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SwRI Electromagnetic Compatibility Research Section gains international accreditation

ISO 9002 and ISO/IEC Guide 25 standards met

July 13, 1998 -- San Antonio -- The Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Research section in the Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) Automation and Data Systems Division was recently qualified by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) as meeting ISO 9002 registration and ISO/IEC Guide 25 (European Norm 45001) accreditation.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed the ISO 9000 series of standards in 1987 to help systematize varying national and international standards that establish the basic requirements necessary to document and maintain an effective quality system. ISO 9002 provides the framework for an overall quality system in production, installation, and services, while ISO/IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) Guide 25 provides specific guidelines to ensure that accurate data are generated, test methods are controlled and appropriate, and all procedures are conducted only by properly trained personnel.

"I'm proud of the hard work our group invested in this accreditation and their careful attention to documentation and test procedures," said Jim Polonis, manager of the section. "Every one of our 10 members is certified by the National Association of Radio and Telecommunication Engineers, Inc., as an engineer or technician. This registration and accreditation assures clients that we are qualified to assist them with their EMC design test and analysis needs at the very highest level."

SwRI's EMC testing program, begun in 1956, originally focused on military and TEMPEST testing. Later work for the private sector has included testing components that range from heart implants to avionics, space satellite equipment, and shipboard electronics.

The growth in EMC testing of automotive components has grown significantly. As vehicles have become more dependent on electronic components, industry has recognized the importance of ensuring the components operate without malfunction in the presence of RF energy radiated by, for instance, cellular phones, mobile radios, and FM, AM, and TV broadcast signals.

SwRI's EMC laboratory is equipped with eight shielded enclosures, including an RF anechoic chamber and a large shielded enclosure with radiated and conducted emissions and immunity instrumentation. The Institute also has an FCC-listed open area test site (with a 23- by 40-meter ground plane within a 150-meter ellipse) that is level and clear of electromagnetic reflecting surfaces for a minimum radius of 32 meters.

"Having this certified level of service for EMC testing enhances capabilities across the Institute," said Polonis. "For example, if a client has a telecommunications program under way with our Environmental Science group and Fire Technology Department, SwRI can also provide the EMC services for BELLCORE l089 testing. One-stop service can be very advantageous to our clients."

For more information about the EMC certification, contact Deborah Deffenbaugh, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510, Phone (210) 522-2046, Fax (210) 522-3547.

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