Respected EMC Consultant Henry Ott gave engineers a history of EMC, where it is today, and where it's likely to go.
Ott used FCC Part 15 as a transition to the present, where he explained the differences between EMC standards in the US and in Europe. See the video below.
Today, Ott sees four major drivers for EMC.
- Regulations: Different countries and regions have different requirements. Many countries around the world follow EU regulations, but often with differences. "Don't you wish we could have one test for everywhere in the world?" he asked.
- Technology: Frequencies are going up and integration is increasing.
- Signal integrity: SI and EMC are merging. Ott described SI as what a product needs to do to operate with itself. But fast edges in digital signals can cause internal EMC problems.
- Time to market: EMC failures become important. A failed test can cause a product to miss entering the market.
As we move ahead, Ott sees several factors affecting EMC. One such example is LED lighting. People are installing LED lighting everywhere, but, unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs have switching power circuits that can interfere with nearby devices.
Home automation, according to Ott, will help keep EMC engineers employed. Many new devices will use low voltages and have wireless capabilities, leading to new interference problems. As products shrink, susceptibility will begin to overtake emissions as the higher priority for EMC designs. Smaller products will also be more susceptible to ESD (electrostatic discharge). "We will need the ability to simulate the results of an ESD event. People are already performing ESD tests that exceed the limits of the standards."
EMC Education, explained Ott in his closing remarks, is still an issue. Few universities teach about EMC. Engineers often learn from others, from books, and from articles. "EMC is here to stay."
Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor