Compliance testing at EM Solutions
EM Solutions’ products are deployed in a wide variety of places – land, sea, air and space. Each of these has application-specific compliance requirements governed by military, civilian, aeronautical and space standards and their certifying agencies. The requirements cover environmental testing such as temperature, humidity, vibration, shock, altitude, water ingress, salt fog, as well as sand and dust. They also include electrical requirements such as EMI/EMC, as well as voltage fluctuations on power lines.
EM Solutions has the in-house capability to qualify products for many of these requirements. Qualification of a product includes testing according to a particular standard and reporting the results in an appropriate format. For example, EM Solutions has recently qualified Ka-band BUCs and LNBs to the aeronautical standard DO-160G, governed by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, aka RTCA. Much of the qualification testing for these products was conducted in-house at EM Solutions. EM Solutions has also qualified products ranging from BUCs and LNBs to complete satcom on the move terminals for Military and Commercial standards.
The in-house test facilities at EM Solutions include eight environmental chambers of various sizes, some with the capability of reaching temperatures as low as -55°C to -70°C. Also, EM Solutions has a large environmental room, 4m x 3m x 2.5m in size, which is used for testing large products such as complete satellite terminals, down to temperatures as low as -40°C. The facilities also include a vibration platform, which can be programmed for standard vibration and shock profiles (shown in its lowered position in Figure 1). These environmental facilities are used for product qualification as well as for Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) to produce RF equipment with high quality and reliability.
Figure 1: Vibration platform in lowered position
EM Solutions also has the in-house capability to perform pre-compliance EMI/EMC testing for requirements such as conducted and radiated emissions, and conducted susceptibility, as well as for perturbations on power supply rails. These tests are performed in an RF screened room and provide a good indication of the margin available from the relevant standards. In many cases, this pre-compliance testing will be sufficient for re-qualification of minor upgrades to a product. For other cases, the pre- compliance testing provides a useful reality check prior to visiting a certified laboratory for traceable compliance qualification. This is particularly important for satellite terminals, due to the logistics of transporting the large terminal and supporting equipment to the test laboratory, not to mention the complexity of solving compliance issues on the run! Figure 2 shows a smaller satellite terminal being tested in the EM Solutions RF screened room. Figure 3 shows a larger satellite terminal being tested at EMC Technologies in Melbourne, Australia, 1700km from the factory in Brisbane.
Figure 2: Pre-compliance Radiated Emissions Testing
Figure 3: EMI/EMC Compliance Testing at EMC Technologies, Melbourne
The in-house capabilities for compliance qualification at EM Solutions are an increasingly important asset for the development of new products and their certification to standards. These capabilities can also be made available for local businesses to assist with their certification requirements.