Who has the current lead in EMC?

An editor’s reflections . The EMC area has evolved in different directions since it was born about hundred years ago. From the beginning, the driving force was concerns about unintentional interference from electronics and how such interference might affect the new public radio broadcasting services.

During the cold war, the interest of EMC issues increased in the military area when platforms, such as aircraft and ships, become more dependent on advanced electronic systems on board. As a result of the nuclear threat, the protection against nucelar electromagnetic pulse (NEMP) become of major concern, both for military platforms and critical infrastructure in the society. During the cold war, lots of large investements were done in test facilities, computational electromagnetics, and design rules within all subareas of EMC.


Today, the largest interest for EMC issues seems to have shifted to another area once again. Even if the military area is still concerned about EMC issues, the automotive area seems to have taken the lead in the further development of the EMC area.


The strong competition within the automotive area, togehter with the increased use of digital technologies and wireless services, has made EMC issues of critical concern for succesful development of new car models. Due to the high requirements on reliability and trust in the automotive area, lots of EMC subareas have to be handled with great concern. Examples are shielding, grounding, antenna design, intersystem interference, crosstalk, and ESD.


The last year, it has been a clear trend at EMC conferences that the publications from automotive applications deal with several of the most challenging EMC problems right now and several automotive companies are investing in their own large EMC test facililites.


Thus, in the post cold war era, it looks like the automotive area has taken over the leading role from the military side. The automotive area is therefore an example where EMC issues are one of the necessary enablers for succesful business.


Peter Stenumgaard
EMC-editor, Electronic Environment