A Step-By-Step Guide To EMC Directive Compliance

The European Union’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2014/30/EU ( – referred to as the “EMC Directive” – is a set of standards for the control of electromagnetic interference emitted by electronic products. All products that are placed on the EU market and put into service must comply with the EMC Directive.

What is EMC Directive? 

Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2014/30/EU is a directive by the European Union which specifies the electromagnetic compatibility of electrical and electronic equipment in the presence of electromagnetic fields within the EU. This can be achieved by shielding sensitive devices from interference caused by external sources, or through design changes that reduce susceptibility to such interference.

The objective of this directive is to ensure that any electronic device emits electromagnetic waves at a level that will disrupt other electronic devices, or interfere with human health.

The directive covers all aspects of electromagnetic compatibility, including interference, immunity, and susceptibility.

Why does EMC compliance testing matter?

EMC compliance testing is a critical aspect of product deployment. It ensures that the product is designed to be reliable and compliant with EMC standards – making it safe for the environment and personal use.

EMC compliance testing also helps to avoid future problems like interference with other devices and networks. Test results may also be sent to your device manufacturer so they can identify and fix any faulty parts.

The EMC testing process 

The EMC testing process is a series of examinations that are conducted to determine the electromagnetic compatibility characteristics of electrical and electronic equipment. Is a process that is used to ensure that the equipment and devices are not producing any form of electromagnetic interference.

The testing process can be broken down into the following steps:

Conducting a preliminary survey to identify the potential sources of interference

The purpose of this step is to identify any potential sources of interference that may affect the device under test  – DUT -. This includes things like power lines, radio stations, and other devices that could interfere with its operation.

Conducting an initial survey on the device under test  – DUT.

Once these potential sources have been identified, examiners will expose the device to them –  to see if it exhibits any signs of electromagnetic interference. 

Conducting an in-depth survey on the DUT.

If the device shows any signs of electromagnetic interference, then the examiner will need to conduct an in-depth survey before declaring it safe for use.

Testing for emissions 

Devices must not interfere with the safe operation of other electronic devices by producing Electromagnetic Interference.

Immunity testing — extra testing

Devices that fall into this category – radios, flight equipment, equipment used in hospitals, for example –  are covered by additional regulations.

Radiated emissions testing

Radiated emissions fall into two categories, the electric field, and the magnetic field. The volts per meter of the electric field and the amps per meter of the magnetic field must both fall within strict limits. 

What are the steps to EMC Directive Compliance? 

The EMC Directive has set out requirements for the production and marketing of electronic equipment, as well as the provision of information to users.

The steps to compliance with this directive are:

Product design

The product design is crucial for EMC compliance. Applying EMC-compliant design principles and adopting precautions like installing shielding and filters can help prevent EMC issues.

Manufacturers must take special care to make sure that the product design doesn’t produce electromagnetic interference that might interrupt the functionality of the other equipment and is immune to EM emissions from other products.

Laboratory testing

Magnetic disturbances are hard to detect, so testing is the only way to find out if they exist. The majority of the equipment can be self-tested under the EMC Directive. However, the tools required to carry out the entire tests are exceedingly pricey. So it is advisable to outsource the EMC tests to a certified EMC test facility  – where testing is carried out in compliance with standardized European regulations.

Technical documentation

Manufacturers are required to prepare and maintain a set of technical documentation or Technical File that demonstrate adherence to the EMC directive. A Technical File not only includes a test certificate and test report, but also the design documentation and paperwork outlining the production process and demonstrating how it guarantees consistent quality. The Technical File must remain in the EU and be accessible for inspection by the market surveillance authorities.

EU Declaration of Conformity

The manufacturer will create an EU Declaration of Conformity once the EMC compliance has been set up and the Technical File has been assembled. This declaration ensures compliance with all European standards, CE directives, and laws.

CE Marking

To complete de EMC Directive Compliance, the CE marking must be applied to the item. The letters must be 5 millimeters in height and have equal vertical dimensions. 

Authorized representative

Direct sales to consumers are not permitted from manufacturers who are not headquartered in the EU or who do not have a subsidiary there. They must have an importer or distributor or else designate an authorized agent to work with.

Continuous compliance

Even if regulations or standards are changed or a product is modified, product compliance must be ensured. This may require redoing the compliance evaluation or updating the paperwork.

Consequences of non-compliance with the EMC Directive

The EMC Directive has been in place since 2004 and it is a regulation that was created to protect the general public from electromagnetic fields. The directive has a lot of requirements for devices that emit electromagnetic fields, but there are some exceptions. For example, it doesn’t apply to medical devices, pacemakers, or hearing aids. It also doesn’t apply to devices with an output power of less than 10 watts per square meter at frequencies between 300 kHz and 100 GHz. 

Some of the consequences of non-compliance with the EMC Directive are:

Health effects

People may suffer from adverse health effects such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, sleep disturbances.

A decrease in property values

The EMC Directive contains a list of measures to be taken by the member states when deciding on whether or not to grant permission for the construction of new installations that use intense electromagnetic fields or radiation. 

It also contains a list of measures for when an installation already exists, and it has been found that it does not comply with the requirements of the directive.

Not complying with these lists of measures might result in a decrease in property values that will prohibit any remodeling or even selling it. 

A decrease in quality of life for the surrounding community

EMC performance can represent the difference between life and death for many products and industries and even for safety issues for the community. Safety-critical applications can be found in several medical, military, industrial, aerospace, and automobile goods, among others.

Lives may be at danger if the products’ functions are compromised by electromagnetic phenomena like power supply spikes, ESD, or radiated electric fields.

Electromagnetic interference

Non-compliance with EMC Directive might cause electromagnetic disturbance or interference produced by the product itself. When it comes to home radio and TV reception, this could have a negative impact on the quality of the signal. It can also block emergency channels, and in some situations—for example, when a radio-controlled crane malfunctions—it could have reliability and safety concerns.


The penalties and repercussions for being caught with a non-compliant product on the market are three months in jail or a £5000 fine. The non-compliant equipment would need to be recalled or replaced by the manufacturer. Enforcing authorities can suspend or prohibit the sale of the product if they have reasonable grounds to believe it is in violation of the law. 

Richard Maxwell

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