EMC Directory recently interviewed Parminder Singh who is Vice President of the EMC Department at QAI Laboratories. QAI is a leading provider of testing, inspection, and certification services. He has over 30 years of experience in the EMC industry, specializing in electromagnetic compatibility, military, avionics, automotive, and wireless testing.
Parminder joined QAI in 2010 to establish the EMC Test Program, which offers a wide range of testing services for various industries and markets, such as aerospace, automotive, medical, industrial, and consumer electronics. He is responsible for overseeing the operations, management, and development of the EMC Department, as well as ensuring compliance with national and international standards and regulations.
Parminder holds a double diploma and a degree in electronics and telecommunications from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). He is a passionate and dedicated leader who strives to deliver excellence and innovation to his clients and stakeholders.
Q. Can you give us a brief history of QAI Laboratories?
Parminder Singh: QAI was founded by Steve Harris in 1995 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. In 2008, QAI expanded in the US by purchasing a testing facility in Rancho Cucamonga, California. In 2011, QAI opened its first EMC testing facility in Vancouver, BC. QAI has since grown to 6 testing locations throughout North America and 3 support offices in Asia.
Q. Can you provide an overview of QAI Laboratories' EMC testing and certification services?
Parminder Singh: QAI is an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited test laboratory and ISO/IEC 17065 accredited certification body. It's accredited testing laboratories are registered with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in the USA and Innovations, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada, among other countries. QAI is also registered as a Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) for the US under the FCC and as a Certification Body (CB) for Canada. As an OSHA-recognized Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), QAI provides electrical safety certification, machinery safety, and environmental testing services to our clients. With a global presence, QAI is a leading provider of testing and certification services for product compliance.
Q. What types of EMC testing do you offer and how do you determine which tests are necessary for a particular device?
Parminder Singh: QAI offers comprehensive emissions and immunity testing, covering radiated emissions, conducted emissions, harmonics & flicker, radiated immunity, conducted immunity, surge, magnetic field, voltage dips and interruptions, electrical fast transient, electrostatic discharge, and more. Our testing services extend to various industries such as wireless, avionics/aerospace, military defense, automotive/transportation, ship/marine, healthcare & medical, and more.
The required tests for a specific device depend on the nature of the electronic/electrical device and its target market. Our technical and sales experts gather information from clients about the product and its intended country of distribution. This allows QAI to prepare a unique quotation, including the necessary standards.
Once the project transitions to the operational phase, a complete test plan is developed by our test engineers. This plan aligns with the quoted standards. Any potential oversights are addressed during this stage, although they are rare due to our thorough quoting process.
Q. What are the main industries and applications for which QAI Laboratories provides testing and certification services?
Parminder Singh: QAI is an independent third-party testing and certification organization with a wide scope serving industries such as electrical consumer products, high-tech devices, medical equipment, industrial machinery, electrical equipment for hazardous locations, Automotive/Vehicles, Radio/Wireless, Defense/Military, Ships/Marine, Avionics/Aerospace and more.
Q. Can you walk us through the EMC testing process at QAI Laboratories?
Parminder Singh: When you come to QAI for R&D or full compliance testing, the first step always is to start with the preliminary radiated and conducted emissions and in some cases immunity testing. These tests are performed in our 3-meter or in our 5-meter Semi-Anechoic Chambers (SAC). The benefit of starting with preliminary testing is to encounter all failures, if any, in the beginning. This is done to lower the total project cost and speed up the process to qualify your product for the intended market.
When passing results are achieved during the pre-compliance testing phase, the project moves to final compliance testing. The next step is to perform final emissions and immunity testing as per the applicable standard/standards. QAI’s 5-meter chamber works very well for large equipment relating to the Automotive, Military and Avionics sectors. QAI operates a 10-meter test site when such measurements are needed for final compliance.
Q. How do you ensure your EMC testing equipment is up to date and correctly calibrated?
Parminder Singh: QAI has several protocols to ensure EMC equipment is up-to-date and correctly calibrated. Our dedicated, trained personnel ensure all equipment is calibrated by an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited calibration laboratory. Every test engineer will verify test equipment is working correctly and record the calibration status of each apparatus before performing a test. We have software and various equipment dedicated to verifying equipment calibration and accuracy. Providing our customers with accurate and reliable data is at the forefront of our business.
Q. How do QAI Laboratories stay current with changes in EMC regulations and standards?
Parminder Singh: This is an important responsibility of any competent EMC laboratory. We have senior RF/EMC engineers who network with various professional organizations and with FCC, Industry Canada, CE, and other authorities to stay current on regulations and guidelines set by the regulatory bodies.
For each industry, there are specific EMC standards to follow. For example, the EMC standards list set for the automotive industry is different from the EMC standards list that governs consumer electronics.
EMC standards are defined by various international, national, or regional agencies. There are global standards set by agencies such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and more. Some countries have their own standards set by national agencies such as the VDE in Germany, BIS in India, and the FCC in the USA. The bottom line is our regulations and standards experts are very knowledgeable and remain up to date through continual development supported by the company.