EMC Directive

The current EMC directive (2014/30/EU) was published in 2014 bringing it inline with the New Legislative Framework (NLF). The directive came into force on the 20th April 2016 and replaced the previous directive 2004/108/EC without any transition period.  There was little effects for manufactures with the exception of:

  • Custom built evaluation kits destined for professionals to be used solely at research and development facilities for such purposes were excluded from the scope of the directive
  • Technical file contents are still largely the same with the exception of new additions being added for completing an adequate analysis and assessment of the rick(s), this is part of the technical documentation
  • Article 14 of the directive states that the manufacture may choose to restrict the application of the EU-type examination (Annex III) procedure to some aspects of the essential requirements, provided that for other aspects of the essential requirements the inter production control (Annex II) procedure is applied

Summary

The EMC Directive does differ from other CE marking directives as its primary requirement is the functionality of equipment and the protection of the radio spectrum rather than the safety of the equipment.

A vast majority of electrical/electronic products must comply with the requirements of the directive, whether battery or mains powered. Exceptions include but are not limited to components and sub-assemblies with no intrinsic function and products already covered by other directives such as Radio equipment, medical devices, aircraft and their components; road vehicles and items for automotive applications; agricultural tractors

The EMC directive requires that products must not emit unwanted emissions and must also be immune from being interfered with.  To demonstrate compliance with these requirements testing to harmonized standards is usually done, however testing is not mandatory as manufactures can choose the technical assessment route.

Within the UK the directive is police by the local trading standards service and Ofcom.  Penalties for non-compliance can be £5000, three months in prison and would generally involve a total product recall and replacement to affected product.

Purpose

The EMC Directive 2014/30/EU is one of a series of measures enacted under Article 114 of the Treaty of Lisbon (formally Article 100a of the Treaty of Rome). Article 14 directives all have the primary objectives of creating a single European market for goods and services providing producers and consumers with benefits of economies of scale that this offers.

The EMC directive and identical requirements for the performance of electrical/electronic apparatus in every country within the European Economic Area (EEA).

These requirements are intended to ensure that all electronic/electrical apparatus will function without being interfered with or interfering with other apparatus.

Scope

The Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive is one of the widest in its application and all electrical products must comply whether they are mains or battery powered. There is only one exception and that is components or sub-assemblies with no intrinsic function (i.e. their use cannot be defined unless they are combined with other components) and certain electrical products and systems which are already covered by other directives.

Example of components which do not need to comply are:

  • Plugs and sockets
  • Resistors
  • Capacitors

There are more complex sub-assemblies such as:

  • Power supplies
  • Electronic controls
  • Cards for PC’s

As a rule of thumb, if it possible to make meaningful EMC tests on a product then it needs to comply and be CE marked accordingly, unless it is covered by one of the specific exclusions.

Products that are covered by a specific directive containing EMC requirements are also excluded from the scope 2014/30/EU.  An example of this:

  • Medical devices
  • Radio equipment
  • Road vehicles

Other exclusions from the requirements of the directive but still must still meet the basic requirements are fixed installations.  These must also meet the requirements for technical documentation.

Some of the communications apparatus covered under the Radio Equipment Directive are excluded from the EMC directive.

History

The original EMC directive, 89/336/EEC, was enacted in 1989 and came into force on the 1st January 1992 with a transitional period ending on the 31st December 1995. The directive has been amended several times – Directive 92/31/EC extended the transitional period to allow manufactures more time to implement the requirements and in 1993 Directive 93/68/EEC aligned the CE marking requirements more closely with those of the other New Approach directives. Directive 98/13/EC amended the requirements for certain telecommunications apparatus, and was itself later replaced by 99/5/EC

Following a period of consultation and development a new EMC directive, 2004/108/EC was published in the OJ on the 31st December 2004. The directive came into force on the 20th July 2007 with a transitional period ending on the 20th July 2009. The fundamental protection requirements of the new directive remained the same as those of the old one, but there were certain changes in the administrative and attestation requirements.

On the 20th April 2016, Directive 2004/108/EC was replaced with 2014/30/EU. The new Directive makes very little practical difference to the requirements or procedures which manufacturers must apply to products and is mainly intended to clarify the obligations of importers and distributors to bring the Directive into line with the other consumer product related directives.

Enforcement

The EMC directive in implemented in the UK with “The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016”

Within the UK the directive is enforced by Trading Standards and Ofcom.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for the supply of non-compliant equipment is three months imprisonment and/or a £5000 fine. More normally the manufacturer would be required to recall or replace any non-compliant apparatus. The enforcing authorities have the power to suspend or prohibit sale of apparatus for which they have reasonable evidence that it does not comply.

EMC assessment

To meet the requirements of the EMC directive the manufacture should complete and EMC assessment which provides a record of a technical analysis justifying a manufacturer’s claim of compliance.