Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) News

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SwRI opens new outdoor facility for EMC testing

San Antonio -- September 1, 2004 -- A new, 30-meter, open area test site (OATS) is now available at Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) for measuring radiated emissions from electronic and electrical equipment.

The facility is located in the center of the Institute's 1,200-acre complex in an area free of electromagnetic reflecting surfaces for a minimum radius of 32 meters. Features of the test site include three antenna locations; three-phase 100 amp and 400 Hz power and single-phase 50 Hz and direct current power availability to test systems; and a four-meter diameter, flush-mounted turntable capable of supporting 15,000 pounds. An
876-square-foot control room building includes a large window area where clients can view testing.

"An outdoor site of this size is unique and allows us to evaluate a variety of objects, from computers to bulldozers," said Jenny Blankinship, group leader of Environmental and Electromagnetic Testing in SwRI's Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division. "The turntable is mounted on a concrete base, which gives us the flexibility to test heavier items such as vehicles and telecom racks, and there is a support equipment vault located underneath the turntable. Our facility is also located in South Texas where the winters are mild, allowing us to essentially test year round," Blankinship added.

The potential for electrical interference is great in today's environment. Sources of interference include electrical and electronic equipment, powerline transients, radio frequency signals, digital pulses and lightning. Because these interference sources could cause equipment to malfunction, many industries across a broad spectrum of technologies require testing for electromagnetic compatibility.

The site is certified for performing FCC compliance testing. The laboratory is accredited by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025, an internationally recognized quality standard for testing and calibration labs, and is accredited for the Automotive Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory Accreditation Program sponsored by General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler.

"We have conducted a number of studies on electronic components for the automotive industry, on instrumentation and devices for the medical industry, and on a variety of equipment used in the telecommunications industry," Blankinship said. "This experience, coupled with this new facility, will allow us to provide even greater service to our clients."

SwRI offers a full range of environmental test services including vibration, altitude, salt/fog, seismic testing and fire testing, among others. For more information, visit or contact (Blankinship) Ferren at (210) 522-2329 or

Editors: An image to accompany this story is available at

For more information contact Deborah Deffenbaugh, Communications Department, at (210) 522-2046, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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