Why SAE EMC Standards Are Being Withdrawn

Craig is also an iNARTE Certified EMC Laboratory Engineer and author of several papers for the IEEE EMC Symposium.  Finally, as a member of SAE EMI and EMR Committees, as well as a US National Committee technical advisor for CISPR-D, he undoubtedly likes to stay active in the EMC community.

Users of SAE EMC standards may have noticed that many of the SAE J551 and SAE J1113 standards have been withdrawn over the past few years. These withdrawn standards are no longer being revised and updated. As these standards are withdrawn, the base standard of the series (SAE J551-1 or SAE J1113-1) is updated to indicate that the particular SAE standard has been withdrawn. The base SAE standard also directs the user to reference the equivalent CISPR or ISO standard. Unfortunately this results in having to purchase the more expensive international standard which replaced the SAE standard.

So, why are the SAE EMC standards being withdrawn???  A few years ago, SAE noticed that some of the SAE EMC standards were, for the most part, technically identical to some equivalent CISPR and ISO (international) standards.  This became a concern of SAE as they do not want to get into copyright conflicts with the international standards bodies. Therefore, the SAE EMC committee was given the directive to start withdrawing any SAE standards which were technically identical to an international standard.

How did this similarity of SAE and International standards come to happen??? The SAE EMC committee has developed many vehicle and component EMC standards over the years. The SAE standards were referenced mainly by the North American vehicle manufacturers in their corporate EMC standards. As the NA vehicle manufacturers evolved to Worldwide vehicle manufacturers, the trend to reference SAE standards in their corporate standard changed to the desire to reference international standards (if they existed) in their corporate standards.


Many of the same experts involved in the SAE EMC committee in the United States are also involved with at the International Standards development level (CISPR and ISO standards). During meetings at the international level, the need to develop a standard to address a particular field issue may be discussed. If an SAE standard which addressed the issue already existed, then the international standards committee would use the SAE standard as the basis for development of a new CISPR or ISO standard. Although the process to publish the international standard would take several years, the two standards (SAE and International) would eventually become very similar.

What is the long term benefit of using international standards over the SAE standards??? Although it may seem like a burden to purchase a more expensive CISPR or ISO standard, the use of the international standards does have its benefits. The test methods used to evaluate the EMC performance of vehicles (and vehicle modules) should be similar around the world to assure consistent performance. Products initially developed for sale in the North American market may also be more easily marketed worldwide when tested against the international standards.  

Ultimately, standardization helps to assure consistent performance and reliability no matter where the product is being used. By using international standards to evaluate the EMC performance of products (when available), this will help the product manufacturers to better achieve the consistent performance and reliability desired by the consumer. 

Do you have any questions about EMC Standard ChangesEMC Testing, or other related topics? Please share your comments or questions below and this week's expert, Craig Fanning, will get back to you as soon as possible.