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Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards: review of the requirements

ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Directive 2004/108/EC on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) concerns all electrical and electronic equipment sold on the EU market. All apparatus, systems, and installations, as well as certain components, must align with this standard.
The Directive, which came into force in July 2007, outlined the scope of application of the regulations, established a regulatory framework more suitable for fixed installations, determined the essential requirements, clarified the role of harmonized standards, and streamlined the conformity assessment procedures.

Download for free the Electrical installation Guide 2013Principles

Equipment must be designed and manufactured according to basic electromagnetic protection requirements to ensure that:
1) Electromagnetic interference does not exceed levels that would prevent radio and telecommunications equipment, or other equipment, from operating as intended;
2) The equipment is able to operate as intended in the presence of a certain amount of electromagnetic interference.

Conformity assessment

Procedure for apparatus:
• Use of EMC harmonized standards: EMC testing (wholly or partially under the manufacturer’s responsibility)
• Technical documentation (proof of conformity, measures taken to satisfy the essential requirements if the harmonized standards are not used, EC Declaration of Conformity, and endorsement of a Notified Body on a voluntary basis)
• Information (equipment and manufacturer ID, CE marking, restrictions for use if any, any specific precautions for assembly)


Procedure for fixed installations:

Because of their fixed nature, the official conformity assessment is not required for fixed installations before they are put into service:

  • No specific testing is required
  • Sub-assemblies must be integrated into the installation and used as intended
  • Assembly must follow good engineering practices
  • These practices must be set forth in technical documentation
  • Documentation and information requirements same as for apparatus above

If there is reason to believe that a fixed installation does not meet the standards, such as a lawsuit, the relevant officials are authorized to request proof of the conformity of the installations, and, if justified, conduct an assessment.

Impact of the Directive on Schneider Electric solutions

For fixed installations, the Directive emphasizes “good EMC engineering practices” and the notion of setting these practices forth in technical documentation. The following resources can be used to write the technical documentation intended to help ensure that the Directive’s essential requirements are followed:

In addition to these materials, only EMC testing or audits can ensure that an installation is in conformity with the Directive, given the following factors (list not exhaustive):

  • The complexity of the solutions on offer
  • Changing technology used in the apparatus
  • The use of our solutions as part of efforts to curb environmental impacts
  • Customer-specific requirements (customer specifications with more detailed requirements than those set forth in the regulations)
  • Use of apparatus for purposes other than those for which initially intended (tougher system-level requirements could be forthcoming ).

Given all of these issues, it is crucial to make EMC a priority from the very early stages of the design process to ensure conformity with the good engineering practices required by the Directive.


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