of steps in “checking the box” in a product’s design, development, and production. Ironically, it’s actually the opposite situation.

Our modern society has developed many inventions and innovations to make our lives simpler and more efficient. A key to the success of these inventions and innovations is the ability to use standards to ensure the reliable and safe operation of these devices. It also turns out that the standards themselves can also spur innovation and development across a wide range of systems and ensure new technology meets user (or customer) requirements. Over the next several paragraphs I will highlight some of the resources that are available to help EMC educators become familiar with the concept of EMC standards, and I will provide information on where to go for additional resources to help include standards education in an EMC curriculum.

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One of the best places to start is the IEEE Standards association website. This is the organization that has responsibility for all types of standards that the IEEE is concerned with. Much of the modern world of electrical and electronic systems is built upon IEEE standards, such as data bus definition (IEEE 488), and, of course, one of the most common “consumer” used standards, IEEE 802, standards for wireless communications.

Click here for a good starting point into EMC standards education. These standards cover a number of topics, from antennas to RF exposure, along with information about electromagnetic propagation which is important to know in order to understand and successfully apply the standards.

Realizing that education in standards development and their use is important, there is another IEEE resource called the “EAB/SA Standards Education Committee”.

As IEEE states:
“Recognizing the important role standards play within the engineering, technology and computing fields, IEEE is providing resources to help introduce and teach undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professors and educators, about technical standards by providing free online tutorials and case studies. Knowledge of standards can help facilitate the transition from classroom to professional practice by aligning educational concepts with real-world applications.

These resources will hopefully be of use in the classroom and help incorporate the teaching of standards into curricula to:
benefit both students and their faculty mentors as they face challenging design processes;
help electrical and computer engineering undergraduate programs incorporate standards into their learning processes;
provide tools for use in learning about standards and their impact on design and development.”

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Those important points (and additional details) can be seen by clicking here.

Click here for a good introduction and overview of EMC specific standards that can be referenced in EMC education.

So in closing, as you can see, this has been only an overview of EMC standards, and you are encouraged to dig deeper into this topic. I am sure once you do so you will see the benefits of incorporating this topic into your EMC educational curriculum! favicon


author steffka-mark-2 Mark Steffka, B.S.E., M.S.
is a Lecturer (at the University of Michigan – Dearborn), an Adjunct Professor (at the University of Detroit – Mercy) and an automotive company Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Technical Specialist. His university experience includes teaching undergraduate, graduate, and professional development courses on EMC, antennas, and electronic communications.  His extensive industry background consists of over 30 years’ experience with military and aerospace communications, industrial electronics, and automotive systems.
Mr. Steffka is the author and/or co-author of numerous technical papers and publications on EMC presented at various Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conferences.  He has also written about and has been an invited conference speaker on topics related to effective methods in university engineering education. He is an IEEE member, has served as a technical session chair for SAE and IEEE conferences and has served as an IEEE EMC Society Distinguished Lecturer.  He holds a radio communications license issued by the United States’ Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and holds the call sign WW8MS.





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