We’ve all experienced issues with interference of Wi-Fi signals whether on our phones or computers. Sometimes the Wi-Fi goes out or we can’t update our connection and it causes an error. This is undoubtedly annoying but nothing compared to the interference that electrical noise can produce in certain situations. This kind of interference can actually be life-threatening by causing malfunctions in equipment. If this happens in a neo-natal unit or chemical plant, the result could be disastrous.
Modern electrical and electronic devices create radio frequency signals as by-products of their normal functions. These signals, or noise as they are collectively known, are very similar to radio and TV broadcast signals. This is why, sometimes, electronic devices can affect your radio or TV. Many people have experienced a microwave oven causing the radio to crackle or the vacuum cleaner causing Wi-Fi to disconnect.
These nuisance electronic noise signals can exit the electronic equipment through its power connection or through the air as radio waves. This noise then enters other equipment through the power connection or through the air where it can cause malfunctions or damage. Too much electrical noise can cause damage to electronics and can cause problems in the industrial and automation workspace. That’s why there are also regulations concerning electrical noise.
A pioneer in the area of electrical noise suppression is Roxburgh EMC. Established in 1969, Roxburgh now operates from a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, U.K. Roxburgh EMC is one of four brands from DEM Manufacturing; a division of Alpha 3 Manufacturing Ltd. which also comprises three other manufacturing businesses. From its headquarters in the U.K., Roxburgh produces EMC filters, EMC components, and surge protection devices that comply with industry standards, including UL, cUL, CSA, and RoHS. The company’s customers consist of small, medium and large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), wholesalers, catalog distributors, and multi-national blue chip companies.
After many decades in the business, Roxburgh has developed significant knowledge and understanding of the specific requirements and regulations within a wide variety of manufacturing industries. Specifically, Roxburgh works in the HVAC, industrial, machine tool, IT, lighting, medical, military, renewable, transportation, and security industries.
Products to Make Work Environments Safe
While most of us can manage the occasional interference with our Wi-Fi signals, most manufacturing plants try to keep electrical noise to a minimum in order to provide the correct conditions for reliable and safe operation. To do this, EMC filters reduce the transfer of electromagnetic noise between the drive and the main power supply. The filters that Roxburgh produces provide electrical noise suppression for a variety of different applications.
For nearly 50 years, Roxburgh has been at the forefront of electrical noise suppression products — well before the European Union regulation of 1996 (which adopted a new Green Paper on future noise policy). In the late 1960s, the company produced its first EMC filter which was a unique cylindrical shape called the SDC range. This product was on the market for almost 40 years before new technology allowed smaller and more economical products to be developed. Since then, Roxburgh has produced industry-specific filters that deliver high-performance primarily for the drives industry. By the 2000s, Roxburgh had developed additional filters suitable for high-current applications in the mining/quarrying and petrochemical industries. Each year since then, Roxburgh has continued its push into providing improved filters for a variety of industries and markets worldwide.
Tom Downing, Product Manager at Roxburgh explains: “We’re motivated to develop and produce the most efficient noise suppression products and provide those at cost effective prices. Using our historical, technical knowledge, we know what already works and we continue to find ways to improve that technology. Our team of expert engineers and technical staff work diligently to make this happen.”
Not only does Roxburgh produce electrical noise suppression products, it also provides on-site testing for companies who are unsure of what products they need or what regulations impact their operations. Experienced engineers at Roxburgh EMC work closely with customers to discuss which regulations are relevant for their industry, before performing pre-compliance EMC testing and guiding customers through the product selection process.
Customers are then provided with a simple test report or, if required, a more detailed analysis that customers can use to support their company’s declaration to the relevant directives and standards.
“EMC testing is essential to determine a product’s level of compliance to product safety directives,” said Downing. “To be compliant means that your product will function safely with noise emissions below the relevant levels referenced in the standard which is applicable to your product allowing less downtime, decreasing costs and potentially hazardous situations. Our reports are generated according to our customers’ needs. They can be as simple as a printout of their emissions scans or as highly detailed as a report complete with photos, results, and conclusions. When performing pre-compliance EMC testing, we are dedicated to helping customers find an efficient and cost-effective solution.”
In certain cases, a customer requests a custom solution from Roxburgh. “Although we maintain an extensive product portfolio, at times we need to provide a different product unique to our customer’s needs. On our team, we have skilled engineers who have worked with leading manufacturers across an array of industries that can offer their experience and expertise to meet the specifications of a custom filter. After determining what the best solution is, our engineers work to design and manufacture a filter that will meet exact requirements as well as timeline and budget. We also offer prototypes to ensure the product is right before any installation occurs,” continued Downing.
Working Toward an Efficient Future
The electrical noise suppression industry has seen many changes and technological advances since Roxburgh produced its first EMC filter. To encourage an even better understanding of this emerging field and to help grow the workforce for the future, Roxburgh EMC actively participates in providing products to those interested in technology, manufacturing, and engineering. In fact, there is a simple form on the company’s website that allows students, teachers, and professors to get a free sample from Roxburgh to use for school projects. “It’s a simple gesture,” explained Downing, “but students are the engineers of the future and we hope to spark an interest in those who may then enter the tech field and provide new solutions in the years to come.”