Inaugural Annual Conference "Automotive EMC 2003: Design and Test for Global Markets"


Over 60 delegates attended the inaugural annual Automotive EMC conference at the Marriot-Court Hotel in Milton Keynes on 6th November. This was a cosmopolitan affair, with delegates and presenters making their way from as far afield as the Germany, France, America and Japan to attend as well as a large UK contingent. The event was cosponsored by 3C Test Ltd, Transparent Engineering IMechE Automotive Division and Schaffner EMC.

The event was aimed at automotive electrical/electronic design engineers and EMC test professionals. Over the course of the day, the attendees received 14 papers that reflected the latest state-of-play relating to emerging standards, test equipment, test requirements and current design practices.  The conference delegates represented all aspects of the Automotive EMC industry, design and test services were the largest sections of audience and although there was some OEM employees present, overall their numbers were disappointingly low.  The low turnout from the OEM's is possibly indicative of how little real design and testing occurs at OEM's these days, with this work being primarily performed by their suppliers.Review

The conference reception was busy from 8:30 onwards


Conference Papers

After registration and an introductory welcome, the morning session was kicked off by Dr Ian Noble with an overview of the generic European directive, 95/54/EC - its evolution to its current state and where it is headed. Simon Young of EMV Ltd then reviewed the latest revision of ISO7637, the automotive standard relating to vehicle transients. Terry Beadman of MIRA addressed the EMC requirements for e-marking and CE marking and how these and product safety standards interrelate in the automotive environment. Leading up to the morning break, Rob Nixon of the Vehicle Certification Authority hosted an interactive Q&A session on the practicalities of achieving certification, receiving many questions from the delegates on embedded software, Europe wide approval and the VCA standpoint on policing the e-marking requirements, especially in respect to aftermarket products.


Simon Young illustrates the ISO 7637 load dump pulse (pulse 5).


Suitably refreshed, the delegates then heard Stephan Guttowski from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microelectronics discuss the specific EMC issues arising in the increasing application of electric drives in the automotive environment. This is clearly an area that is presenting automotive electronics engineers with new challenges. The use of a sophisticated new CAD modeling environment for analysing harness EMC problems was outlined by Ulrich Jakobus of EM Software and Systems Gmbh.  The presentation illustrated the convergence of modeling both cables and surfaces in a common CAD platform while retaining the optimum modeling technique for each; FEKO for the surfaces and CableMOD for the harness. Bringing the morning session to a close, Roland Spriessler from test equipment suppliers EM Test described equipment and procedures for the simulation of battery supplies for EMC test purposes, in particular the transients requirements of ISO 7637 and ISO 16750 were covered and a future 42V standard was also mentioned (ISO/CD 21848).

The excellent buffet lunch gave the delegates the opportunity to browse the displays, network and touch base with new and old acquaintances.

Combining the vehicle and harness simulated EM environment into a single CAD tool, Ulrich Jakobus shows how.

From NEC-Tokin in Japan, Shigenori Torihata gave a technical presentation describing a novel, passive E-field sensor that uses a non-conductive optical fibre to allow measurement of field strengths in 3 axes without distorting or interfering with the local test environment. The new E-field sensor was capable of resolving field strengths from 0.1V/m to 1000V/m, particularly relevant to Automotive and Military immunity test requirements.  Martin Wiles of ETS-Lindgren then presented an overview of state-of-the-art EMC test installations, ranging from simple tests cells to full-size drive-in chambers with dynamometers, as illustrated by the new GM facility in the US and a few test services in the UK and Sweden.  Graham Eastwood of Qinetiq presented the results of a study into the TETRA environment when using these high powered mobile handsets in a vehicle.  Although the TETRA results were not conclusive and further work is ongoing, there was some concern over the magnitude of fields these transmitters could generate in the cabin of a typical saloon.  Leading up to the afternoon tea break, Ayhan Gunsaya of the Ford Motor Company described the EM test environment as seen from the OEM's viewpoint. This presentation an impressive video footage of the instrumentation packs of vehicles going haywire when the car they were in drove past a radar installation, along a public highway.  The bottom line of the presentation was that although the OEM specifications look stringent compared to the basic legal requirements, these are derived from real life experience and are not just there to make the suppliers life difficult.

Ayhan Gunsayas' presentation included video of radar interference and ABS testing

Alex McKay of 3C test Ltd compared the proposed transient test requirements for e-marking to actual measurements on a range of modern vehicles. Far from being unnecessary bureaucracy, these requirements are essential to ensure safe, appropriate operation in the hostile automotive environment.  Almost all the vehicles tested gave measured results that compared well with the transient test patterns described in the ISO 7637 test specification.  In a paper entitled "EMC - whose job is it anyway?", Peter Hartnett of Transparent Engineering underlined the necessity to address EMC as a fundamental design activity from the outset.  The paper considered the cost of EMC measures against the cost of engineering and concluded that many EMC measures are overkill and could be avoided, with a cost saving, if the EMC engineering is shared between the supplier and OEM.  The delegates later voted Peter's paper "best of conference", narrowly piping Dr Ian Noble and Ayhan Gunsaya to the post.  The closing paper was presented by the conference organiser/chair, Martin O'Hara, a senior design consultant at Trafficmaster UK and the author “EMC at Component and PCB Level”.  Before his time at Trafficmaster, Martin was an authority on 42V technology at Motorola Automotive Electronics and the paper presented considered the EMC implications of the new 42V Powernet for the automotive design engineer.  The paper concluded that apart from the transient requirements, most other test requirements used for today’s 12V and 24V vehicles are equally adequate for the 42V Powernet enabled vehicle.

Peter Hartnett was voted "Best Paper" by the delegates for his paper which exploded some myths on the most cost effective way to design for EMC.


A small table-top exhibition accompanied the conference and was well supported by the exhibiting companies.  The exhibition was busy in the morning breaks in particular and several of the exhibitors reported making "good contacts" on the day.  The Automotive specific nature of the conference made the targeting easier for the exhibitors and many of the delegates were already customers of the test services and were re-acquainted and brought up-to-date with the services available from the suppliers exhibiting.

The table-top exhibition area accommodated 12 exhibitors. 


An extremely high quality series of papers that addressed both today's practicalities of design as well as future test, measurement and simulation requirements.  


Murray Edington

Team Leader - Power Electronics

Ricardo Consulting Engineers

5th December 2003


© 2003                                                       TOP OF PAGE                                                            HOME