Solutions abound at EMC Symposium

Two themes were evident at the 2014 EMC Symposium held in Raleigh, NC. Consolidation continues, with AMETEK acquiring Teseq, which previously had acquired Milmega and Instruments for Industry (IFI). EM Test also is part of the same AMETEK Compliance Test Solutions group. Similarly, software company Altair has purchased EM Software and Systems S.A., the developers of FEKO EMC simulation software.

The emphasis within marketing messages also is changing. Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) and ETS-Lindgren both are repositioning themselves as complete EMC solutions providers rather than solely as expert EMC instrument/component/measurement companies. 

R&S exhibited an all-metal test chamber made by AP Americas, a new company established by German manufacturer Albatross Projects, with which R&S has long collaborated to source chambers and absorbers. Compared to chambers built from metal-covered plywood panels, an R&S spokesman claimed all-metal chambers minimize dimensional changes caused by temperature and humidity variations. 

ETS-Lindgren now provides amplifiers that, together with the company’s chambers, antennas, positioners, and TILE! measurement and control software, form the basis of complete test systems. TILE! is brand-agnostic, so it supports any manufacturer’s receiver. 

Several test system vendors have added a video capability to monitor EUT behavior that may not be associated with an easily measured signal—in automotive control testing, a video camera could determine that an immunity test had caused a direction indicator to begin blinking. This capability also provides galvanic isolation.


Precompliance/compliance measurement and control software includes applications such as EMC32 from R&S, AR’s emcware, TILE! from ETS, and NEXIO’s BAT-EMC. In addition to controlling the instrument setup required to make EMC measurements to specific test standards, these programs also assist in data analysis and result reporting.

Another large category exhibited at the symposium was simulation, which ranges from programs with very specific purposes—such as DELCROSS Technologies’ Signa radar signature analysis software—to entire software suites with several separate sections and options. Your choice of program depends on several factors. Technically, different kinds of solvers are necessary to address the wide variation in DUT characteristics. The tool’s compatibility with other programs also is important. 

If you already use Keysight’s EEsof RF/microwave design and circuit simulation software, also using the company’s EMPro 3D simulation and modeling software to investigate a design’s EM fields could be a good choice. Similar reasoning applies to the extensive CST STUDIO SUITE of software simulation programs. Vendors such as ANSYS support multiphysics simulation, which not only deals with electrical circuit and EM field issues, but also considers thermal, optical, and fluid effects. And, it’s important for the EM software tool to support CAD file import to ensure consistency throughout the design/analysis process.

A third software category that facilitates better project management also was on display. OnRule is a cloud-based platform with various dashboards that allow you to determine, for example, what standards a new product must meet to be sold in certain countries. The program  continues to monitor the approval status once a project is underway. 

An in-depth article featuring EMC software is here.


EMSCAN displayed a range of real-time distributed EMC field sensors. The EMxpert system comprises a scanner and adaptor and a customer-supplied spectrum analyzer and PC running EMxpert software. The benchtop scanner’s 1,218 H-field probes are spaced every 7.5 mm and measure signals from 50 kHz to 4 GHz. Model ERX+ increases the spatial resolution to as fine as 120 microns.

NEXIO’s BAT-SCANNER positions a single probe relative to the DUT. By scanning a volume up to 400 x 400 x 200 mm, the probe and associated software can map the DUT fields. 

The R&S ESR combines full-function spectrum analyzer capabilities with those of a compliance-level test receiver. Optional FFT-based time-domain scan provides measurement speeds up to 6,000x faster than can be achieved with conventional stepped-frequency scan modes. The ESRP precompliance receiver is similar but has lower dynamic range, a 7-GHz frequency range, and a lower price.

AE Techron exhibited the company’s range of audio amplifiers and test systems, some with bandwidth of DC to 300 kHz while providing a noise floor <1 mV and <0.1% THD. And, Teseq within AMETEK’s Compliance Test Solutions group is offering lower-cost pulse-rated IFI amplifiers as possible alternatives to existing Milmega amplifiers that are rated for continuous operation.

Technical Papers

I didn’t attend many papers but did appreciate the careful test methodology and associated theoretical analysis presented in Tait and Hager’s On Modeling Wireless Radio-Frequency Energy Propagation in Below-Deck Ship Spaces, which won the EMC Symposium best paper award.

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