Electromagnetic compatibility, commonly referred to as EMC, is an important aspect of electrical device design, development and manufacturing. 

In simple terms, EMC refers to the ability of an electronic device or equipment to function when it’s in an environment with other devices, without causing electromagnetic interference or being affected by interference from other devices.

EMC is particularly important for both manufacturers and end users of electronic devices, as it ensures that devices operate as intended without causing performance or safety issues.

Many countries have regulations about EMC and require testing and certification for electronic devices. Below, we’ve discussed what EMC is, how testing for EMC works, and listed common regulations and standards for electromagnetic compatibility around the world. 

To request a quote for EMC testing for your device, or to talk to our engineering and compliance experts about EMC and regulatory compliance, contact us online or call us at 866-540-5287.

What is EMC?

EMC standards for electromagnetic compatibility, a fundamental concept in the field of electrical and electronic devices. It refers to the ability of electronic equipment to function normally without causing electromagnetic disturbances to other electronic devices.

It also refers to the ability of electrical equipment to function normally when it’s exposed to levels of electromagnetic energy — referred to as emissions — from other devices. 

In simpler terms, EMC ensures that electronic devices act as good “neighbors,” meaning when several devices are used in a common environment, they won’t affect each other’s functioning, performance or safety. 

This is particularly important today, as many environments contain numerous devices that can cause electromagnetic interference, from phones and personal computers to office equipment, industrial machinery, security systems and other equipment. 

EMC is an essential part of regulatory compliance for electronic devices. In order to go on sale in the United States and other countries, electronic devices and equipment are required to pass tests for electromagnetic compatibility and meet certain legal standards.

In the US, EMC regulations are set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Most electronic devices are regulated under the FCC Part 15 rules, although some devices may be subject to additional regulations for electromagnetic compatibility and safety. 

How EMC Testing Works

EMC testing is conducted by an accredited electrical device testing lab before a product goes onto the market. The process involves two main types of testing:

  • Emissions testing. This testing checks the amount of electromagnetic energy that’s emitted from a device. It verifies that a device doesn’t exceed any regulatory limits for electromagnetic emissions, which may cause interference.
  • Immunity testing. This testing assesses a device’s ability to operate normally in the presence of electromagnetic disturbances. It verifies that a device can function when used in the vicinity of other electrical and electronic devices. 

During EMC testing, specialized equipment is used to simulate electromagnetic environments that a device may be exposed to during regular use. The device is observed and a variety of performance and response aspects are measured to ensure it complies with regulations.

Following testing, documentation is prepared to provide the device manufacturer with written evidence showing that the device complies with all relevant standards. 

Common EMC Standards

FCC Part 15

FCC Part 15 is a Federal Communications Commission regulation that pertains to devices that emit radiofrequency (RF). It covers both intentional radiators (devices that emit RF energy as a key part of their design) and unintentional radiators.

Our guide to FCC Class A and Class B devices explains the differences between these devices and how FCC regulations apply to them.

FCC Part 15 sets limits for emissions and immunity. In order to comply with FCC Part 15, you’ll need to complete testing for your device to verify that it operates within the limits set out by the FCC. 

As an accredited electrical device testing lab, we offer FCC Part 15 testing as part of our range of services for electrical device manufacturers.

EU EMC Directive

The European Union has its own set of regulations for electromagnetic compatibility, known as the EMC Directive. This directive is designed to ensure that electrical and electronic equipment meets certain requirements for emissions and immunity.

Compliance with the EU’s EMC Directive is mandatory for selling electronic devices within the European Union. 

Radio Equipment Directive

The Radio Equipment Directive (RED) is another standard in the European Union. It focuses specifically on radio equipment and ensures that radio devices meet certain requirements for EMC, as well as other factors such as health and safety. 

Contact Us About EMC Testing

If you intend to sell your electrical device in the United States, European Union, or other major markets, completing EMC testing is an essential part of ensuring your device complies with all regulations and has legal market access.

As an accredited electrical testing lab, we specialize in helping electronics manufacturers get FCC, CE and other certification marks for electronic devices through compliance testing.

To request a quote for your device or ask our engineers a question, contact us online or call us at 866-540-5287.