PCB designs

Why is EMC important at an early stage of designing PCB (printed circuit board)?


I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Build it right the first time." Well, it's even more important when it comes to your PCB boards. EMC compliance is a big deal that can affect your final product's performance, as well as its liability. Here's why this is such an important topic for designers at every stage of their design process:

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is an important topic that engineers designing Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)must consider. EMC refers to the ability of electronic devices and systems to function properly in the presence of electromagnetic disturbances and the ability not to generate disturbances to others. Design for EMC compliance is necessary because it is a requirement for systems in a variety of applications including telecommunications, medical devices, computers, and consumer electronics, among others.

What is electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)?

EMC is the study of how electronic and electrical equipment affects the electromagnetic environment.

EMC is the study of how electronic and electrical equipment affects the electromagnetic environment. An electromagnetic environment (EME) is defined as all sources of electromagnetic radiation in a given location. This includes man-made devices such as cell phones, radio waves from nearby transmitters and even natural phenomena like lightning strikes.

EMC issues may be caused by external sources or internal sources. External sources include high-voltage power lines; high-power transmitters such as broadcast antennas; ignition systems in motor vehicles; lightning strikes; electrostatic discharge from people walking on dry carpeting or wearing synthetic clothing (such as polyester). Internal sources include semiconductor manufacturing processes that generate high levels of static electricity during fabrication or assembly, static discharge between components due to insufficiently grounded electrical wiring during assembly or shipment for retail sale; arcing between conductors when hot solder joints cool too slowly after soldering operations have completed.

The main goal of EMC testing is to ensure that your product won't interfere with other electronics or cause any damage if it's used in harsh conditions. If you're developing a product that uses electricity, it's important to understand how your design will affect its surrounding environment before mass manufacturing begins!

What causes EMC interference?

  • Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation is the most common cause of EMC interference. Radiation is a form of energy that travels through space in the form of electromagnetic waves, which are produced by moving electric charges. The most common types are radio and microwave radiation, but you may be surprised to learn that visible light and infrared (IR) light are also part of this category.

  • Electromagnetic coupling

If two circuits that should be electrically isolated from each other happen to be connected by an antenna or cable, then they can couple together through inductive or capacitive coupling. . This can happen if there is direct physical contact between them—for example when one circuit board touches another—or if there's a piece of metal used as an antenna on one circuit board that makes contact with another circuit board indirectly through the air (for example, if there's a metal standoff connecting two boards together).

The electromagnetic field around the wires of a cable can couple into another circuit board. This can happen when the radiated magnetic field is coupled to the circuit board. 

Here are some of the many reasons why it's important to build your boards right the first time.

As a design engineer, you're going to be in a hurry to finish multiple tasks at your hand but you don't have time for mistakes. And there are many reasons why it's important for you to design your PCB right the first time:

  • Reduce the cost of redesigning and manufacturing--A mistake can cost thousands of dollars in rework fees, so it pays off big time if you can avoid these costs by getting things right at the beginning.

  • Reduce the risk of product failure--No one wants their product recalled because something didn't work right! If there are any problems with your design or fabrication process, they should be caught before they go into production so that issues don't arise later on down the line when they would be much harder (and more costly) to fix than if found earlier on in development stages when changes can still easily be made without affecting production schedules too much.

  • Avoid penalties for non-compliance--Designers need to follow regulations regarding electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) when designing PCBs because failing EMC testing could lead not only do fines but also to loss of customer trust which could cause irreparable damage even if those penalties eventually get waived.

  • Avoid loss of customer trust --Customers won't buy products from companies whose designs fail testing; instead, these customers will go elsewhere where their needs are met better than what companies offering substandard products could provide.

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It's important to understand that EMC is an issue for any electronic system, with or without PCBs. For example, you may be using a power supply that you bought from Amazon and it has no EMC marking. Or you might have an Arduino that doesn't have an EMC shield (shields are basically just big stickers for your circuit board). However, this does not mean that the Arduino won't work!

When we talk about EMC in relation to PCBs and electronics, we're referring specifically to emissions outside of our product. A general rule of thumb is: if your device is emitting radio waves at high frequencies or its parts are conducting electricity at high frequencies—or if it's exposed to electricity flowing through wires or cables connected directly to the product itself—it needs some sort of protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI) from external sources.

The burden of liability falls on the designer, not on the manufacturer, who might not be able to fix an issue in the design later on.

The burden of liability falls on the designer, not on the manufacturer, who might not be able to fix an issue in the design later on.

If you're a designer and you want to avoid being held responsible for problems with your PCB board's electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), then it's important that you understand how EMC works.

An un-EMC-compliant product can result in high repair costs and loss of customers' trust.

When it comes to designing for EMC, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important is that an un-EMC-compliant product can result in high repair costs and loss of customers' trust. Designers are responsible for the EMC of their products, so they should understand what needs to be done early on in order to avoid costly changes later on down the line.

Arriving at a correct solution early on will save you money later on.

The cost of fixing an EMC issue is much greater than the cost of designing it right in the first place. The following are examples:

  • The cost of losing customers' trust and reputation, including loss of revenue and market share

  • Regulatory fines and penalties for non-compliance with regulatory requirements (e.g., FDA, FCC)

How can EMC issues be reduced?

  • Reduce EMC issues by designing PCBs with EMC in mind.

  • Use a shielding technique.

  • Use a grounding technique

  • Use a filtering technique

  • Use a bypassing technique

Validate your PCB design using AI technology in 2023.

In 2022, artificial intelligence technology has become more advance than in the previous decade. From predicting the next disaster to helping humans find the next best pair of eyeglasses and project leaders making calculative decisions for their product launch. Software like Mitai is becoming a top choice for design engineers when it comes to solving EMC issues.

"With Mitai, you can quickly and easily solve your EMC issues and become compliant for the first time. A powerful AI software that analyzes your PCB designs and provides detailed feedback reports, making it easy to identify and address potential EMC problems. Plus, with Mitai, you can get free feedback reports on your designs to help you improve and succeed". 

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When designing PCB circuit boards, designers must plan for EMC issues.

For example:
  • EMC can cause problems in the design process.
  • EMC can cause problems in the manufacturing process.
  • EMC can cause problems with the operation of a circuit board if not considered correctly during design.
It's not just about making sure your device will pass certain tests--it's also about saving yourself time and money in the future, by avoiding costly mistakes before manufacturing begins.
In conclusion, we can say that electromagnetic compatibility is an important consideration when designing PCB circuit boards. It’s important to remember that there are many different sources of EMC interference as well as ways to reduce them. It is also important to make sure that your design is in compliance with any regulatory requirements or standards set by the industry for your target market so it does not impact your ability to sell products globally.
If you have any questions about this topic or other aspects of PCB design, please feel free to contact us today! We would love to help.

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