Interview with Victor Chavez from Keystone Compliance

  • Victor Chavez - Senior EMC Testing Engineer

EMC Directory recently interviewed Victor Chavez who is a senior EMC Testing engineer at Keystone Compliance located in Durham, North Carolina. As an expert in Electromagnetic Compatibility testing, Victor leads a team of skilled engineers, delivering constant communication and troubleshooting assistance throughout the entire certification testing process.

Q. Can you give us a brief history of Keystone Compliance?

Victor Chavez: Keystone Compliance specializes in providing testing services in various environments such as climatic, dynamic, ingress protection, package integrity, EMC/EMI, and shielding effectiveness. It was founded in 2007 by Tony Masone and his wife, Rhonda Masone, with Tony’s son being their first employee.

Initially, Keystone had a single facility in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where it conducted its testing services. However, due to increased demand and the need to serve clients in different locations, the company expanded its operations into three facilities in New Castle and one in Durham, North Carolina. Currently, Keystone employs a total of 44 full-time employees and operates out of multiple facilities.

With over 40,000 square feet of lab space across its facilities, Keystone Compliance has the capacity to accommodate a diverse range of testing requirements. By offering comprehensive testing services, the company assists clients in ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations, while also validating the reliability and performance of their products.

Radiated Emission Testing at Keystone Compliance

Q. Can you provide an overview of Keystone Compliance's testing and certification services, and what sets your company apart from competitors?

Victor ChavezKeystone Compliance offers a comprehensive range of testing and certification services to its clients. One of the key areas of expertise is in the field of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) testing. The company's scope in this area continues to expand, enabling them to provide a wide array of EMC/EMI testing services.

Some of the specific EMC/EMI testing services offered by Keystone Compliance include lightning and surge testing, shielding effectiveness testing, electrostatic discharge testing, site surveys, electrical fast transient and burst testing, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) testing. What sets Keystone Compliance apart from its competitors is its status as an independent test lab. Unlike Nationally Recognized Test Labs (NRTLs) Keystone operates independently, allowing it to consult with manufacturers to assist throughout the entire test program. When working with Keystone Compliance, clients benefit from direct and constant communication throughout the testing process. In the event of any unexpected or unwanted testing results, Keystone's team can actively assist in the troubleshooting process. This level of engagement and support sets the company apart from NRTLs, which often have limited involvement once the testing process is completed.

Q. What kind of testing capabilities does Keystone Compliance have, and what types of products and industries do you typically work with?

Victor Chavez: Keystone Compliance possesses a wide range of testing capabilities to cater to various industries and their specific product requirements. The test lab is equipped to perform country-specific, commercial, and military testing, adhering to numerous industry standards and certifications. Keystone Compliance also provides CE Mark certification testing, which is required for products intended to be sold within the European Economic Area (EEA). This certification indicates compliance with European safety, health, and environmental protection standards.

In terms of industries, Keystone serves a diverse range of manufacturers across various sectors. Major industries include:

  • Medical Device
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace/Military
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Energy and Power Systems
  • Rail

Q. How does Keystone Compliance ensure the accuracy and reliability of its testing processes, and what kind of quality control measures are in place?

Victor Chavez: Keystone Compliance maintains stringent quality management practices to uphold the highest standards in testing and certification. Here are some key aspects of Keystone's approach: Calibration and Maintenance: Keystone regularly calibrates and maintains its testing equipment to ensure accurate and consistent results. Calibration procedures are carried out according to recognized standards and guidelines, and equipment is regularly checked, calibrated, and maintained by trained technicians and accredited calibration labs. Documented Processes and Procedures: Keystone has well-defined and documented processes and procedures for each testing service they offer. These include detailed test plans, methodologies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that guide the testing process. By following documented procedures, Keystone ensures consistency, repeatability, and traceability of test results.

Internal Quality Audits: Keystone conducts regular internal quality audits to assess and evaluate its processes, procedures, and compliance with quality management systems. By implementing these quality control measures, Keystone Compliance maintains the accuracy, reliability, and consistency of its testing processes. These measures, combined with their commitment to industry standards and accreditations, ensure that clients can have confidence in the quality and integrity of the testing and certification services provided by Keystone.

Q. What kind of standards and certifications does Keystone Compliance adhere to, and how does this impact your testing and certification services?

Victor Chavez: ISO/IEC 17025: This is the international standard for testing and calibration laboratories. Keystone Compliance is accredited to ISO/IEC 17025. This accreditation assures clients that Keystone follows rigorous quality management practices and maintains the highest standards of accuracy and reliability in its testing services.

Industry-Specific Standards: Keystone Compliance follows industry-specific standards relevant to the products and industries they serve. This includes standards such as IEC 60601 for medical electrical equipment, MIL-STD for military standards, FCC Part 15 for electromagnetic emissions, and many more.

Customer-Specified Requirements: Keystone Compliance also accommodates customer-specified requirements and certifications. If a client has specific standards or certifications they need to meet, Keystone works closely with them to understand those requirements and conducts testing accordingly.

Q. How does Keystone Compliance work with clients to understand their testing and certification needs, and what kind of support is provided throughout the process?

Victor Chavez: Keystone Compliance understands the importance of ensuring that clients' testing and certification needs are fully understood and met. To achieve this, the company follows a collaborative approach and provides ongoing support throughout the testing process.

When clients approach Keystone Compliance with their testing and certification requirements, the company initiates a thorough communication process. The goal is to gain a clear understanding of the client's specific needs, objectives, and desired certifications.

Moreover, Keystone Compliance takes proactive measures to avoid over testing. With their expertise in the field and deep knowledge of regulatory requirements, they ensure that the test program is designed to meet the necessary standards without unnecessary duplication of tests. This approach saves clients time, resources, and costs while still ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.

Q. What kind of industries or applications is Keystone Compliance's testing and certification best suited for, and what factors determine the suitability of a product for testing?

Victor Chavez: Keystone Compliance's testing services are suitable for a wide range of industries and applications. The company has experience working with manufacturers from diverse sectors and is equipped to handle products of varying sizes and complexities.

Some of the industries that Keystone Compliance commonly serves include Medical Devices, Automotive, Aerospace/Military, Consumer Electronics, Industrial Equipment, Energy and Power Systems, and Rail. Keystone's capabilities extend beyond these industries. Regardless of the industry or application, Keystone's team of technicians and engineers can design and build custom test apparatus to meet the specific testing needs of their clients.

The suitability of a product for testing is determined by several factors. These may include the product's intended market, applicable regulations and standards, safety requirements, environmental considerations, and specific industry needs. Keystone Compliance works closely with clients to understand these factors and develop a testing and certification plan that aligns with their specific product and industry requirements.

Q. How does Keystone Compliance stay ahead of emerging trends and developments in testing and certification, and what role do partnerships and collaborations play in this process?

Victor Chavez: Keystone Compliance prioritizes staying ahead of emerging trends and developments in the testing and certification industry. To achieve this, the company employs several strategies, including partnerships, collaborations, and continuous learning initiatives.

About Keystone Compliance

Keystone Compliance specializes in streamlining the challenges of regulatory compliance testing for manufacturers. Their unique troubleshooting approach results in fewer testing failures, translating to significant time and cost savings for their customers. The company's customer-centric focus is evident through efficient scheduling, rapid test report delivery, and a comfortable testing environment provided within their spacious 30,000 square foot lab.

Keystone Compliance offers comprehensive testing capabilities covering EMC/EMI, shielding effectiveness, climatic, dynamic, package integrity, and IP Code testing, enabling manufacturers to address a diverse range of testing needs in one location. With an ANAB accreditation, international certification becomes more accessible without the need for additional testing. The company is dedicated to enhancing the regulatory compliance testing experience for manufacturers.

Keystone Compliance's EMC lab features nine test chambers, including five fully qualified three-meter chambers. Their environmental lab houses four shakers and more than two dozen thermal chambers. The company's testing scope encompasses various areas such as indirect lightning, shielding effectiveness, ESD, site surveys, altitude, drop, shock, salt-fog, solar radiation, temperature, humidity, vibration, dust, wind and rain, IP Code, and compression.

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