NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

EN 61326-1: EMC Emissions/Immunity Requirement Changes for Laboratory Equipment

By Conrad Chu, EMC Engineering Manager, NTS Silicon Valley

EN 61326-1 has been adopted and published in the EU’s Official Journal. As this standard is the applicable standard for Measurement, Control and Laboratory Equipment, it affects a large number of devices.

The EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard superseded EN 61326-1:2006 and became mandatory on August 14, 2015. EN 61326-1:2013 is equivalent to international standard IEC 61326-1:2012.

Summary of Significant Changes

Emissions: The 2006 version references CISPR 11:2003, while the 2013 version references CISPR 11:2009 +A1:2010. The first amendment to CISPR 11:2009 has established alternative radiated emissions limits at 3 meters test distance for “small equipment”, where “small equipment” is defined as “equip­ment, either positioned on a table top or standing on the floor which, including its cables fits in a cylin­drical test volume of 1.2 m in diameter and 1.5 m above the ground plane”.

Basic Immunity Environment (Immunity)

The test levels for electrostatic discharge (ESD) have increased from ±4 kV contact discharge and ±4 kV air discharge in EN 61636-1:2006 to ±4 kV contact discharge and ±8 kV air discharge in EN 61326-1:2013.

For magnetically sensitive equipment, EN 61326-1:2013 adds a new requirement for power-frequency magnetic immunity (IEC 61000-4-8) at a test level of 3 A/m.

Controlled EM Environment (Immunity)

EN 61326:2006 has a port category called “Measurement I/O”, where the manufacturer is allowed to define the test level (i.e. no mandated test level) and state in the product documentation what level the EUT was tested to. In EN 61326:2013 this port category has been removed. Hence the ports that would previously fall under the “Measurement I/O” category would now fall under the remaining “I/O signal/control” category, where the required tests levels are defined by the standard and not left to the discretion of the manufacturer

Portable Environment (Immunity)

For magnetically-sensitive equipment, EN 61326-1:2013 adds a new requirement for power-frequen­cy magnetic immunity (IEC 61000-4-8) at a test level of 3 A/m.

How this Affects Existing and New Test Programs

NTS has been testing to this latest standard with all reports to be issued to the EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard.

Customers who wish to update their product(s) to the 2013 version can do so based on applicable testing needed. Once the additional test requirements are fulfilled, the report (s) can be reissued to reflect the 2013 version.

Despite the addition of new magnetic immunity requirements in EN 61326-2:2013, in most cases magnetic immunity testing will still not be required as the testing is only required for devices that contain components inherently susceptible to magnetic fields.

Conclusion

Manufacturers should be testing to the EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard.

For more information about how this change affects your products or for a price quote for services, please contact us at sales@nts.com or call 800-270-2516.

Declaration of Conformity Changes for Multimedia Equipment

By Deniz Demirci, Senior Wireless/EMC Engineer, NTS Silicon Valley

Manufacturers of Multimedia Equipment, including Information Technology Equipment (ITE), Audio, Video Equipment, Sound and Television Broadcast Receivers and Associated Equipment and Professional Use Audio, Video, Audio-Visual and Entertainment Lighting Control Apparatus or any combination of these equipment, intended for sale in the European Union (and other countries that base their EMC regulations on CE marking) should take note of the following changes that are slated to go into effect with regard to the Declarations of Conformity as per EMC Directive 2014/30/EU. All hardware products marketed in the European Union must comply with these newer editions of the standards and have updated Declarations of Conformity (DoC) by the dates listed below.

This is applicable for all new products as well as for products that are currently being marketed and intended to be sold after these dates. Products whose DoCs are not updated by the required date should not be sold in the European Union.

Multimedia Equipment Emission requirements:

  • After March 5, 2017 DoCs have to reference EN 55032:2012. EN 55032:2012 will replace EN 55013:2013+A1:2016, EN 55022:2010+AC:2011 and EN 55103-1:2009+A1:2012
  • If your Declaration of Conformity (DoC) references EN 55013 or EN 55020 or EN 55103-1, the DoC needs to be updated to EN 55032
  • DoCs have to reference EN 61000-3-3:2013. EN 61000-3-3:2013 has superseded the previous version (EN 61000-3-3:2008) on June 18, 2016. Any references to the EN 61000-3-3 standard in your Declarations of Conformity must be updated.
  • DoCs have to reference EN 61000-3-2:2014. EN 61000-3-2:2014 has superseded the previous version (EN 61000-3-2:2006 +A1:2009 +A2:2009) on June 30, 2016. Any references to the EN 61000-3-2 standard in your Declarations of Conformity must be updated.
  • Any future changes on these standards above will have 1 year transition period after they are harmonized and listed in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Multimedia Equipment Immunity requirements:

EN 55024:2010 is the current harmonized standard for EMC Directive 2014/30/EU for Information Technology Equipment.

EN 55020:2007+A12:2016 is not listed as an harmonized standard in EMC directive but it can be used as state-of-the-art standard for Sound and Television Broadcast Receivers and Associated Equipment until EN 55035 is published.

EN 55103-2:2009 is the current harmonized standard for EMC Directive 2014/30/EU for Audio, Video, Audio-Visual and Entertainment Lighting Control Apparatus for Professional Use.

CISPR 35:2016 (Electromagnetic compatibility of multimedia equipment – Immunity requirements) has been published and it is expected to be adapted by European Union. Although the exact dates are not known yet, when it is published and harmonized for EMC Directive, EN 55035 will cover Information Technology Equipment, Audio, Video Equipment Sound and Television broadcast receivers and associated Equipment and Professional Audio, Video and Entertainment Lightning control apparatus and any combination of this equipment.

When EN 55035 is harmonized and listed in the Official Journal of the European Union, there will be no transition period for Sound and Television Broadcast Receivers and Associated Equipment and EN 55035 will be immediately in use. Information Technology Equipment and Professional Audio, Video and Entertainment Lightning control apparatus will have 1 year transition period.

Korea has already adapted previous draft version of CISPR 35 as KN 35:2015 which supersedes KN 20 and KN 24.

For more information about how this change affects your products or for a price quote for services required to update your product, please contact us at sales@nts.com or call 800-270-2516.

Challenges of Meeting Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) Requirements

Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) requirements for products that operate in certain 5 GHz bands are now firmly established in most regions of the world. DFS is a mechanism that allows sharing of spectrum with radar systems operating in the 5250-5350 MHz, 5470-5725 MHz and in some regions of the world 5725-5850 MHz of the RF spectrum. Regulatory authorities required this sharing mechanism when the decision to open this spectrum up for uses like WiFi was adopted. The mechanism needed to verify that a channel is free of radar before using it, monitoring a channel for radar once a channel is in use, vacating the channel if radar is detected and remain off of a channel on which radar has been detected.

In some cases, the requirements have continued to evolve. For example, last year the FCC updated their testing procedures (KDB 905462 D02) for the Bin 5 radar type waveform to use a fixed width chirp in a given trial and changed which frequencies are used for each trial in the statistical performance check.

A continuing challenge is the requirement that the FCC pre test all products that are required to detect radar transmissions prior to a grant of equipment authorization being issued by a Certification Body. Depending on the FCC workload this can delay FCC certification by 1-3 months.

Since DFS compliance is primarily related to the software controlling a radio, it is necessary to involve software development personnel in DFS evaluation process that includes debug of issues found during testing. In addition, a description of how the product software that controls the radio DFS functions is secured to prevent tampering with by users of the product is necessary for product approval.

DFS testing involves different operation of the radio from other certification testing. Normal product operation with the added ability to restrict DFS functions and report detections are needed (KDB 905462 D04). Testing will proceed more quickly if a complete setup typical of actual use with the device configured to communicate with another product in a manner that produces a sufficiently high use of the channel (typically 17-30%). Additional information needed for performing the tests are the modes of operation, 99% bandwidth for each mode and antenna types and gains (testing with the lowest gain antennas is required).

If you have any questions regarding the best methods to ensure your DFS test session is successful to gain compliance, ask our experts or call 800-270-2516.

3D Modeling Aids the “Digitization of Science”

CT ScannerIn January 2016, Popular Mechanics paid a visit to the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland and met with Nick Pyenson, paleontologist and curator  of the Marine Mammal Collection, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world.  The team at NTS Chesapeake has been providing CT X-ray scanning support to Pyenson in its large scale scanner, enabling him to study larger specimens from the collection, such as blue whale skulls.

Check out the Popular Mechanics article by Matt Blitz here.

Training: HALT – Product Design and Reliability

Do you need to know how much margin your product has beyond the specification limits? Is your design too close to the limit or possibly over-engineered?

For those responsible with designing products–ensuring the quality and overall reliability–these questions must be answered before their products go to market. Equally important is having certified that their products have met its specified reliability requirements while avoiding delays and incurring additional costs.

Join engineers and technicians from our NTS Chicago facility as they host an all-day, interactive seminar March 3, 2017 on HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Test) covering the basics, the benefits and its relationship with your product’s reliability. Additionally, they will introduce other available tools designed to prevent infant mortality (e.g. HASS – Highly Accelerated Stress Screening) as well as share with you, answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on product reliability testing.

Visit our events page to learn more and register today!

For more information on HALT testing offered by NTS, click here.

Training: MIL-STD-810G: Understanding, Planning and Performing Climatic and Dynamic Testing

NTS is once again pleased to host the Equipment Reliability Institute at our Santa Clarita, CA location on March 6 -9 for a four-day in depth course covering the climatic and dynamic testing methods needed to meet the requirements of the MIL-STD-810G standard.

This 4-day class focuses on the purpose of each test, the equipment required to perform each test, and the methodology to correctly apply the specified test environments. This class is applicable to ANY testing done to Environmental test standards including DO-160, IEC specifications, and all other documents which provide test methodology for environmental testing. The test methods explained and taught in this class apply to environmental testing of ANY equipment whether it is intended for military/aerospace, commercial, or consumer use.

To learn more and to register, visit the Equipment Reliability website.

Training: Modern Practices in Intermediate Vibration Testing

Santa Clarita Vibration TablesNTS Santa Clarita is pleased to host the IEST for the course “Modern Practices in Intermediate Vibration Testing” on February 7, 2007.

The purpose of this course is to offer a comprehensive familiarization with leading edge issues and best practices in vibration during all phases of the system development. Moving beyond the basics to more complex and realistic vibration scenarios, the student will interact with the instructor and fellow students to maximize understanding of leading concepts in fatigue theory, requirements development, advanced test techniques (including multi-axis and synergistic testing), and vibration test management.

Numerous “how to” examples and vibration testing “traps or pitfalls” will be discussed in class. During an extensive case study, the students will participate in a detailed practical exercise designed to demonstrate the development and execution of a complex vibration test program.

The course will be instructed by Robert L. (Andy) Anderson. Andy has over 35 years experience in the test industry, most recently serving as Dynamics Manager for NTS in El Segundo.

Visit the IEST website for more details and to register here.

To learn more about NTS vibration testing capabilities, click here.

Reusable Shopping Bag Mandates and Your Polymer Testing

Plastic bags have an undeniable impact on our environment, and it’s not for the better. Up to 300 million plastic bags find their way from the U.S. to the Atlantic Ocean each year, where they cause harm to countless sea life. Some of the most impacted species include porpoises, turtles and other animals that eat jellyfish because a floating plastic bag will often look like a delicious snack.

On land, our bags clog pipes and sewers, take up landfills and spoil waterways, and each discarded bag may kill as many as four animals per year.

These environmental concerns are causing a push for reusable shopping bags, and many cities are looking at banning single-use grocery bags. The first statewide ban has come in California with legislation touting the benefits of reusable plastic bags but also new requirements like those from the Environment Choice Program. Here’s why your business should take note of California’s Proposition 67.

See How the Plastic Bag Ban in California Impacts You

The recent passage of Proposition 67 ratifies a 2014 plastic bag ban in California. This bans retailers from giving out single-use grocery bags at checkout. The goal is to eliminate waste and make the state more environmentally friendly. And the Los Angeles Times says this will get rid of about 15 billion pieces of trash each year.

That’s a major change that will likely see more people using tote bags and create an emphasis for the need to test reusable plastic bags so you are staying within the bounds of the law. Reusable shopping bags are now needed, and you’ll have to make sure you’re in compliance.

Proposition 67 creates a new set of standards for the material content and durability of reusable utility bags. The California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling, or CalRecycle, has long touted the benefits of reusable plastic bags, and now it will be in charge of inspecting manufacturers’ bags to make sure they meet new requirements.

Meet Your Reusable Plastics Needs With NTS

CalRecycle is expected to provide a series of new guidelines for plastic bag testing as well as changes to overall plastics and polymer testing to make sure bags can be used multiple times, with the goal of being less likely to end up in the landfill or littered on the street.

What does that mean for you?

You could face fines or worse by offering a degradable product, creating a need to test reusable plastic bags. For most of the manufacturers we work with, plastics testing can be difficult and hard to verify internally for the purposes of meeting regulations. That’s why NTS offers plastic bag testing.

Consumer-grade products need to balance versatility and longevity with cost, so we’ve built a polymer testing service that can help you meet regulatory requirements plus keep your manufacturing costs lower. We’re staying on top of the new CalRecycle requirements, the Environmental Choice Program reusable utility bag requirements and potential changes that may happen during 2017.

Work with NTS for your rubber, polymer and plastics testing to know you’re safe and ready for what the new year brings.

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New and Upgraded Aerospace Test Capabilities in Santa Clarita

As part of our continual effort of improvement, the Santa Clarita laboratory has just opened a revamped acoustic test facility along with a brand new vibration facility. It features two oversized doors to easily accommodate large test items and staging/prep area with an 8 ton crane.

The upgraded acoustic facility features:

  • 5,000 cubic foot Reverb Chamber
  • 1,400 square foot High Bay
  • Class 100k (ISO Class 8) Clean Room
  • M+P and PAK Closed Loop Control Systems
  • 100+ Instrumentation Channels (Microphones Accelerometers, Force Sensors, Strain Gages)

The new vibration facility features:

  • 2,500 square foot Vibration Facility
  • 15 Ton Crane
  • 2 Ling 340 Shakers 30,000 lbf ea.
  • Class 100k (ISO Class 8) Clean Room
  • Closed Loop Control Systems
  • 100+ Instrumentation Channels

NTS Santa Clarita is one of the largest test facilities in the U.S., covering over 150 acres. Whether you require small component level testing or massive complex system simulation, our mission is to streamline testing, verification and evaluation processes to reduce cycle time and bring your product to market faster.

Our technical experts have extensive experience providing a variety of complex test setups gained from our experience with major aerospace and defense related programs over the last 55+years. Click the here to request a quick quote and let us help you expedite your next project!

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersize X-Ray Analyzer (EDS) Technology now in Anaheim, CA

We are pleased to announce the addition of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with fully integrated expanded Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analyzer (EDS) at our Anaheim, CA materials testing lab! This capability has been in place at our Baltimore, MD lab for the past year and clients have been thrilled with the high resolution imaging and range of acceleration voltages provided by this research-grade technology.

For those new to the technology, SEM allows for visual observation of an area of interest in a completely different way from that of the naked eye or even normal optical microscopy. The images generated by the SEM show greater contrast between organic-based and metallic-based materials and thus instantly provide a great deal of information about the area being inspected. Simultaneously, EDS can be used to obtain semi-quantitative elemental results  about very specific locations of interest.

Some common uses of SEM and EDS are contamination analysis, solder join evaluation, component defect analysis, inter metallic evaluation, Pb-free reliability, elemental mapping, tin whisker detection, and black pad analysis.

Click here to learn more about SEM/EDS. Contact our Anaheim, CA or Baltimore, MD lab to discuss your programs today.