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The ACE-PT Inc. ISO/IEC 17043-Accredited EMC Proficiency Testing Programs


Proficiency Testing is one of the key factors used by Laboratory Accreditation Bodies (ABs) and regulators in determining the competency of EMC laboratories. Auditors place considerable emphasis on the methods utilized to assure the quality of test results. Section 5.9 of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories” specifically requires Test Laboratories to employ formal quality control procedures for monitoring the validity of tests, and, where practicable, that statistical techniques shall be applied to the reviewing of the results of tests. Section 5.9 of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 also states that a Test laboratory can satisfy this requirement by participation in inter-laboratory comparison [ILC] proficiency-testing programs. Additionally, ILAC Policy ILAC-P9:11/2010 makes the use of ILC proficiency-testing programs mandatory when they are relevant and commercially available
 
ACIL’s Accredited EMC Proficiency Testing (PT) Programs have been specifically developed as a service to those EMC Test Laboratories that have to address the requirements of Section 5.9 of ISO/IEC 17025 for the accreditation of their laboratory by participating in one or more relevant Inter-Laboratory Comparison (ILC) “Round-robin” EMC Proficiency Tests. ACIL’s Accredited EMC PT Programs are operated and administered by the ACIL Corporation for EMC Proficiency Testing (ACE-PT Inc.) which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACIL’s Independent Laboratory Institute [ILI]. (The ILI and ACE-PT Inc. are both IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit institutions). ACE-PT Inc. operates the accredited EMC PT Program for and on behalf of the American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL).
 
ACE-PT Inc., EMC PT Programs operate on a perpetually ongoing basis. A total of six programs are available to participating EMC test Labs that wish to evaluate their proficiency in making conducted and radiated emissions measurements. The EMC PT Test Artifacts are owned by ACE-PT Inc. All of ACE-PT Inc.’s EMC PT Programs operate using the “round-robin” approach, with the applicable Test Artifact being circulated successively from one participating EMC Test Lab to another. 
 
Each of the six ACE-PT Inc. EMC PT Programs are structured as follows:
 
For each EMC PT Test Artifact, an “Initial Round” ILC PT Program is performed, with results collected from a minimum of 12 participants (but typically from 15 or more participants). (Note: Each EMC Test Lab Facility Location that participates can submit results from as many as four participants – i.e., up to four Test Operators at their physical location).  
 
Each EMC PT Program is uniquely tied to a specific serial-numbered EMC PT Test Artifact. As each new EMC PT Test Artifact is added to keep pace with demand, its first use will be in an “Initial Round” of a new EMC PT Program.
 
The PT Data submitted by all participating EMC Test Laboratories is then analyzed, and an “Initial Round” EMC PT Program Analysis Report is then compiled and formally published within 30 days of the end of the “round”.  In these Reports, the identities of each participating EMC Test Laboratory Facility Location (and the identities of each Test Operator) are indicated only by a randomly generated “Lab Code”, thus ensuing confidentiality.
 
After the completion of an “Initial Round”, an ILC EMC PT Program consists of “Continuing Rounds”. Each “Continuing Round” has data supplied by 5 to 10 additional participants. The results from each “Continuing Round” of a particular ILC EMC PT Program are combined with the earlier results obtained from the “Initial Round”, and are then published in a new EMC PT Program Analysis Report. This process continues until data from at least 20 participants has been obtained, analyzed and formally published.  At that point, the process continues as before (i.e., yet another “Continuing Round” is performed), but the oldest results are discarded from the rotation.  Each participant will ultimately have their results compared to the results from at least 19 other participants.
 
Upon completion of a “round” of PT Testing, the results are statistically analyzed by ACE-PT using the required “Robust Average” Method detailed in ISO 13528:2005 Annex C Algorithm A to determine the “assigned values”.  Then, each participating EMC Test Lab’s results are analyzed by computing Z-Scores.  Next, the applicable Control Limits are determined using the applicable Measurement Uncertainty values published in CISPR 16-4-2:2011-06 and ETSI TR 100 028 V1.4.1 and the Uncertainty in the determination of the “assigned values”. Finally, the results of that “round” of the PT Program are summarized in graphical and tabular form and published in formal EMC PT Program Analysis Reports.  These EMC PT Program Analysis Reports can be made available (upon written request from a participating EMC Test Laboratory), to their Laboratory Accreditation bodies, and/or to regulators and/or clients.
 

Registration

Registration for each of the six available ACE-PT Inc. EMC PT Program Schemes is available separately, on a first come, first served basis. On-line registration is required. See the pricing information below for the costs of each Scheme.
 

Available EMC PT Programs (Schemes) 

As of July 2, 2012, ACE-PT Inc. has a total of six ISO/IEC 17043-accredited EMC PT Programs (Schemes) available. These are as follows (click on each scheme for more information and registration):
 

Test Artifacts

York CNE III (150 kHz to 1 GHz) 

The York Comparison Noise Emitter (CNE III) is a broadband noise source, which produces a continuous useful output from 150 kHz to 1 GHz.  The York CNE III is powered from four user-supplied "C" Batteries, and provides a BNC-type RF Output connector used for example, for making Direct Antenna Conducted Emissions measurements. The supplied accessories include a top loaded circular monopole antenna that is used with the York CNE III for making Radiated Emissions measurements, a LISN Adaptor that is used with the York CNE III for making AC Line Conducted Emissions measurements, a Transit Case, a detailed PT Program Instruction Manual, and a CD-ROM containing a Microsoft Excel® 2007 Spreadsheet Template to be used for reporting the PT Test Results to ACE-PT Inc. The ACIL EMC PT Program is designed to determine proficiency of the participants in making ANSI C63.4-2003 measurements below 1 GHz, ANSI C63.4-2009 measurements below 1 GHz, and/or CISPR 22:2008//EN 55022:2010 measurements below 1 GHz.

 WD Test Solutions EM-18 (1-18 GHz) 

The WD Test Solutions EM-18 is a spectrally-broadened comb generator, which produces useful outputs from 1 GHz to 18 GHz.  The WD Test Solutions EM-18 is powered from a pair of internal (non-removable) rechargeable battery packs, and includes an SMA-type RF Output connector used for example, for making Direct Antenna Conducted Emissions measurements.  The supplied accessories include a stub monopole antenna that is used with the York WD Test Solutions EM-18 for making Radiated Emissions measurements, a wall-mount-type Charger Unit (used to recharge the internal battery packs in the WD Test Solutions EM-18), a Transit Case, a detailed PT Program Instruction Manual, and a CD-ROM containing a Microsoft Excel® 2007 Spreadsheet Template to be used for reporting the PT Test Results to ACE-PT Inc.   The WD Test Solutions EM-18 ACIL EMC PT Program is designed to determine proficiency of the participants in making ANSI C63.4-2003, measurements from 1 GHz to 18 GHz, ANSI C63.4-2009 measurements from 1 GHz to 18 GHz, and/or CISPR 22:2008//EN 55022:2010 measurements from 1 GHz to 6 GHz.

 ACE-PT Inc. The Diamond Standard in EMC PT®