Electromagnetic compatibility



With ever more sources of electromagnetic radiation being produced, equipment must be designed to operate in noisy electro-magnetic environments.

It's also important that they don't cause radio-frequency disturbance in other equipment.

This is the essence of electromagnetic compadibility (EMC). Inadequate EMC can result in errors and incorrect operation of electronic devices; an increase in hazardous situations and consequently a higher health and safety risk.

Standards can help you ensure that your products will operate safely and effectively in the real world.

Browse all electromagnetic compatibility standards and publications

Key standards:

Major subject area Published standard(s)
Interference relating to industrial, scientific and medical radio-frequency apparatus, to other (heavy) industrial equipment, to overhead power lines, to high voltage equipment and to electric traction (CISPR/B) BS EN 55011
Industrial, scientific and medical equipment. Radio-frequency disturbance characteristics. Limits and methods of measurement
Interference relating to household appliances tools, lighting equipment and similar apparatus (CISPR/F) BS EN 55014-1
Electromagnetic compatibility. Requirements for household appliances, electric tools and similar apparatus. Emission

BS EN 55015:2006+A2:2009
Limits and methods of measurement of radio disturbance characteristics of electrical lighting and similar equipment
Limits for the protection of radio services (CISPR/H) BS EN 61000-6-3
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Generic standards. Emission standard for residential, commercial and light-industrial environments

BS EN 61000-6-4
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Generic standards. Emission standard for industrial environments
Electromagnetic compatibility of information technology equipment, multimedia equipment and receivers (CISPR/I) BS EN 55020
Sound and television broadcast receivers and associated equipment. Immunity characteristics. Limits and methods of measurement

BS EN 55022
Information technology equipment. Radio disturbance characteristics. Limits and methods of measurement

BS EN 55024
Information technology equipment. Immunity characteristics. Limits and methods of measurement
Electromagnetic compatibility (TC 77) BS EN 61000-4-1
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Overview of IEC 61000-4 series
Low frequency phenomena (SC 77A) BS EN 61000-3-2
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Limits. Limits for harmonic current emissions (equipment input current ≤ 16 A per phase)

BS EN 61000-3-3
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Limits. Limitation of voltage changes, voltage fluctuations and flicker in public low-voltage supply systems, for equipment with rated current ≤ 16 A per phase and not subject to conditional connection

BS EN 61000-4-11
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Voltage dips, short interruptions and voltage variations immunity tests
High frequency phenomena (SC 77B) BS EN 61000-4-3
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Radiated, radio-frequency, electromagnetic field immunity test

BS EN 61000-4-5
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Surge immunity test

BS EN 61000-6-1
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Generic standards. Immunity for residential, commercial and light-industrial environments

BS EN 61000-6-2
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Generic standards. Immunity for industrial environments

BS EN 61000-4-4
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Electrical fast transient/burst immunity test

BS EN 61000-4-6
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Immunity to conducted disturbances, induced by radio-frequency fields

BS EN 61000-4-2
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Testing and measurement techniques. Electrostatic discharge immunity test

About electromagnetic compatibility

A problem peculiar to all electronic technologies is electromagnetic (EM) interference. All electrical and electronic technologies emit EM disturbances that can interfere with the correct operation of radio-communications or other electronics. Electronic technologies can also suffer from degraded functionality (including complete failure) when exposed to EM disturbances.

The discipline of controlling emissions of, and immunity to, EM disturbances is known as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

Electronic technology is frequently used in safety-related applications. Inadequate EMC can result in errors and incorrect operation of electronic devices; an increase in hazardous situations and consequently a higher health and safety risk.

The EMC and safety divisions within an organisation tend to use different skills and disciplines and may operate largely independent of each other. Important issues of EMC-related functional safety may be overlooked and not be correctly addressed.

Frequently asked questions

What is the EMC Directive?

The EMC Directive (Directive 2004/108/EC) came into force on 1 January 1992. The Regulations have since been replaced by the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/281), which came into force on 7 March 2005.

The regulations consolidate the previous regulations, and also incorporate further amendments. These dissapply the regulations in respect of certain types of apparatus specifically covered by other directives, and provide for a new enforcement authority, OFCOM, to act in place of the Radiocommunications Agency in so far as enforcement relates to the protection and management of the radio spectrum.

The directive applies to most electrical and electronic apparatus ‑ finished products and systems that include electrical and electronic equipment.

To comply with the requirements of the EMC Directive, all electrical and electronic apparatus marketed in the UK (including imports) must carry CE Marking.

What do I need to do to comply with the regulations?

In most cases conformance can be claimed by meeting an appropriate harmonized European standard, which gives a 'presumption of conformity' to the directive.

What are the aims of the regulations?

The regulations were implemented for the following reasons:

  • To remove barriers to trade within the European Economic Area (EU countries and Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland).
  • To ensure that the electromagnetic disturbance generated by apparatus does not exceed a level allowing radio and telecommunications equipment and other apparatus to operate as intended.
  • To ensure that apparatus has an adequate level of intrinsic immunity to electromagnetic disturbance to enable it to operate as intended.
  • To comply with the regulations, all electrical and electronic apparatus marketed in the UK (including imports), that satisfy the requirements of the EMC Directive must carry CE Marking.
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