The Differences Between EMI and EMC





The Differences Between EMI and EMC

Electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility are terms used when referring to the regulatory testing of electronics. But despite their similar-sounding names, they are not completely alike. Curious about the differences between EMI and EMC? Here is what makes them unique.

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

EMI is energy or radiation that disrupts the operation of surrounding electrical devices.

Usually, energy is contained by a device’s plastic, rubber, or metal casing. Inevitably, some of it will escape and travel through the air. This escaped energy impedes the functions of other devices. For example, a blaring radio might impact a nearby television’s ability to project images or sound. Devices that produce high levels of interference interact poorly with surrounding machines and can render an entire system virtually useless.

EMI can originate from either natural or manmade sources. Lightning and solar radiation are two examples of natural interference.

To an extent, all man-made devices can cause EMI; cellphones, microwaves, and radios are some common sources. Generators, voltage regulators, oscillators, computing devices, sonar equipment, and high-tech medical equipment, like MRI machines and X-rays, account for other potential causes.

Emission testing measures the amount of EMI generated by a particular device. This is used to gauge its potential impact on surrounding devices and, as a result, prevent mass malfunction.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

EMC refers to a device’s ability to block EMI, or function under its effects. To withstand EMI, devices are often outfitted with a metal, rubber, or fabric shielding.

The process of evaluating a device’s tolerance is called susceptibility or immunity testing. Electronics with a strong electromagnetic compatibility function better under EMI than those without. Testing for EMC is essential for products like pacemakers and hard drives, where interference could prove damaging, if not outright fatal.

Testing for EMI and EMC

There are plenty of differences between EMI and EMC, but both do have to be tested.

EMI and EMC compliance standards are not uniform. Military-grade equipment has stricter standards than most, and commercial standards can vary from industry to industry.

To ensure efficiency, safety, and compliance of your products, you should test for both electromagnetic interference and compatibility. A failure to test for either could lead to dangerous, costly problems down the road.

If you need reliable, long-lasting EMI shielding coating for your devices, Deep Coat Industries is the best place to search. We’re here to help if you find you need to enhance your product’s EMC or protect your hardware from EMI. Contact us with any inquiries.