One of the bread and butter objectives of IEC standardization is helping the electrotechnical industries to deal with electro magnetic (EM) interference and to build electro magnetic compatibility (EMC) into various electrical and electronic (EE) devices. One of the key IEC technical committees which prepares standards in that area recently gave a strategy presentation, which was approved by the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB).
There are so many different causes of EM interference: lighting, for instance, can damage and stop some electrical and electronic equipment from functioning. We also use EM emissions on a daily basis to communicate (mobile phones) or to perform a number of mundane tasks, such as heating food up in a microwave. These emissions can produce radio frequency fields that can affect radio reception. This is the reason why people are asked to shut down their mobile phones during take off and landing on an aeroplane, for instance.
A crucial task for IEC is to prepare appropriate and standardized requirements and test methods in order to reduce EM emissions to an acceptable level and ensure sufficient EM immunity for EE devices and systems. Several IEC committees and groups prepare standards relating to EMC, but two specific ones are dedicated to overall EMC safety and performance testing.
Roles and responsibilities
IEC TC 77 deals with requirements for low frequency EM emissions (below 9 KhZ) and low and high frequency EM immunity. Another group, the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR), is responsible for radio frequency emissions which are above 9 KhZ, focusing on radio interference protection.
CISPR is composed of the participating National Committees of the IEC and a number of International Organizations including CIGRE (International Council on Large Electric Systems), EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union).
Future standardization plans
New technologies are having an impact on EMC standardization because they affect the EM environment.
One of these technology trends is the augmenting use of power technology and microelectronics with increasing operating frequencies. Another is the gradual implementation of smart grids and accompanying communication and information exchange. Yet another is the use of higher frequencies, for instance 5G, as well as the emergence of inductive charging for e-cars.
TC 77 therefore has decided to develop standards relating to the EMC impact of these new technologies. In the first instance, one of its subcommittees, IEC TC 77 B, has been tasked with producing a test standard concerning the immunity against broadband radio-frequency fields. This concerns 5G, in particular.
To find out more about the IEC and 5G, read Measuring human exposure to 5G.