EMC in South America

Region 9 (Latin America) has two IEEE EMC Chapters, in South Brazil and Colombia. During a trip to South America in November 2007, Professor Franz Schlagenhaufer was invited by both Chapters to give talks in Manizales, Colombia, and São Paulo, Brazil on the topic: “Numerical Field Simulation for EMC.” At the same time, Professor Carlos Sartori, chair of the South Brazil EMC Chapter, was also invited to give a lecture in Manizales regarding the fundamentals of EMC.
Manizales, the capital of the department Caldas, is a young city (founded in 1849) with a population of about 400,000 in the Andean region of Colombia. The important industries are growing coffee and educating students. The Manizales campus of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia was host to the IV Simposio Internacional sobre Calidad de la Energía Eléctrica (SICEL 2007: International Symposium on Power Quality) from 19-22 November 2007, and part of this event was dedicated to the topic of electromagnetic compatibility.
On Wednesday 21 November, the third day of the four-day symposium, an EMC workshop was organized. A welcome address from the IEEE EMC Society President, Andrew Drozd, was read who congratulated the young Colombian EMC Chapter on its recent formation. The presentations covered computation of lightning induced transients in power lines, fundamental EMC strategies, and numerical field simulation. A second round of talks focused on research and EMC activities in Colombia, other South American countries, and Australia. A panel discussion concluded the EMC workshop.
With the EMC presentations being under the umbrella of a power quality symposium, it was not astonishing that related topics, such as over-voltages and lightning protection, were an essential part. It once again highlighted the wide dynamic range of electromagnetic problems, stretching from many kilovolts of potential disturbance to few milivolt or even microvolts, and from DC and 50 Hz or 60 Hz to many GHz on the frequency scale. And while Maxwell’s equations are the same all over the world, many empirical features are not; lightning parameters, soil conductivity and remoteness of installations can be quite different in the tropical regions of South America and Europe or North America. Achieving the same degree of power quality can therefore require different strategies for grounding, shielding, or maintenance.
The symposium and EMC workshop were held at the University campus and many students took the opportunity to attend the presentations. It was refreshing to see that young people are enthusiastic about engineering and research, and eager to learn about and work in electrical and electronic engineering.
The second presentation by Professor Schlagenhaufer was to the South Brazil EMC Chapter in São Paulo. While the Colombia Chapter is one of the youngest IEEE EMC Chapters, South Brazil is well established. And while Manizales is a reasonably small city, São Paulo has in its metropolitan area a population of 23 million people. A small but interested audience, with a background mainly in the automotive and aircraft industries, attended the presentation, held at the Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo on 29 November 2007. With many high-tech industries located in and around São Paulo, numerical field simulation is not only important for companies, but also a relevant research topic and a number of post graduate students among the audience were evidence of that. EMC


Participants of SICEL 2007 are shown in front of the lecture building at the Manizales campus of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Franz Schlagenhaufer (in plaid shirt) and Carlos Sartori (in tie) joined the group of students of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales who attended SICEL 2007.

Lunch during SICEL 2007 was located in a very picturesque setting where many informal discussions took place on the topic of EMC.

Professor Carlos Sartori (second from left) is shown with Professor Franz Schlagenhaufer (fourth from left) following his presentation at the Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo for the South Brazil Chapter.


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