Electromagnetic compatibility in control panels – right from the beginning

A high proportion of disruptions to machines and plant can be traced to electromagnetic influences. This is easy to fix – by observing rules for EMC-compliant panel building right from the design stage. 

Reference manual on EMC in practice

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High relevance

Electromagnetic compatibility in practice

EMC-related phenomena repeatedly cause disruptions in machines and plant, ranging from sporadic faults to outages or even destruction of devices and plant units. Correct planning and assembly can prevent this type of disruption before it happens.

EMC-appropriate control panel manufacturing in practice

Based on the example of a SINAMICS G120 converter, the instructional video shows how to build a control panel according to EMC requirements on the basis of zones. In addition to a detailed description of the individual steps, you will also receive valuable practical tips on ways to avoid assembly errors.


Further information about SINAMICS G120

Basic definitions

The Directive regulates correct functioning of equipment. The term equipment refers here to one single apparatus or to stationary installations alike. 

  • Definition of “apparatus” according to the EMC Directive: 
    ‘apparatus’ means any finished appliance or combination thereof made available on the market as a single functional unit, intended for the end-user and liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance, or the performance of which is liable to be affected by such disturbance; 
  • Definition of “fixed installation” according to the EMC Directive: 
    ‘fixed installation’ means a particular combination of several types of apparatus and, where applicable, other devices, which are assembled, installed and intended to be used permanently at a predefined location;

the EMC Directive’s scope does not include:

Safety and hazards of equipment, e.g. for persons, fields of equipment and their consequences, e.g. for persons, radio systems and telecommunications terminal equipment (covered by the R&TTE/RED Directive 2014/53/EU)

What panel builders should take into account

Correct functioning of equipment is ensured by defining an adequate level with regard to electromagnetic compatibility. Accordingly, electrical equipment must be designed and manufactured so as to ensure that:

  • The electromagnetic disturbance generated does not exceed the level above which radio and telecommunications equipment or other equipment cannot operate as intended
  • It has a level of immunity to the electromagnetic disturbance to be expected in its intended use which allows it to operate without unacceptable degradation of its intended use 

Annex 1 of the EMC Directive defines the following requirements:


Protection requirements:

  • Limitation of interference emission - Adequate degree of immunity
  • Designed and manufactured in accordance with the state of the art

Specific requirements for fixed installations:

  • Installed applying good engineering practices
  • Respecting the information on the intended use of its components
  • Responsible person keeps the document for inspection

Guide for risk analysis

Within the scope of the new EMC Directive, manufacturers must also evaluate the electromagnetic compatibility of an apparatus on the basis of electromagnetic phenomena and ascertain whether the requirements of the Directive are satisfied. Evidence of electromagnetic compatibility drawing on test reports based on EMC tests or evaluation by expert appraisal is no longer sufficient.


To perform the risk analysis within the scope of the Directive, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) offers the CENELEC Guide 32 as assistance for operating equipment with low voltage.

When there is no labeling requirement

Equipment does not need to undergo a conformity evaluation if it is placed on the market solely for integration in a specific fixed installation. As control panels are generally conceived as components of fixed installations, a separate EU declaration of conformity and CE mark is not required for such equipment.


Important: They must nevertheless comply with the protection requirements of the Directive because the market surveillance authorities may demand proof of conformity, in particular if there are signs of non-conformity or in the event of complaints.

Legally relevant changes

The new EMC Directive 2014/30/EC does not contain any technical changes in comparison with the previous EMC Directive 2004/108/EC, which expired on April 20, 2016. Like with all NLF Directives, the essential changes refer to clear definition of the economic operators, marking of equipment and documentation.


Safety and hazards of equipment, e.g. for persons, fields of equipment and their consequences, e.g. for persons, radio systems and telecommunications terminal equipment (covered by the R&TTE/RED Directive 2014/53/EU).

On the safe side right from the start

Give the best possible consideration to electromagnetic compatibility right from the beginning. Use our hints and tips to ensure EMC-compliant panel construction in accordance with the latest standards and Directives.

Reference manual on EMC in practice

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