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

February 27, 2017

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, this update affects a large number of devices.

The newest EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard superseded EN 61326-1:2006 and became mandatory on August 14, 2015.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. Read further for a summary of significant changes to EN 61326-1.

Performance Criteria

The first part of the definitions in Performance Criteria A and B stay the same in EN 61326-1. However, the 2013 version adds a section related to the “permissable loss of performance.” If the manufacturer doesn’t determine a minimum performance level or permissible performance loss, the user can infer them from reasonable expectations of the equipment or product documentation. In other words, a product’s functionality can still be recovered with user intervention as specified in the 2006 version — this version just has extra verbiage for clarification.

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 that fits into a cylindrical test volume 1.5 m above the ground plane and 1.2 m in diameter when placed on a flat surface.

Immunity in Basic Environments

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. This change is meant to bring the standard closer to non-laboratory environments.

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. Types of equipment affected include Hall-effect sensors and magnetic relays.

Immunity for Industrial Environments

Each line item in the 2013 version now has performance criteria to clarify the 2006 standards. No other changes were made, leaving this section essentially the same.

Immunity for Controlled EM Environments

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.

Immunity for Portable Test and Measurement Equipment

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. It also permits CRT display interference greater than 1 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.

EN 61326-1 2006 vs. 2013

EN 61326-1:2013 includes a few key changes that manufacturers shouldn’t ignore. It also adds clarification to many of the standards mentioned in the 2006 version. Manufacturers should currently be testing to the EN 61326-1:2013 version of the standard. Using the 2006 guidelines is now considered to be out of compliance, and products must adhere to EN 61326-1 to ship to Europe.

For further clarification on these changes or to request testing under EN 61326-1:2013 standards, contact us online. Our team will get in touch to discuss your product’s required testing and how we can provide a comprehensive solution.

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