Carephones up for tech check
TagsAccredited Testing, EMC, RED, Social Alarms
Swedish company NEAT Electronics AB is a market leader in carephones, devices that enable elderly or disabled people to call for help in case of emergency.NEAT’s carephones are sold all over the world and the company has subsidiaries and sales offices in Europe, Australia, and Latin America. In case of emergency a NEAT phone can make a crucial difference. The alarm has to get through no matter what. The red button that sends for help has to work every single time. That is why authorities have set up extraordinarily tough requirements for products like the NEAT carephone – in specialist language called “Social Alarms”. To be approved they are met with much tougher robustness and reliability requirements, compared to what other types of communication devices have to live up to.
Accredited test labEKTOS helps NEAT test new products to meet these demands. The EKTOS Test & Reliability Services division runs test facilities in Struer and Copenhagen, and it is the only test lab in Denmark and Sweden offering accredited testing of “Social Alarms”. This goes for the alarm standard that applies to NEAT’s products and for a similar standard in the same category (for more information about these two categories, please check the fact box below). When products are testes in alignment with these standards, which are harmonized under the Radio Equipment Directive (RED), NEAT itself can handle the approval through a Declaration of Conformity (DoC). No additional approval from a Notified Body is needed. It is a common misunderstanding in the electronics business that you have to involve a Notified Body, when a product contains a radio module. But this is not the case, when you get your product tested in alignment with a harmonized standard by an accredited test lab like EKTOS. The Radio Equipment only requires a Notified Body to be involved, if there is no harmonized standard to show compliance with the Radio Equipment Directive regarding radio parameters (article 3.2). When it comes to EMC parameters (article 3.1) you can use the EN 301 489-3 standard, although it is not yet harmonized under the EMC directive. The involvement of a Notified Body is not required. Long-standing collaboration – We have a close and long-standing collaboration, says Ulrik Lundberg, Business Unit Manager at NEAT Electronics. – Since 2012 EKTOS has helped us with the testing of around 15 products. They test radio performance, electro magnetic compatibility, and electrical safety. Also, EKTOS has performed climatic testing for us, to investigate the resistibility of a device to e.g. vibration and heat. Do not disturb David Busk, head of the EKTOS TRS lab in Copenhagen explains: – Regarding Social Alarms the authorities have allocated a special radio frequency for them. It is quite narrow and goes from 869,200 to 869,250 MHz. Transmission power is lower than usual, so devices using this frequency band have to meet stricter demands than other types of electronics with radio communication. – In addition to the requirements for social alarms the device also has to be tested in regards to ECM requirements. We check that the device is not being disturbed by other devices, and that it is not disturbing any devices itself. Furthermore the device has to comply with EU regulations for efficient use of the radio spectrum, and it has to meet the requirements for low-voltage devices. Not unnecessarily complicated Ulrik Lundberg is satisfied with working together with EKTOS: – They are competent people. You always get a quick response, and they are not making it more difficult than it is. We have worked with other test labs, and some of them have a tendency to make things unnecessarily complicated. At EKTOS the process is simple. I think they are a bit more flexible than their competitors, so I have absolutely nothing to complain about. David Busk elaborates: – Before we start testing we always have a thorough discussion with the customer. We need to agree on exactly which standards the devices have to comply with. Also, some of the devices, or parts of them, have been tested earlier. In that case we can skip some of the tests and thus avoid double-testing. This speeds up the process and saves money as well. Alarms and sensors As mentioned NEAT Electronics manufactures carephones for elderly and disabled people to call for help in case of emergency. Also, NEAT has developed sensors for automated monitoring, such as armbands that send out positioning data, or send out an alarm when no activity is detected. NEAT has also developed a sensor for sleeping patients. It detects a person’s heartbeat and breathing, and activates an alarm if the person has left the bed for a specified period of time. Smoke detectors and flooding alarms are also featured in the NEAT product portfolio, all of them communicating via radio technology. Development is an important part of the DNA of NEAT Electronics, with an on-going effort to create new products and increase their fields of application. In this, wireless technologies are crucial, and a number of solutions are used, all requiring accredited test to live up to rules and regulations. As an example, devices using 4G have been designed. And NEAT offers medical sensors measuring blood pressure, pulse, and EKG, and sending measurements via Bluetooth to a mobile telemonitoring system allowing for detailed medical monitoring in a patient’s own home. If you are interested in getting an overview over the ECM and radio requirements your product has to meet, please feel free to get in touch with CEO of EKTOS TRS Kennet Palm (mail email@example.com) FACT BOX EKTOS is the only test lab in Denmark and Sweden offering accredited testing of “Social Alarms” according to these two standards:
- EN 300 220-3-1 V2.1.1 (2016-12), Short Range Devices (SRD) operating in the frequency range 25 MHz to 1 000 MHz; Part 3-1: Harmonised Standard covering the essential requirements of article 3.2 of Directive 2014/53/EU; Low duty cycle high reliability equipment, social alarms equipment operating on designated frequencies (869,200 MHz to 869,250 MHz).
- “Social alarm devices” are radio communications systems that allow reliable communication for a person in distress in a confined area to initiate a call for assistance. Typical uses of social alarms are to assist elderly or disabled people.”
- EN 300 220-3-2 V1.1.1 (2017-02), Short Range Devices (SRD) operating in the frequency range 25 MHz to 1 000 MHz; Part 3-2: Harmonised Standard covering the essential requirements of article 3.2 of Directive 2014/53/EU; Wireless alarms operating in designated LDC/HR frequency bands 868,60 MHz to 868,70 MHz, 869,25 MHz to 869,40 MHz, 869,65 MHz to 869,70 MHz)
- “The low duty cycle/high reliability device category covers radio devices that rely on low overall spectrum utilisation and low duty cycle spectrum access rules to ensure highly reliable spectrum access and transmissions in shared bands. Typical uses include alarm systems that use radio”.
EKTOS Testing & Reliability Services
EKTOS Testing & Reliability Services