Automotive EMC 2005: The Road to Compliance

11th May 2005, CCN Ost, Messezentrum, Nuremberg


The event this year was held in Nuremberg, Germany alongside the SENSOR+TEST 2005 exhibition.  Numbers were similar to the previous year with 33 registered and 30 attendees, however, as this was the first time outside of the UK the number was pleasing and the questionnaire responses at the end of the event suggested that most participants would return to the same venue.  


Conference Papers


The conference papers were again of very high standard and in general covered most aspects of the automotive EMC world, with the possible exception of PCB level design issues (as commented by one attendee).  This year we had a keynote paper that looked at how the power network on the vehicle has evolved since the first introduction of the automobile and most interestingly how significant the changes are likely to be to the power network in the next 10 years. 


Surprisingly only 1 paper covered the new Automotive EMC Directive (2004/104/EC), due to come into force next year, however this covered the subject very comprehensively for aftermarket components.  My own paper on test standards for the American aftermarket had a very good reception and rather embarrassingly was voted “Best Paper” by the other delegates.  There followed two very interesting papers on test methods, the first of which looked at methods of achieving high field strength signals in specific narrow frequency bands without the expense of a high power wideband amplifier, a potential significant cost saving to test houses.  The following paper looked at a method of eliminating background noise in the time domain for whole vehicle radiated emission testing, resulting in a possible test time of only 20 minutes.  This later method could offer significant cost savings to those involved in whole vehicle tests and could open up this type of testing to services not currently equipped to perform CISPR-12 testing, for a relatively modest outlay.


After lunch two papers on simulation were presented, firstly on the simulation of antenna positioning within the vehicle, which was of great interest to me as a telematics equipment designer.  The example used was a garage door opening system in the 400MHz operating region, but the method was clearly applicable to GPS, GSM/GPRS and other wireless communication devices.  Following the antenna simulation was a paper covering the multi-method simulation of vehicle components and wiring, this paper looked at the integration of different simulation methods rather than the one-method-suits-all approach that is sometimes suggested.  Using the integrated multi-method approach clearly gives some significant benefit and the reduction of many models into a SPICE type simulator makes the analysis easier for electronic designers (such as myself).


One of the most difficult problems to solve in a networked vehicle is which module is causing a problem when testing at the whole vehicle stage and each module has already passed component EMC testing.  This was addressed in the penultimate paper with a software suite, available free of charge, that can link between CAN bus activity and the test process, enabling easier identification of problems and linking the problem cause to the test parameters.  The final paper looked at the plethora of transient tests that are used, especially in the automotive OEM standards, and how these are progressing and where these might be converging.  Unfortunately the harmonisation of OEM standards would appear to be far from close even on this single test type, but at least standard test methodologies are becoming more universally adopted.


Delegate Distribution


The number of attendees from automotive Tier 1 companies was not as large as we had hoped given the size of the German supplier base, but wasn’t bad and for our first event in the country and it was pleasing to have representatives from the largest global Tier 1 suppliers in attendance.  OEM representation was poor, however, with only a single delegate from any OEM, although as we have stated in the past, most EMC work is done by the suppliers rather than the OEM’s these days.  Test services again had good representation and this year we also saw a larger number of consulting companies in attendance.  Academia was almost absent (1 delegate) and is categorised in the “OTHERS” group here.


Geographically the attendance was slightly more diverse than usual with more than half the delegates being non-German (typically 66% are from the UK when hosted in the UK).  There were many UK delegates who made the trip to Nuremberg, several who have attended past Automotive EMC Conferences and it is always pleasing to see familiar faces returning.  This year we had a very good showing from outside Europe with multiple delegates from both Japan and Taiwan in attendance, although again no US attendees.




It would be difficult to fault the facilities provided at the CCN Ost, Nuremberg Messe and this year we had no technical problems at all, everything worked seamlessly.  The only problem occurred during lunch, which took a long time to be served.  I was one of the last served and had waited over an hour by the time my meal arrived!  This was the first time we had opted for a sit-down lunch, previously we have had buffet lunches.  The sit-down arrangement was chosen due to initial low delegate numbers, a buffet being very difficult to predict when half your bookings arrive within the last 2 weeks of the conference.  As we contract the catering in I can only apologise to the others who had to wait a similar time and will have written to the catering supplier with a complaint by the time this text is posted on the website.  




In general it was a very successful conference, responses to the delegate questionnaire concur with this view.  We hope to return to SENSOR+TEST 2007 with Automotive EMC 2007 and will be hoping for an increase in delegate figures if we can better target more of the German supplier base.  Our reliance on internet only marketing (basically the website and newsletter) appears to be less successful in the German market where print media still has a larger presence and we will have to consider ways to address this before planning our return to Germany.  




In 2007 we are planning to return to the UK and locate at the Motor Heritage Centre on 17th May 2006.  It is still early days in the planning cycle and things could change, but current plans include a return of the Table-Top Exhibition we had in 2003 and an organised tour of the Museum after the lunch break.  The “Call for Papers” is expected to be issued in the Autumn (September newsletter), so if thinking of presenting next year start planning your synopsis now!


Martin O’Hara

20th May 2005 

The recently completed CCN Ost Conference Centre, Nuremberg provided an excellent venue.


The Keynote Speech, by Peter Hartnett of Transparent Enginnering, on the future of the vehicle power network generated some interesting points and many questions.


The delegates had good facilities in the conference room, with refreshments available at all times and regular breaks.


Presenters also had good facilaities with choice of podium or headset microphone.  Only Dr Troescher of SimLab used the headset (shown above).


Roland Spreissler of EM Test AG delivered the final paper on the plethora of Automotive Transient tests that are used, particualrly in OEM EMC standards.


Delegates from Tier 1 suppliers and EMC Test Services represented half of the attendee list.


While the host country dominated the delegate geographic distribution, more than half the attendees had travelled from outside Germany to attend.


The Automotive EMC Network had a stand at the SENSOR+TEST Exhibition, although we saw very little activity during our time on the stand.


Questionnaire response summary from the conference is available seperately, click here.

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