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Electrical tester goes synthetic

WA ELECTRICAL goods manufacturers and importers may soon be able to prove their products meet the highest level of new Federal Government standards.

Currently, testing to meet top-line electro-magnetic compatibility standards can only be done in the eastern states.

In 1997, the Federal Govern-ment made it mandatory for all electrical goods used in Australia to meet radio frequency emission or EMC standards.

EMC interference is one reason passenger mobile phones are the bane of commercial jet airliners.

Products meeting the standards are now issued with a ‘c-tick’ mark – a white tick in a black circle.

EMC testing laboratory Quan-tum Digital is working on what could be Australia’s first synthetic EMC testing facility. It will operate from its Bassendean site.

Currently, all major EMC tests have to be done in remote outdoor locations to prevent background radio interference, such as commercial radio stations and radio reflection inherent in built-up areas, from corrupting tests.

Quantum’s remote test site is a open field in Gingin, which presents logistical problems.

Major electronics manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard and IBM have synthetic EMC test sites but these are expensive to replicate.

Quantum laboratory manager Roman Gdowski is working on a combination of three materials and a technique that he believes will cut background radio emissions and reflection to acceptable levels.

Quantum has received $50,000 from the WA Government towards development of the facility.

“If our research works, we could possibly eliminate all open air testing,” Mr Gdowski said.

“Then everyone gains – the customers and us. There will be quicker turnaround of testing through the laboratory and we can give manufacturers and importers access to fast data.”

If the synthetic site is successful, Mr Gdowski said Quantum would pursue National Association of Testing Authority certification, bringing it into line with eastern states EMC laboratories.

Quantum will also be able to offer testing to prove WA manufacturers meet the highest level of the European EMC standards, the most exacting in the world.

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