Anthony A. DiBiase
There is an evolution in the study of electromagnetic field effects on electrical and electronic products and systems. It is progressing from an engineering art to an engineering science. This is in part due to the fact that the electromagnetic field source environment is increasing in complexity along with a greater intensity. The complexity and sophistication of newer technology products has added to an increased need for more consideration of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) factors. These factors have increased the requirement for technical universities to implement programs in EMC Engineering degree studies into their engineering curriculum. EMC Engineers are needed to work in electrical and electronic design formulations to insure that they meet their functional and regulatory compliance requirements.
The lack of a systematic universal program for the formal education of EMC Engineers at the university level, nationally, is impacting the United State’s competitiveness in the global economy. EMC Engineering studies at the university undergraduate and graduate level are required in order to aid product manufacturers in producing their products at lower cost and also allowing them to meet their time-to-market objectives. The issuing of new regulatory directive and standards by an increasing number of counties requires well trained EMC Engineers that can efficiently and cost effectively respond to all these new regulatory compliance requirements.
UNIVERSITIES ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING CURRICULUMS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO EMC ENGINEERING
Knowledge in the field of the laws-of- physics, including electromagnetic field theory, is required in the understanding of the principles related to EMC Engineering. The lack of an adequate EMC design development education on the university level is contributing to erosion of the United State’s (US) technical and export capabilities. At the present time this field of study is not a standard requirement in the engineering programs of most universities. A comprehensive knowledge in the disciplines of electrical, mechanical, chemical, and computer science are required as a prerequisite base for performing design and certification tasks related to EMC.
The study of requirements for an EMC engineering program produces the fact that they have a very good fit with the existing electrical engineering program, since the required curriculum prerequisite courses are already exist within the electrical engineering program. Engineers whose responsibilities include the design and development of electrical and electronic products and systems must deal with issues related to EMC for these products and systems, for they must be designed to meet their regulatory compliance requirements. These engineers must possess the education and work experience background to effectively perform this task.
PRESENTLY AVAILABLE EMC EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Listed below are some of the EMC educational resources that are available to EMC Engineers that can aid them in their continuing education efforts.
• EMC webinars presenting information on various EMC topics
• EMC seminars which have presentation on EMC subjects
• Symposiums where various EMC subjects are discussed
• University sponsored EMC programs which provide instructions on various EMC topics
• EMC experience obtained by working in EMC job related positions
• Individual EMC studies through reading EMC material in technical articles published in periodical magazines (i.e. ITEM)
• Attending universities sponsored courses in EMC studies, for example;
• Clemson University (Vehicle Electronics Laboratory – CVEC). The Clemson University automotive engineering program awards degrees for a curriculum that includes EMC studies
• The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) – Has a program that awards certificates in EMC studies.
• George Washington University Center for Professional Development – The university has presented educational seminars on EMC related subjects.
• University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Collage of Engineering – Has sponsored seminars on the topic of EMC.
• University of Missouri College of Science and Technology at Rolla – The university has recently opened a new EMC research center in partnership with a major corporation involving an aviation research project.
• University of Michigan – The university is involved in cosponsoring seminars that are related to EMC automotive systems.
• Grand Valley State University – Provides EMC studies for EMC Engineers through their EMC Center.
• Oklahoma State University – Presents short courses covering EMC topics including EMC testing considerations
These EMC continuing education resources can be utilized to allow EMC Engineers to expand their knowledge base, but they do not substitute for a formal EMC education coupled with work experience.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMC ENGINEERS
There are many career opportunities for EMC Engineers available, some of these are listed below.
• Working with EMC requirements in the design and development of electrical
and electronics products and systems.
• (2) EMC test engineering that involves EMC testing of products and systems in
their development, pre-compliance, and compliance stages.
• Quality Assurance and Reliability engineers that are responsible for assuring that EMC requirements of products and systems are maintained though to their end-of-life stage.
• Regulatory Compliance managers that are responsible for managing a EMC
regulatory compliance program, and to insure that the manufacture’s products
meet their cost and time-to-market objectives.
• Sales Engineers that sale EMC test equipment are required to have basic knowledge in EMC theory and practical EMC practices.
• EMC consultants with advanced knowledge in specialized areas of EMC applications.
• Research EMC Engineers working in the field of studying on the effects of electromagnetic fields on electrical and electronic products and humans.
• EMC Software engineers responsible for the development EMC simulation programs.
A formal EMC education at the university level is an excellent basis for becoming an effective and competent EMC Engineer.
While there are various sources of EMC educational programs available to engineers, the requirement for a comprehensive standardized formal educational program at the university level is urgently needed, and will increase in the years to come. EMC engineering will continue to evolve an EMC education based on a trial-and-error approach method to an engineering science. This is due to the fact that EMC principles are derived from the basic laws of physics and their complexity. Therefore, the need for the understanding of the theoretical and the practical application of EMC principles becomes essential. It needs to become a standardized integral part of the electrical engineering curriculum.
Anthony A. DiBiase is the president of Spec-Hardened Systems, which is an EMC and Product Safety consulting firm. He has 25 years of experience consulting in the field of EMC, Product Safety, and Environmental/Health Safety. He was employed for a period of 30 years at the Eastman Kodak Company. His responsibilities in this company included Reliability, Quality Assurance Engineering, and radiation and nuclear effects hardening of spacecraft system designs. He also was employed working in the field of radiation and nuclear effects hardening at the General Electric Company and the Bell Aerospace Corporation. He is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and holds a BSEE degree. He has presented many seminars and training programs on the topics of EMC and Product Safety.