ACEC Tackles Regulatory Statements in
EMC Standards and Other Issues

Over 20 people attended the late fall 2005 meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Advisory Committee on EMC (ACEC), held at the IEEE headquarters in Piscataway, New Jersey, USA. ACEC provides a forum for airing EMC issues among all the IEC technical committees which have EMC interests or applications. This meeting focused on several issues, but the one most interesting was that on documenting suggestions as to which statements should not be included in EMC standards (IEC standards in particular) as they are regulatory in nature and that is then the concern of regulating bodies and authorities and not the standards writers. This matter was brought to attention by Mr. Robert DeVry, the European Electrotechnical Standards Body (CENELEC) EMC consultant as a liaison message from CENELEC committee TC210. After over an hour of deliberation (and following on from discussions at two previous ACEC meetings), ACEC agreed to send their recommendation to the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB) of the regulatory wording that should be avoided in IEC product (family) and generic EMC standards. The statements included:

  1. Referring to the role of national authorities in general, for example, indicating that national authorities may relax the standards requirements, ignore them or make them more severe.
  2. Concerning the legal responsibilities or legal roles of parties involved (manufacturers, operators, authorities, etc.).
  3. Referring to sales restrictions, legal sanctions, obligations for entering the market, ban of sales, contractual arrangements/relations between parties.
  4. Imposing obligations outside the scope of the standards, as for example: obligation to perform tests in locations defined by non-technical parameters, such as manufacturer’s premises or third party laboratories.
  5. Related to cases of dispute but not all. Note: A replacement suggested in lieu of the dispute statement is: “Where a standard gives options for testing particular requirements with a choice of test methods, compliance can be shown against any of the test methods using the appropriate limit. In any situation where it is necessary to re-test the equipment, the test method originally chosen should be used in order to guarantee consistency of the results.”
  6. Including dates of application of the standard as a normative part of the standard. Note: Advice on dates can be placed in an informative annex or in an introductory informative clause in the standard.
  7. Introducing provisional limits or requirements. Note: Advice on any such provisions may be placed in an informative annex.

As of this writing, the SMB had not yet met to consider the proposal. It is hoped that this recommendation will be accepted.
Another “hot” topic at the meeting was the future of IEC committees which provide horizontal standards that should be considered by product committees. An example is the work of the IEC Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) which provide for emission limits that should be widely applied to protect the radio spectrum/usage. This topic is being considered as the SMB is ready to make changes to IEC Guide 108. (The relationship between technical committees with horizontal functions and product committees and the use of basic publications.) The changes proposed initially appeared to eliminate horizontal committees as it was felt that all the documents produced by committees by that name would have to be used or reviewed by all the product committees for applicability to their work. This is a daunting task as there are probably a hundred or so such standards. In fact, such committees do not publish standards that are all horizontal in nature. Upon further review, there were words that indicated that the horizontal function is still needed but that the committees will not be called “horizontal” to avoid the confusion of applicability noted above.
ACEC deliberated for hours on the implication of modifications to Guide 108 at this meeting. Finally, in the end the committee decided that to be quite clear on the role and ownership of EMC standards which should be considered by all product committees, it was best to avoid being swept up with the other horizontal committees addressed in Guide 108. Since the major IEC committees (TC77 (EMC) and CISPR) present guidance to product committees already in Guide 107 (Electromagnetic Compatibility—Guide to the drafting of electromagnetic compatibility publications), ACEC crafted a request to the SMB to address ACEC’s comments on Guide 108, i.e. that it was not really the intention to include EMC within Guide 108 and hence the following words should be entered in the revision to this Guide: “This guide does not apply to EMC and Safety standard activities as these are explicitly addressed in IEC Guides 107 and 104.” (The preparation of safety publications and the use of basic safety publications and group safety publications.) Since in Guide 107 there are several references to Guide 108 clauses, if this clause is accepted, ACEC will then launch an activity to revise Guide 107 eliminating references to Guide 108 so that it is a stand alone document.
There were many reports presented at the meeting from a variety of standards organizations such the ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union—Telecommunications) and CENELEC as well as IEC product committees which attend such meetings; including IEC TC22 which at this meeting presented their work on adjustable speed electrical power drive systems—Part 3: EMC requirements and specific test methods (which, by the way, involve emission standards set by CISPR Subcommittee B on Industrial, Scientific and Medical Devices). The work of TC77 and CISPR and their joint task forces was presented. A lively discussion was held on the current situation in standardization and regulatory activity on power line communications.
ACEC is chaired by Dr. Bill Radasky of Metatech with Dr. Remy Baillif of the IEC Central Office serving as the committee secretary. The membership is comprised of:

  • Four representatives from TC 77 and subcommittees
  • Four representatives from CISPR and subcommittees
  • Experts appointed by the Standardization Management Board of the IEC
  • Representatives of technical committees whose activities include EMC matters as an important part of their work

The author is a member of ACEC serving as one of the representatives from CISPR (Chairman of CISPR Subcommittee A on Radio–interference and statistical methods).
The next meeting of ACEC is scheduled for the end of May 2006 in Paris. EMC


Introducing the New Chair of the EMC Society Standards Education and Training Committee (SETCom)

Dr. Ye is a Project Leader and Research Scientist in Electromagnetics and Compatibility for the Communications Research Center, in Ottawa, Canada. His research involves Ultra-Wideband (UWB) antenna design, EM simulation by FDTD, numerical methods for electrically large structures, interaction between humans and cell phones, and similar studies. His professional and academic experience is varied. Since 2003, he is an Adjunct Research Professor, Electronics Department, at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada where he advises graduate students. He obtained his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada, 2000. He obtained his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at the Beijing Graduate School, North China Electrical Power Institute (now North China Electrical Power University), China, 1988. His Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering was awarded from the Hefei University of Technology, Anhui, China, 1983. Dr. Ye is a member of URSI Commission B, a Senior Member of the IEEE AP-S, MTT-S and EMC-S, and a member of the Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society (ACES). He is also a member of EMC-S TC 9 on Computational Electromagnetics as well as a reviewer for the IEEE Transactions on AP, MTT, and Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters.
The Standards Education and Training Committee (SETCom) is responsible for preparing and conducting seminars for working groups on the development, coordination, balloting, and support of IEEE EMC standards, as well as enhancing the awareness of IEEE EMC standards throughout the EMC community and demonstrating how these standards can be effectively applied to the development, production, and use of equipment and systems.
Dr. Ye has already arranged a technical session at the Portland EMC Symposium on the subject of EMC standardization.
He can be reached on
Please join the Standards Committee members in welcoming Qiubo Ye to our EMC Society standards leadership community.

MIL-STD-1541 Update
A meeting was held January 9, 2006 in Reno, Nevada to initiate a new American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) standard to update and convert MIL-STD-1541A to a military/commercial/civil space standard. The initial draft is based on a recently-released Aerospace Corporation document which is already being levied on some contracts. Companies and individuals interested in participation on this fast–paced (goal is to have the standard completed in November 2006) activity should contact Michele Ringrose of the AIAA, The progress of this AIAA S-121 standard development will be tracked through the IEEE EMC Society SACCom.


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