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EMC compliance requirements for electronic/electrical products

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The majority of industry in Australia is now aware of the mandatory EMC compliance requirements, which apply to electronic/electrical products supplied to the Australian market. However, there are still organisations that are not aware, and many more who are aware, but do not fully understand the process.

Why are there EMC regulations?

It is widely known that electronic devices inadvertently emit RF energy during normal operation. With the proliferation of electronic circuits in products and the advances in operating speeds of these circuits, the level and frequency of emissions has significantly increased.

At the same time the radio frequency spectrum has become more densely populated with users including mobile phone services, TV, radio, two way communications, and wireless internet etc.

In order to protect the radiofrequency spectrum from potential interference the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) introduced electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulatory arrangements. These regulatory arrangements form part of the standards which include technical limits for emissions produced by any electrical/electronic product.

What is C-Tick?

The C-Tick is an identification trademark registered to the ACMA, which signifies compliance with applicable EMC (Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) standard and also provides a traceable link between the equipment and the supplier. The C-Tick mark and supplier identification are placed on the external surface of the product near the model number. Any organisation wishing to use the C-Tick compliance mark must first make written application to ACMA.

What does C-Tick legislation require?
* Basically, to comply with the C-Tick requirements a supplier must:
* Obtain an EMC test report to the relevant mandated standard.
* Complete a declaration of conformity.
* Obtain product information.
* Create a compliance folder.
* Apply to the ACMA for use of the C-Tick mark.
* Label the product with the C-Tick mark.

EMC test report:

The supplier must show technical grounds for compliance with the EMC standard relevant to the product. The technical grounds are generally evidenced in the form of a formal EMC test report. If you can not obtain a copy of an EMC test report the product will need to be tested and a report generated.

Declaration of conformity:

The supplier must complete a declaration of conformity. The declaration of conformity is a one page document stating compliance of a product with the relevant EMC standard. The document is signed by the individual accepting responsibility for compliance of the product.

Product information:

Product information on the sample tested should be included in the compliance folder to enable identification and may include brochures, descriptions of the product, circuit diagrams, component overlays, product branding and model details and any other documentation that is available.

Compliance folder:

The compliance folder is simply a folder containing the EMC test report, declaration of conformity and product information. A compliance folder should be held for each product series and all compliance records must be in English. This folder will need to be presented to the ACMA when they visit your premises to perform an audit.

What about CE marking?

CE is the European compliance mark and covers a range of requirements including EMC, electrical safety etc. The EMC requirements are more extensive than those in Australia where only radiated RF and Mains Terminal emission measurements are required. Products simply marked with CE logo should in theory, but do not necessarily comply with C-Tick requirements. Often a report assessment is required to determine if the applicable AS/NZS standard was used and if the report format contains all of the required information.

If a product has a CE marking the importer is still required to hold a compliance folder, one has to fill out a declaration of conformity and affix the C-Tick label to the product. If one is looking to export to Europe they will need to comply with the European EMC Directive.

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