Higher Education, Manufacturing, and Technology

Lab puts devices to the test

February 7, 2014
TAGS GVSU
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Center tests electronics for marketplace
GVSU electrical engineering students Calvin Preston and Matt Amidon at the GVSU Electromagnetic Compatibility Center. Courtesy GVSU

A university lab is helping electronics companies prepare their products for the marketplace.

Before an electronic device hits the market, it has to be certified for electromagnetic compatibility compliance.

To the surprise of many local companies, Grand Valley State University actually has a lab that can do the job for them.

The lab

Enter GVSU’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Center, just down the street from GVSU’s engineering building.

The 4,000-square-foot facility — which includes a seminar room and an EMC pre-compliance lab — offers EMC pre-compliance testing, design support, education and hosts EEE EMC Chapter meetings, according to its website.

In addition to the testing portion of the lab’s facilities, it also offers design reviews for schematic and PCB layout, diagnostic support and EMC test plan development.

The facility hosts a variety of equipment: screen rooms for conducted emissions and conducted immunity testing, a PCB emissions scanner, EMC antennas, transient measurement equipment and other debugging and measuring tools.

The center is also looking to add a semi-anechoic chamber for radiated emissions and a reverberation chamber for radiated immunity.

Test demand

The need for the center is something that Bogdan Adamczyk, GVSU professor of electrical engineering, said he saw coming about two years ago.

“West Michigan is an area of innovation and growth,” said Adamczyk, who developed and manages the center. “Many big research universities have EMC research centers, but I’ve never heard of one that offers pre-compliance testing for local companies and provides a practical experience for students.

“If a device is not approved, the design must be altered and tested some more, which can be expensive and time consuming for small- to medium-sized companies. They can come to the center to continue testing expediently and at an attractive rate.”

Electrical engineering

Adamczyk is an iNARTE-certified EMC Master Design engineer, as well as a founding member and the chair of the IEEE EMC Chapter of West Michigan.

The engineers who can understand EMC are in high demand, he said.

“Entry-level engineers who specialize in electromagnetic compatibility are in high demand,” Adamczyk said. “Any company that develops and builds electrical devices needs EMC engineers.”  

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