Technical Feature: Australia

EMC Standards in Australia

John Rogers FIES


What is electromagnetic compatibility?

EMC is the ability of an electrical or electronic device to function satisfactorily without causing intolerable interference to other devices nor to be affected by intentional transmissions from other devices.

The effects of electromagnetic interference can range from simple nuisance disturbance to radio andtelevision reception to disruption of vital telecommunications transmission, navigation devices and electromedical equipment.

From January 1st 1997 Australian Federal Government legislation has been in place to control electromagnetic emissions from all electrical products. The compliance requirement has significant affect on the lighting industry. Manufactures and importers have a limited time frame to make their products compliant, complete the necessary documentation and observe marking requirements.

A simplistic summary of the general requirements on luminaires dictate that:

All luminaires must comply with AS4051 by 1st January 1999. The only exception will be for uncontrolled incandescent luminaires and some specific specialised devices.

Any new product offered for sale after 1st of January 1997 must comply. New luminaires with electronic control gear are exempted until 1st January 1999.

There are substantial penalties indicated for non compliance including fines, removal of product from the market and disabling an installation.

The Spectrum Management Agency, an Australian Federal Government body, is responsible for administration of the framework and state electrical appliance approvals authorities are enlisted in the approval scheme. Demonstration of compliance is by self certification using the procedures defined by the S.M.A. or by use of the new Regulatory Compliance Mark.

The luminaire testing standard is AS/NZS 4051-1994 which is a reproduction of IEC document CISPR 15:1992. If you are watching the progress of new standards you will have noted that a revision of this standard has gone to public review.

If you hold a certificate of compliance and approval to the 1994 version there will be no requirement for retest or resubmission. Testing requirements are:

For fluorescent luminaires operating below 100 Hz. i.e. conventional luminaires operating on ferro magnetic ballasts, a test is conducted to detect disturbance to AM broadcasting bands in the range 150 to 1605 kHz., and called an "insertion loss" test. It applies to most fluorescent lamp luminaires for straight , circular, U shaped or compact single ended lamps.

For fluorescent lamps operating above 100 Hz , i.e. on electronic control gear, there is an exemption to 1.1.1999 since electronic ballasts are currently a declared item and cannot be sold unless approved to AS3134. Tests involve a mains terminal disturbance voltage test in 5 bands from 9 kHz to 30 MHz and a field strength test in 5 different frequency bands, but over the same range, to detect radiated emissions.

The current standard AS4051 deals vaguely with luminaires other than fluorescent and incandescent luminaires.

For discharge lamp fixtures one has to turn to CISPR 15:1996 which will be the new Australian Standard AS4051 when current disagreements are resolved. This applies to an integral gear luminaire or a control gear set, if it is offered for sale independently of a luminaire. This requires the same mains terminal disturbance test applicable to electronic ballasts. If they operate above 100Hz then field strength tests also apply.

Other devices embraced within the draft standard include incandescent luminaires with electronic transformers and dimming controls, independent fluorescent auxiliaries,light regulating devices and adaptors for fluorescent and incandescent lamps.

Test certificates are required to substantiate a manufacturers or suppliers declaration of conformity. It is recommended, but not mandatory, these come from a NATA accredited or overseas mutually recognised laboratory. In the event of a complaint that provokes a SMA audit their inspectors can insist on retest in a NATA laboratory at the suppliers expense. Currently the only laboratories in Australia registered by NATA to test to AS4051 are EMC Technologies in Melbourne and Sydney.

When a lighting product falls within the scope of EMC compliance requirements certain procedures are necessary before it can be placed on the market. The manufacturer or importer will have to establish compliance by going down the resting path or using the more onerous process called the "Technical Construction File" route.

The next procedure is to complete a suppliers "Declaration of Conformity" in the format specified by the S.M.A. (Spectrum Management Agency), which is now titled the A.C.A. ( Australian Communications Authority). The declaration is to be signed by a competent person in a position to bind the Company.

A complete folder is to be prepared, containing:

The declaration of Conformity is an important item as retailers or wholesalers are obliged to sight this document before marketing the product. The product must be durably and legibly labeled so there is traceability between the product and the local manufacturer or importer who placed it on the market.

Compliance can be:

Severe penalties will apply for misuse of the marks!

John Rogers. 24 November 1997


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