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MIRA To Build EMC Lab In USA

MIRA, the UK-based Motor Industry Research Association, is to open a comprehensive Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) laboratory at its MIRA North America subsidiary's headquarters near Detroit.

The announcement was made at the international research and development organisation's annual Members' lunch at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London.

The $l-million-plus investment is good news to Tier 1 and Tier 2 component suppliers in the US who face a serious dilemma. As the electronic content of cars increases, the importance and volume of EMC work continues to grow. Understandably, the vehicle manufacturers' facilities are becoming full and they are less able to make them available for their suppliers to use.

This means that suppliers may no longer be able to use manufacturers' facilities for component and system development and test work. They will have to find alternative EMC development facilities or invest millions of dollars in laboratories of their own.

MIRA, an acknowledged world leader in automotive EMC, immediately recognised the potential problem for the US components industry. In conjunction with its team at MIRA North America, the company's UK Board decided to implement a solution by providing a test laboratory, specialist equipment and, most importantly, expertise at MIRA North America.

The immediate result of this investment will be help for automotive Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers in meeting the requirements of the all the major manufacturers and in complying with the multitude of EMC Directives and legislation.

The new laboratory to be opened at MIRA North America's Plymouth, Michigan headquarters will be fully A2LA accredited under the SAE Automotive EMC Laboratory Accreditation Programme instigated by Chrysler, Ford and GM. MIRA is also seeking to have the facility appointed a Technical Service by the Vehicle Certification Agency in North America for the European certification of all automotive products.

Bill Horn-Andrews, Vice-President of Engineering at MNA, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for MIRA in the North American automotive engineering market. It is also a tremendous opportunity for component suppliers needing EMC test and development services.

"Without being immodest, I can safely say that MIRA has built up a world-wide reputation for technical excellence and leading-edge development of EMC services. Until now these have been based at our world headquarters in the heart of the UK Midlands - the Detroit, as it were, of the UK automotive industry.

"From the UK it has been relatively easy to accommodate the needs of a vast number of European vehicle and component suppliers. Indeed, our large semi-anechoic EMC chamber has been operating on a three-shift, seven-days-a-week basis for most of the 11 years that it has been open. Our new Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) chamber, opened a year ago on 16 December 1997, is seeing a similar rapid growth in demand...

"Now we are to make our skills and expertise readily available to North American automotive component suppliers. As you would expect, we will be offering a full range of test services covering all the requirements of GM, Ford and Chrysler's component level EMC specifications. From the customers' viewpoint MIRA will provide a fast, efficient and - above all - cost-effective, 'one-stop' EMC certification and Approval service."

Mr Horn-Andrews added that the Approval services would cover European ('a' and 'CE') marking in addition to Federal (FCC) requirements.

Work on installation of the 3Oft x 2Oft x 1 7ft anechoic RF chamber at MNA's Clipper Street location in Plymouth, MI. starts in January with completion scheduled for June 1999. For the technically minded the chamber specification includes:

* 1m turntable;

* Electric field generation capability to 200 V/m;

* Frequency range of 9kHz to 18 GHz;

* Emissions measurements to 1 GHz, and

* Facilities for ESD, transients and other component testing as specified by vehicle manufacturers.

The facility will be staffed by qualified engineers, most of whom have more than 10 years' automotive EMC experience and accumulated expertise. Many of the team currently represent the UK automotive industry on international standards committees.

John Wood, Managing Director of MIRA and President of MIRA North America, said:

"Today's announcement is an important step for both MIRA and its North American subsidiary. One of the reasons for our move to our Clipper Street facility in Plymouth, Michigan, in 1993 was to give us more room, for future expansion of our services.

"Our NVH problem-solving business has grown to embrace vehicle dynamics and chassis engineering and with the addition of our EMC laboratory we expect Clipper Street to be really busy. But more importantly, today's announcement underlines the total commitment that MIRA has to its customers in the US."

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CWN / Motoring / Newswire / MIRA / 1 Dec 98

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