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They Came, They Saw, They Approved – A2LA Audits Elite

When you bring your product to a test lab, you want assurance that the engineers are qualified, the equipment is calibrated, and the test procedures agree with the standards. In the event your product is ever challenged for noncompliance with a requirement, you want to have data from an independent third party showing that it was compliant.

A third-party test lab is an independent facility not involved in the design or manufacture of the product being tested. Elite Electronic Engineering has been one of those for nearly 70 years. Elite’s laboratory is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), showing that the labs are competent to carry out specific tasks.

A2LA assessors visited Elite for several days in June to review the applicable requirements necessary to maintain Elite’s scope of accreditation. Assessors visit accredited labs every two years. They audit the laboratory’s management system, confirm that equipment is calibrated, ensure test processes are followed, and review the competency of the staff.

Part of the assessment involves talking with the test engineers, who are asked to demonstrate how a test is performed and how the engineer knows that it is correct. These are like the pop quizzes you might have been given in school, where you’re asked without advance notice to explain or demonstrate how a task is done.

As an accredited laboratory, Elite is required to follow the ISO17025 & ISO17065 quality management systems for all testing performed at the facility. These tests may or may not be directly on Elite’s scope of accreditation, as Elite performs testing to a vast array of services and specifications. Elite’s focus is on ensuring that industry-recognized reference standards are on its scope of accreditation. For tests found on Elite’s scope, those tests are fair game for the assessor to ask that they be demonstrated by Elite’s test engineers.

Among the requirements to maintain accreditation is the maintenance of test procedures. The test engineer does not necessarily need to know all the steps from memory but must be able to readily call up the procedure and follow the steps correctly.

The assessor also reviews the lab’s recordkeeping, checking equipment calibration documents, test reports, staff training records, and more. A lab like Elite with an expansive array of services takes most of a week to go through the range of documents and staff interviews.

Upon completion of the assessment, the lab receives a summary report from the assessor. Any deficiencies, large or small, are noted, and the lab has a limited window of time to resolve them and provide evidence of their resolution.

As expected, Elite passed A2LA’s assessment and can continue to show that it carries A2LA’s accreditation. At the end of the assessment Elite’s quality manager Robert Bugielski had this to say: “I’m proud of how the team conducted themselves during the assessment. Our test engineers and team leaders are the backbone of the laboratory. Their expertise and execution of our quality system continues to provide exceptional service to our customers.”

Contact Elite if you have questions about the accreditation process and Elite’s ongoing status. Elite’s promise has been that your product’s tests are done by our experts, on your schedule, with trusted results. A2LA and NVLAP accreditations confirm that you can count on it.

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Star Wars Day – May the 4th Be With You

Holidays dot the calendar all through the year. Some large, some small, some serious, and some just for fun. The month of May is no exception, with heartfelt commemorations like Teacher Appreciation Day (May 9 th ). But in the first week of the month, if someone said, “May the Fourth be With You,” they were observing Star Wars Day.

Star Wars Day is not a real holiday, of course, but turns May 4 th into a pun that fans of the Star Wars universe would recognize. While tongue-in-cheek, it’s a chance to think about technology and the ways technology springs from imagination.

Science fiction, going back to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” has often gone beyond pure entertainment and has predicted new technologies. The Star Wars films are a case in point. While lightsabers and hyperspace travel are still theoretical, artificial intelligence (AI) tools could make it practical to build useful droids. The discovery of exoplanets through the Hubble and Webb telescopes suggests that as in the Star Wars stories, a galaxy of inhabitable planets could exist. The challenge is time required to travel – if hyperdrive vehicles are ever perfected, we might be able to visit.

Like any technology, there will need to be standards to operate machines like AI-operated droids safely and reliably. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an agency likely to draft standards in that category, and when they do, experienced laboratories like Elite will be prepared to perform the tests.

Science fiction has opened doors to ideas leading to devices we take for granted now. Comic-strip detective Dick Tracy started wearing a Two-Way Wrist Radio in 1946. Motorola Engineer Martin Cooper remembered seeing Tracy’s wrist radio in the comics. Inspired, Cooper went on to develop the first practical hand-held cellular telephone, which has evolved into the now-ubiquitous smartphone. The smartwatch, another wireless communication device, may as well been taken directly off the page of a Dick Tracy cartoon.

None of us knows what technology will be next to enter our lives, but when it does, safety and reliability will apply just they do now for any device. Testing will be necessary, and you can be sure that Elite will be ready.

Contact Elite’s experts to discuss testing your newest technology, and May the 4th be with you!

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The IEEE Celebrates Education Week in April

The month of April is known for a number of things. Among them are the blooming of Spring, the beginning of baseball season, and Earth Day. April is also the month of IEEE Education Week, April 2-8, a weeklong celebration of educational opportunities provided by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association. Its hundreds of organizational units, societies and councils around the world comprise all facets of electrical engineering.

IEEE offers pre-university STEM, university, and continuing professional education resources for engineers and technical professionals around the world. Local and regional activities, webinars, online courses, scholarships, events, and more are offered to IEEE members and the global community. IEEE is a fount of educational resources.

Activities have run the gamut across technical disciplines. A few examples:

  • The IEEE Magnetics Society held an online workshop titled, “Importance of Standards and Impacts/Benefits to Academia and Industry,” emphasizing the career-long importance of education.
  • The IEEE Education Society and the IEEE Young Professionals (YP) held a blog-writing competition on the topic, “Best Lesson Learned in Your Life,” focusing on reflections of students and YPs as they’ve moved through their careers.
  • The IEEE Student Branch at the Lebanese University – Faculty of Sciences II hosted a webinar, “How to Write a Technical Report,” covering best practices and tips on conveying technical information clearly and effectively.

Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” It worked for him, and the IEEE encourages everyone, and especially engineers, to recognize that education is never completed.

Whether it’s formal, informal, or non-formal, education goes on. What’s new with you?

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March is Pi Day Month (and Einstein’s Birthday)

Here’s a fun fact: 3.14, the two-decimal-place value of pi (π), also represents the date March 14, which is Albert Einstein’s birthday. It seems appropriate that the person credited with the greatest insight in math since Isaac Newton would have his birthday represented by an irrational number.

In honor of both pi and Professor Einstein, March 14 is recognized as Pi Day. It began in 1988 when physicist Larry Shaw of San Francisco’s Exploratorium held a circular parade and led a feast of fruit pies. One could say a circular parade is irrational, but then so is pi.

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Its elusive value has fascinated academics and engineers for millennia, having been approximated by Archimedes in ancient Greece. It needed a name, and was first called “pi” in 1706 by mathematician William Jones, because he noted that pi is the first letter in the Greek word for perimeter, “perimitros.”

The quest to find its value with more precision has led to computing power competition — a Google Cloud calculation in 2022 carried its value out to 100 trillion digits. That’s probably close enough if you need to figure the size of a vent hole in a wall.

Space exploration would not be possible without pi. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recognizes Pi Day and offers teachers a series of “Pi in the Sky” math challenge questions for grades 4-12. The Jet Propulsion Lab holds the NASA Pi Day Challenges for students from kindergarten through the 12th grade, providing classroom material showing how pi is used in determining orbits, surface mapping, asteroid tracking, and much more.

Here at Elite, 100-trillion digit precision is more than we need, but that doesn’t mean it’s less significant. Here’s another fun fact if significant digits are important to you. When your clocks came to 1:59 on March 14, you were three decimal places more precise, since pi to six digits is 3.14159.

Pi is a mathematical feature that has made scientific insights possible through all of recorded history. A circle’s relationship to itself is wonderfully irrational, and so is the language that describes it. That’s why we appreciated circles as we enjoyed some pie on March 14.

(Images: honorsociety.com, flickr.com)

Celebrate with Elite! National Engineers Week February 19 – 25

Everybody knows that George Washington was the first president of the United States. But did you know he is also one of its first engineers? In his youth, Washington was a surveyor. Later in the military in the 1750s he made maps and surveys. That was a skill he used well as a farmer and businessman. He also invented the “drill plow,” which used a rotating barrel to lay seeds.

President Washington was a great advocate of engineering. In 1951, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) founded National Engineering Week (EWeek) in honor of Washington’s birthday.

This year EWeek is observed February 19-25. The NSPE describes the objective of EWeek as being dedicated to “ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.”

From the beginning, Elite has encouraged its engineers’ professional development through continued training and certification. Elite President Ray Klouda is himself a Registered Professional Engineer (PE), and many of the EMC lab staff hold International Association of Radio and Telecommunications and Electromagnetics (iNARTE) certification. Clearly, the contributions of engineers over the years have built the quality and confidence associated with Elite.

The observation of EWeek is brought together by a coalition of technical and education societies, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), in concert with corporations and government agencies. Public awareness of engineers’ contributions is the goal, especially among parents, teachers, and students. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is highlighted to students at all levels as part of EWeek activities. Each year, EWeek reaches thousands of schools, businesses, and community groups across the U.S.

If you know a student deciding what career path to follow, encourage them to click the link to check out the NSPE’s Discover Engineers Week feature. Background is available on student activities, information on the future of engineering, and more. President Washington would approve.

Deadline is January 31 to Apply for the James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship

Know a student in an electrical engineering (EE) program? Does that student have an interest in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) or a related subject? Could that student use some support?

If the answer to those questions is “Yes,” you need to know that the IEEE James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship application deadline is coming up on January 31.

The JCK Scholarship is available to electrical engineering students at accredited universities and colleges. Awards are issued on an annual basis to a qualified undergraduate or graduate EE student seeking a degree with an emphasis in EMC or related discipline. Elite founder Jim Klouda believed students pursuing a career in electrical engineering were deserving of support, and in his memory, Elite established the scholarship to honor Jim’s long EMC career and his active role in its growth.

The JCK Scholarship has been awarded since 2014 to deserving students at colleges across the US. Complete eligibility requirements can be found on the JCK Scholarship page of Elite’s website.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) EMC Society (EMC-S) is the administrator of the IEEE JCK Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee. Scholarship presentations are made each year at the IEEE EMC Symposium Awards Banquet. Jim Klouda’s and Elite’s long relationship with the IEEE EMC Society is reflected in the award’s featured place at the international symposium.

The January 31 deadline is fast approaching! Electrical engineering is a fascinating career path, and EMC is critical as wireless technology spreads into all corners of our lives. If you know a EE student who could be eligible, check out the James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship and submit an application by January 31 to help that student build the next technology generation.

President’s Blog: Significance of Independent Test Laboratories to the Conformity Assessment Process

Raymond Klouda, President, Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

Elite Electronic Engineering Inc. is one of the world’s leading independent testing laboratories. What is the significance of independent testing? Why is it so valuable to the Conformity Assessment Process?

It is about trust and integrity.

Independent, or third-party, testing, is valuable because by its nature it provides trusted test results without bias. The independent lab is a neutral party free from conflicts of interest that can be associated with in-house, first-party test laboratories. First-party testing can be become victim to internal forces and management pressure that can compromise test-result integrity. 

The independent lab is not subject to the same pressures; it provides an objective view of the product. It is in the lab’s best interest to provide an unbiased report. Their goal is to instill confidence in the report’s quality, which is of utmost importance in end-customer applications. These qualities are a benefit to the test-customers’ business: it sets them apart and raises the perceived quality of their product. The reports and findings of independent laboratories inspire confidence and give a product a higher level of acceptance.

As an independent testing laboratory, Elite exemplifies these values and takes pride in our trusted test results. The conformity assessment community respects and relies on Elite and has counted on its test results for over 60 years.

Automotive manufacturers are among the end customers that count on Elite for an unbiased evaluation of components and the vehicles using those components. The telecommunication industry agencies count on Elite for an objective product review of wired and wireless devices, knowing they are evaluated professionally with no conflict of interest. The US military counts on testing that was completed according to specification without compromise of the data.

Part of marketing a product is the end customer’s confidence that it will function as it should and that it is both safe and reliable. The Conformity Assessment Process rests on independent testing that inspires that confidence and follows the product throughout its useful life. Elite’s customers value and trust our independent-testing heritage, and we are deeply grateful for their ongoing trust.

The James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship

“Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world.”
—Isaac Asimov, American writer, professor

A student pursuing an electrical engineering degree deserves support, especially if the student has an interest in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). Elite Founder Jim Klouda thought so, and in his memory, Elite established the IEEE James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship. The JCK Scholarship honors Jim’s long EMC career and his active role in furthering the art.

James C. Klouda – Founder, Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

The JCK Scholarship has been awarded since 2014 to deserving students at colleges across the US. Complete eligibility requirements can be found on the JCK Scholarship page of Elite’s website.

The JCK Scholarship is available to electrical engineering students at accredited universities and colleges. Awards are issued on an annual basis to a qualified undergraduate or graduate EE student seeking a degree with an emphasis in EMC or related discipline. We at Elite want to encourage friends and relatives of our customers to pursue a career in engineering, so please contact us for program details and information on how to apply.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) EMC Society (EMC-S) serves as the administrator of the IEEE JCK Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee. Scholarship presentations are made each year at the IEEE EMC Symposium Awards Banquet. Jim Klouda’s and Elite’s long relationship with the IEEE EMC Society is reflected in the award’s featured place at the international symposium.

Electrical engineering continues to grow as an industry and as a fascinating career path. Electrical engineers continue to be in high demand, and EMC has become critical as wireless technology finds its way into all corners of our lives. If you know a EE student who could be eligible, check out the James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship and help that student create the next generation of technology.

Marine Equipment Water Ingress Protection Testing and Ratings

At Elite, we test electrical and electronic products to ensure they operate reliability in their end use environment. One seemingly simple but important test is water Ingress Protection (IP). Its purpose is to evaluate the ability of an enclosure to prevent water from entering and interacting with any live electrical elements housed within.

While nearly every electrical product will require some type of water IP, for this article we address applications in the Marine industry and how IP is applied for watercraft ranging from commercial cargo ships to recreational boats.

The primary responsibility for water IP starts with the product designer who has the foundational knowledge of the device, its intended application, and knows which materials and processes can be applied to make it suitable for its wet environment while still being manufacturable and affordable.

It is also important to know which standardized tests may be required for the eventual product validation. In the commercial marine industry, many products are subject to type certification by the various International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) marine classification societies. Each has their own testing standard and will prescribe an appropriate IP test to ensure a degree of protection suitable for the application and location onboard the ship or offshore platform. Their standards typically encompass IACS requirements and reference elements from IEC 60945, IEC 60533, or IEC 60092.

IACS Members
Lloyd’s Register
Bureau Veritas
Registro Italiano Navale
American Bureau of Shipping
DNV
Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
Polish Register of Shipping
Croatian Register of Shipping
China Classification Society
Korean Register of Shipping
Indian Register of Shipping

In the recreational craft industry, there are generally no agency specified water IP requirements, however boat builders (OEMs) and aftermarket installers have expectations that electronic products used in their boats will operate reliability given the product’s location and application.

Regardless of where the water IP requirements originate, most testing eventually points to the recognized protection standard, IEC 60529. It addresses water exposure, access by solid foreign objects, and dust but because we’re discussing marine applications, our focus on the water ingress testing.

IEC 60529 Water-Ingress Tests and Ratings

IEC 60529 describes a range of standardized water exposure tests that are labeled with designating codes starting at IPX1 and increasing in severity and ending in IPX9. Each is briefly described here:

  • IPx1 Dripping water:

    Vertically falling water drops at the rate of 1 mm/minute applied for 10 minutes.
  • IPx2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15°:

    Similar to IPx1, but with the enclosure tilted up 15° from its normal position and a rainfall rate of 3mm/minute.
  • IPx3 Spraying water:

    Water falling as a spray at any angle up to +/-60° from vertical. This test can be applied using a showerhead that delivers 10 liters/minute for at least 5 minutes.
  • IPx4 Splashing of water:

    Similar to IPx3 but more exposure on the test item at up to +/-180° from vertical.
  • IPx5 Water jets:

    Water projected by a 6.3 mm nozzle against the product enclosure from any direction. The water jet is 12.5 liters/minute at a distance from 2.5 to 3 meters and for at least 3 minutes.
  • IPx6 Powerful water jets:

    Same as IPx5, but 12.5 mm nozzle and 100 liters/minute.
  • IPx6 Powerful water jets:

    Same as IPx5, but 12.5 mm nozzle and 100 liters/minute.
  • IPx7 Immersion up to 1 m:

    Immerse the product in water 1 meter measured at bottom of the product and at least 15 cm measured at the top of the product for 30 minutes.
  • IPx8 Immersion beyond 1 m:

    Same as IPx7 but with the immersion depth and duration defined by the manufacturer.
  • IPx9 High Pressure and Temperature Water Jets:

    Fan jet nozzle at 15 liters/minute for 30 seconds per spray position and at least 3 minutes.

Additionally,   

  • When a water IP rating is assessed for a product all lower-numbered IP ratings are also met without the product being tested. However, this only applies to drip, spray, and jetting ratings from IPx1-IPx6. This means that some products that require a versatile rating covering immersion or high-pressure water jets will also be separately tested to receive a versatile rating. Examples of versatile ratings include IPx6/IPx7, IPx5/IPx8, or IPx4/IPx7/IPx9.
  • For some products, it is possible to spray a water-sensitive colorimetric developer into the enclosure prior to testing. This material may help identify leak paths when water enters the enclosure. It changes color to indicate the presence of a leak and approximately where the leak originated. Whenever possible consider a water indicator prior to product assembly.
  • IEC 60529 requires the product and water temperature to be within 5 K (Kelvin) of each other. This is necessary to prevent thermal shock stress or any pressure differential. Test items often are conditioned at lab ambient temperatures or in a thermal chamber to align the product temperature with that of the water.

Advice for IEC 60529 Water Ingress Testing

  • When a commercial marine application requires type certification by an IACS marine class society it is important to coordinate testing with the marine surveyor and Elite’s lab scheduler. In particular, be certain to have an approved test plan in place before testing begins. Also, determine if the surveyor will require on-site witnessing or at least witness the posttest evaluation.
  • Establish how the posttest evaluation will be performed.
    •  Will the device be opened and visually examined?
    • Is an operating functional test performed?
    • Who will open the product, Elite or the client personnel?
    • Review how the product can be opened without dripping exterior water into the protected space.
  • State in the test plan if pre-test or post-test dielectric withstand testing or insulation resistance testing is required.
  • Identify if the Elite testing is being performed to support a separate electrical safety assessment conducted by others, for example per IEC 61010 or IEC 62368. In these instances, the post-test evaluation is important and will be specified by the safety testing agency.

Even though water testing may appear to be a simple and straightforward test there still other details of the test to consider, and even more so when the results are for marine applications.

If you have a marine water ingress test requirement or questions on any types of ingress testing, contact us so we can review the details of your product, the validation requirements, and provide advice to help you make your testing successful.

For more information about IP water ingress testing or any other testing services at Elite, contact Chuck Thompson at Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

Phone: 630-495-9770

Chuck and Kyle Thompson – Generations of Elite Experts

Elite Electronic Engineering has provided testing services to the industry for more than 65 years. Whether dealing with standards for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), moisture and corrosion, vibration, mechanical shock, photometric, tensile strength, and more in the realm of quality measurements, Elite has been there.

Among the reasons Elite can continue to provide reliable and timely testing is the longevity and dedication of its staff. Elite is fortunate to have generations of engineering talent, some of whom are members of the same family.

In Elite’s Environmental Stress Testing department, Team Leader Chuck Thompson and his son, Test Technician Kyle Thompson, have a combined 38 years of lab experience. Chuck has been with Elite for 27 of those years, the first ten as a test engineer and the past 17 as the team leader. His environmental qualification experience began in Florida testing radios and transponders for the military and rocket guidance systems. The severe tests required for that equipment prepared him for his career at Elite.

Chuck tells what followed: “After 8 years [in Florida], I returned to Downers Grove (my hometown) when my father was diagnosed with kidney failure and on dialysis. I sent a resumé to Elite Electronic Engineering and a few others in the area and soon received a call from [Elite founder] Jim Klouda. We spoke, and he invited me to come and see his operation. It was just what I was looking for.” 

Elite was expanding its Environmental Stress Testing lab at the time, and Chuck was the right engineer in the right place. In the years since, Chuck has updated and modified test equipment, developed new test strategies, and trained younger technologists to continue the work.

One of those younger technologists is his son Kyle, who at age 12 with his brother helped his dad with lab-cleaning chores. Chuck had coached Kyle’s youth baseball team years before and spoke of the difference between a family relationship and workplace roles. “When Kyle came to Elite, we talked about it. I was the environmental team leader and he would be reporting to me. Being at home was different from being at work. Because I had been his coach when he was younger, we understood how that relationship is different from a work environment.” Chuck had talked about his work when Kyle was younger. “I guess he liked the stories I would tell about the interesting tests we performed here and the latest products I would see and operate.” 

As a young man, Kyle had worked briefly in Elite’s maintenance department, then moved into other technical work in printing, plumbing and construction. He became a weld inspector and test technician, learning how to interpret standards.

For a time, Kyle studied fire science and was planning his wedding when Chuck told him of an environmental test technician opening at Elite. Kyle talked about his decision to accept the position: “Elite takes great care of their employees, and it would be an outstanding opportunity for a stable, long-term career. I also wanted the benefit of working with my dad and following in his footsteps.” 

Kyle is now one of the veteran test experts in Elite’s renowned environmental lab. “11 years and two kids later, I’m still working at Elite and looking forward to the future.” There are advantages to working together, as Kyle explains, “I learned a lot from my dad, watching him fix things and learning what he was doing. When I started at Elite, it was natural for me to go to him with questions.”

Chuck adds that it goes both ways. “Kyle has taught me a lot about Vibration Testing. He’s also there when I need help with something on my computer.” Workday questions sometimes continue after hours. Kyle said, “We both live near here and can come in if one of us needs help. It works well for us.”

There are a lot of reasons for Elite’s sustained success and reputation for trusted results. Those reasons include the deep roots that run throughout its expert staff. Chuck and Kyle, along with their colleagues in the Environmental Stress Testing lab, offer the timely, trusted service Elite has provided for decades. Describing his work with Kyle, Chuck sums it up: “I am glad that Kyle works for a company that cares about their employees as much as Elite Electronic Engineering does and maybe stay for 27 years like his dad.”

That’s how you get trusted results. Contact Elite and put its deep experience to work for you.

Elite Women in Engineering

June 23, 2022, is International Women in Engineering Day (IWE Day). This event was initiated by the Women’s Engineering Society and has been celebrated globally since 2014.

Elite is fortunate to have three talented women engineers on the staff. To celebrate IWE Day at Elite we recognize Jessica Kramer, Tylar Jozefczyk, and Kate Fanning for their hard work, determination, and contributions to the engineering profession at Elite.

Jessica Kramer, mechanical engineer in Elite’s Lighting and Photometry department, develops and analyzes tests of lighting fixtures, aviation lighting, and other illumination devices.

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) engineer Tylar Jozefczyk tests the compliance of electronic devices with regulatory requirements such as FCC, ISED-Canada, and EN standards for Europe.

Environmental test engineer Kate Fanning’s expertise is in mechanical stress testing, battery testing, cables, and connector testing, among others.

Each has her own background, skills, and specialty, and we are proud to have them as part of our company. Their story and their path to an engineering career are the focus of this month’s Elite employee spotlight celebrating IWE Day. We recently caught up with them to ask what inspired them to pursue an engineering career and what advice they have for others considering a similar pursuit.

Jessica Kramer, Tylar Jozefczyk and Kate Fanning

Elite Insider:  When did you know you wanted a career in Science, Tech, Engineering, Math (STEM)?

Tylar –   As a child, I loved to build with Legos. Later I became interested in space and exploration and watched many of the NASA and SpaceX Dragon launches. In high school, science and physics were my favorite subjects. I was just drawn more to science than other subjects.

Kate – A similar story for me, as high school science was my favorite. I recall taking things apart to understand them. I would compete in science fairs and liked the concept of testing and experiments. Leaving high school, I was intent on playing ice hockey

at the collegiate level and had my mind set on studying psychology, a soft-science field. But a year into Psych I found myself missing the absolutes of the hard sciences, math, and experimentation, so I switched to a physics major. I loved it and never looked back.

Jessica – That’s interesting, I was also a kid that would take things apart!  My parents encouraged my curiosity; although they did not appreciate all the things I took apart and left apart!

Tylar Jozefczyk (left) showing antenna orientation in the EMC lab

Elite Insider:  Did you receive encouragement to pursue an engineering profession?

Jessica – My mom encouraged me to be an engineer. She and my dad were dentists, so you would think I would have followed their path. But for me knowing about dentistry through my parents’ experience was enough to steer me toward a different course and one of my own interests. My mom recognized that I liked science and that I was curious about everything. I guess my parents felt I had the Knack… you know, Dilbert’s “Curse of the Engineer”

Jessica Kramer (right) describes illumination testing

Kate – My dad was a big influence and encouraged me to become an engineer. Most of my friends were already pursuing college science degrees like biology or medicine. So, when I switched from Psych to physics after my first year, most of my friends and family knew it was the right choice for me and were very supportive.

Tylar – I credit my stepdad for encouraging me to become an electrical engineer. He was an electrical foreman working in Chicago and knew that I would enjoy a technical career. It was fun to talk with him about the work I was doing at Elite because he was a family member who could understand the interesting and complex things we do. It was a good common bond for us and fond memories for me.

Tylar – My friends, however, could not understand why I chose physics as my degree. They would ask why anyone would do such a hard thing. And even though I would passionately describe how physics and calculus explain everything, in return I usually received friendly eye-rolling or blank stares from them. Anyway, I finished my physics major, then continued with an electrical engineering degree and math minor…. I think my friends finally understand me and now accept my love of science and math!

Elite Insider:  What’s the most challenging aspect of becoming or being an engineer?

Tylar – The biggest challenge has been applying what you learned in college to the work at Elite. An engineering degree provides a good foundation, but it does not teach you how to perform your job. I’ve learned to be a regulatory EMC engineer from scratch and there’s no fast and easy path to learning it. It’s only through experience and hands-on hard work that you finally become confident at your job.

Kate & Jessica –   We agree 100% with Tylar. Every day we learn how to apply our tech backgrounds to become better at our jobs. There are so many things to know, and each day seems like a new and different experience. We encounter new specifications, unique tests, new test equipment, and at least two or three different client projects every week! Being an engineer helps me adapt to multitasking, but it will take time and experience to really feel comfortable.

Kate Fanning (center) explains battery-test monitoring

Elite Insider:  What advice can you offer to young girls about a STEM career?

Kate – Pursue your passions! Whether it’s in engineering, ice hockey, or any other pursuit, don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it. Use their skepticism to fuel your determination.

Tylar –   Even though the engineering profession draws many more men than women, don’t let that stop you. I had many college classes being the only girl, but I became accustomed to it, and you will too. During college, try to join clubs or different non-tech social groups to extend your connection to others. For me, I joined a Robotics club and met friends through it. 

Jessica –   Engineering is a wonderful career path for women so don’t let stereotypes or the demographics about engineering stop you or intimidate you. Ladies do just as well and can be just as successful as anyone else, especially in a technical field. You can succeed as we did by following your passion, applying hard work, and maintaining your determination.

Elite proudly recognizes Tylar, Jessica, and Kate on IWE Day. We admire their achievements and encourage women of all backgrounds to consider a career in engineering. Here at Elite, we have a few suggestions for aspiring engineers:  

  • Apply for the annual Elite-sponsored IEEE EMC Society James C. Klouda scholarship. This is a scholarship in the name of Elite’s founder. It is a prestigious recognition and includes a monetary award.
  • Schedule a visit to our lab. We encourage tech-minded high school or college-age persons to contact Elite and arrange a visit with a staff engineer and tour of our facility. You can see first-hand examples of electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science and coding, and physics disciplines all coming together at one location.
  • Elite is hiring, so come join us! We welcome women to apply for several of our new job openings as full-time candidates or even internships for those still in school. Learn how you can build a great engineering career on our team!
  • Contact the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Society. The WIE is a world leader in changing the face of engineering. With 30,000 members in over 100 countries, IEEE WIE is a network that advances women in technology at all points in their lives and careers. IEEE WIE members make lifelong friendships, acquire influential mentors, and make a difference for the benefit of humanity.

President’s Post: Virtual Test Witnessing

COVID continued to be a challenge in 2021 and limited access to our lab. Travel, while allowed, can be a trying experience and we have innovated to deliver alternatives that keep our customers and employees safe and on track. We enjoy hosting our customers in our lab, but virtual experiences have proven to be a safe alternative.

We live in a virtual age – students take online classes, and doctors perform internet-linked examinations.  Elite has adapted as well, helping customers with Virtual Test Witnessing. Normally customers prefer to be in the lab to set up equipment, provide support, and/or witness the test being performed. Using virtual test witnessing, we can test products without our customers actually in the laboratory. One customer had a third-party witness who could not travel, so Elite brought them into the lab through multiple high-resolution video links. Another customer set up their own secure video link for continuous remote monitoring. Elite directed and monitored the tests, saving the customer time and expense while maintaining their schedule. Having the means to witness remotely sets Elite’s team above our customers’ expectations.

From the entire Elite family to yours – wishing you a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2022.

Ray Klouda, P.E.

President, Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

Elite Extends Toys and Talent for the Holidays

Elite Electronic Engineering has a long history of commitment, not just to the industry it’s been part of for 67 years, but also to the local and global community. 

Several years ago, Elaine Russo, Elite’s finance manager, learned of the Marine Toys for Tots program that collects toys for children in need. Toys for Tots is a foundation with roots dating to 1947 whose mission is to make the holiday season brighter for children. Driven by her passion for giving to others, Elaine led the charge at Elite to set up a toy donation site at Elite’s Downers Grove lab.

Over the past month, hundreds of new toys for all ages have been collected and brought to the site by Elite’s employees, its customers, its contractors, and the public. 

Adding to its long history of community engagement, Elite teamed up with Home Pride Services of Lisle, Illinois to raise funds for the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans (MSHV). Home Pride is one of Elite’s contractors and a long-time partner in benevolent work. The MSHV is a support agency for those who have served in the military.

Over $1000 in clothing and necessary supplies were purchased and donated by Elite, its employees, and partners. Elite also collected a large box of warm-weather clothing and other miscellaneous supplies for veterans in need. 

Elite’s Senior EMC Technician and Army veteran Craig Bowes also support the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans and other veteran causes by donating the proceeds from his beekeeping and craft winemaking hobbies to local vets. Craig’s skill as a vintner is evident in the Cabernet Sauvignon, Amarone, Spiced Merlot, Chardonnet, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc that he produced for the fundraiser.  And as an added benefit, the fresh honey and artisanal wine have been keenly enjoyed by Elite’s employees!

Elite’s Kathy Barri adds to the benevolent work by making stylish Covid-necessary facemasks for staff, visitors, friends, and family. Kathy has volunteered her time to make over 2000 masks, which she has used to raise over $2800 for colon cancer research and in the name of Elite’s late Dan Crowder. 

The Elite family appreciates the heartfelt work of Elaine, Kathy, and Craig for their generous gifts of time, passion, and hard work. We also appreciate our employees, customers, and our partners for their generous donations to these and many other great causes.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to all.

As we approach the closing weeks of 2021, Elite wishes everyone a happy holiday and good health in the new year.

Employee Spotlight: Craig Bowes

Craig and his wife rehearsing for retirement

This month, we celebrate our Senior EMC Test Technician Craig Bowes as he moves on to retirement at the end of the year. When he is not in the lab working with customers and training new engineers, Craig is busy as a bee with his myriad hobbies and donating his honey and wine for charitable causes. Now he will have more time to spend with his wife and his passions for beekeeping, bow-hunting, hog-riding, pepper-mixing, and winemaking. Craig has been an incredible and invaluable member of Elite team for 17 years and we wish him all the best on his next adventure.

We previously highlighted Craig back in 2015 and we asked Craig to reflect on his career at Elite and share what he has learned in and out of the lab.

How did you get into EMC/testing?

When I graduated from DeVry I did a short internship, but I was looking for something permanent. My brother Frank Bowes was working at Elite and talked to Craig Fanning to see if there were any openings in the programming or testing positions. I interviewed with Mr. Klouda and Craig Fanning and found that the programing aspect was already set but they did need someone in the testing aspect, so they hired me and back to school I went to learn electronics. 

What are the most rewarding aspects of working at Elite? Any particular highlights?

I love that most of the customers I work with come in with different products, so each test is unique in either the product and/or the specification that they are testing to. I find it rewarding to experience the satisfaction of a customer passing their test, who at first, had many concerns of the compliance of their product. I also feel proud to see coworkers that I had trained, grow, and develop their skill level and become confident test engineers. The highlights are the fellowship and comradery of working at a family-owned business.

Do you have any advice for younger engineers learning EMC testing?

Take lots of notes, there are many different specifications all with their own unique requirements, and test setups.

What is your proudest moment in life so far?

I have two proud moments of my life; one is going back to school at age 42 and graduating 4 years later with a degree and second is watching my wife develop her archery skills and going from shooting wildly to making me sweat that she will score higher than me.

What do you love about keeping bees? How did you get started?

A good friend of mine and his wife got started keeping bees and were very excited about it and wanted me to do it too, it took three years for them to talk me into it and I have enjoyed it right from the beginning. I enjoy beekeeping because Honeybees are very interesting and unpredictable and will keep you learning about them and their behavior every day. When harvest time comes, I like to process each super separately to get as many different flavors of honey as I can (each super will generally have its own unique flavor), other beekeepers laugh at me and tell me I have too much time on my hands, but I love seeing the reactions of people when they taste the different flavors. 

Honey Tip: Do not throw away the honey that has crystallized! Crystallization is a good thing; it shows you that you have a jar of very good raw unpasteurized honey (the best honey for you). To de-crystallize your honey simply put it in a pan of water and warm it up like you would a baby bottle (do not boil the water and do not use the microwave).

Craig waiting at the bees’ carryout window

Any tips for aspiring apiary enthusiasts?

If you are going to get into beekeeping, make sure you take a beekeeping class with the park district or from the beekeeping association, and most of all get to know a beekeeper. Ask them to be your mentor because you will have millions of questions as you go.

How many times have you been stung?

Over the course of my beekeeping, I think I’ve been stung about 100 times. A couple of memorable times were once during  harvest I was stung three times in the butt as I walked away with their honey (my wife laughs about that one), and another time I tried to work with them on a mild Jan day without my bee suit on thinking it would be too cold for them to come out and bother me but I was wrong and was stung 5 times in the back of my neck.

Quick Team Member Facts

Year Started at Elite: 2004

Areas of Expertise: Automotive EMC test procedures, Whole Vehicle test procedures, and CISPR 25 Chamber Validation test procedures

Education: DeVry University B.S.C.I.S; Waubonsee Community College Certificate in Electronics

Industry Certifications: Certificate in Business Administration and Lean Operations from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Unique Skills and Hobbies: Beekeeping, Bow Hunting, Archery 3D shoots, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Creating a Hot Pepper Mix, Winemaking 

Craig’s vintage assortment

Personal Motto: Hug a beekeeper and eat more honey (Beekeepers’ motto).

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Elite Expands A2LA Accreditation

Our testing and certification accreditations have been expanded and renewed after completing our recent assessment with A2LA. Third-party accreditation to ISO 17025 and ISO 17065 is the cornerstone of our quality management system to ensure that our processes are continuously assessed and improved to deliver the highest quality testing and certification services to our customers. Accredited test reports and certificates from Elite ensure our customers’ results are accepted around the world by manufacturers and regulatory bodies.

Elite has been continuously accredited for ISO 17025 since 1986, and for ISO 17065 since 2000. During that time, our capabilities and scopes of accreditation have expanded to meet our customers’ requirements. Our most recent expansions to our A2LA scopes of accreditation build on our expertise and capability to deliver complete compliance services for the automotive, aerospace, wireless/cellular, and lighting industries.

EMC and Electrical Testing (A2LA Certificate 1786.01)

  • ECE Regulation 10.06 Automotive EMC testing to support OEM and international type approvals for automotive electronics.
  • ETSI and 3GPP Cellular Spurious Emissions testing for Wireless and IoT devices using cellular data networks.
  • EMC and Radio standards for Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam to ensure international acceptance of test results and conformity assessments. 

Environmental, Mechanical, and Photometric Testing (A2LA Certificate 1786.02)

Wireless Product Certification (A2LA Certificate 1786.03)

  • UK Approved Body for Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations (SI 2016/1091) and Radio Equipment Regulations (SI 2017/1206).

Airport Lighting Equipment Certification (A2LA Certificate 1786.04)

  • Third-Party Certification Body for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program (ALECP) to test and certify all L-types in accordance with FAA AC 150/5345-53D.

Visit our ISO Accreditation page to download our complete scopes of accreditation; and contact us to learn more about how accredited testing elevates your compliance processes.

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EU and UK Regulatory Deadlines are Approaching!

There are important regulatory deadlines approaching, so review the compliance of your products to make sure they are up-to-date with changing European Union and UK requirements:

August 6, 2021- EN 300 328 V2.2.2 for WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and other 2.4GHz radios. 

Check your CE Marked 2.4GHz radio technical file because on August 6, 2021, version V2.2.2 of EN 300 328 will be the only standard that will establish compliance to the Radio Equipment Directive. Older versions of the standard will no longer provide the presumption of conformity. By this date existing compliance reports for radio-enabled products (modules or final apparatus) along with the manufacturer’s Declaration of Conformity (DoC) must reference EN 300 328 V2.2.2. 

January 1st, 2022- UKCA Mark. 

The UK-BREXIT process requires manufacturers to comply with United Kingdom regulations for manufactured products. The most significant step to take now is to apply the UKCA Mark to devices that are sold into England, Wales, and Scotland. Currently, 2021 is a transition year where either the CE Mark or UKCA Mark can be applied. However, only the UKCA Mark will be recognized for products sold in the UK countries England, Wales, and Scotland starting January 1st, 2022. Products sold into Northern Ireland still require the CE Mark.

Check here for more information and UK guidance documents.

Important EU Regulatory Resources

While you’re busy reviewing your European Union RED compliance status, be sure you have all the necessary labeling and documentation completed as required. Recently completed market surveillance conducted by European spectrum agencies have identified many products are complaint with the harmonized technical requirements but still don’t meet the documentation and labeling requirements. Here are the key guidance documents we rely on at Elite to inform clients in matters of CE Mark labeling and documentation. 

Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 

RED Compliance Obligations: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/42081

RED National Language Requirements: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/41141?locale=en

RED Risk Assessment Technical Guidance Note 30: http://www.redca.eu/Pages/Documents1.htm

EMC Directive (EMC-D) 

EMC Compliance Obligations: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/16512/attachments/1/translations

ADCO Label Examples: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/37842

EMC National Language Requirements: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/26690

Contact Elite today and discuss a review of your compliance documents with our experts.

President’s Post: Testing the Limits

Earlier this month Chuck Yeager passed away at the age of 97. General Yeager is memorialized as the quintessential test pilot and well known for “testing the limits”. On October 14, 1947 he was the first person to break the sound barrier by flying Mach 1.06 in an X-1 experimental rocket-powered aircraft.  At the time he had two broken ribs which he sustained from falling off a horse two days earlier.  His dedication to testing the limits of aircraft was paramount to the success of the US Space Program and the advancement of supersonic flight.

While testing at Elite is no death-defying feat, it is equally important. Testing improves the quality and reliability of manufactured products.  EMI/EMC and Environmental Stress Testing is a key factor in electronics’ development and production cycle. We at Elite take similar pride in knowing that the testing performed at our lab is essential to providing quality products to people around the world.

This year, 2020, certainly has been a challenge both professionally and personally.  The COVID-19 environment has been unparalleled to anything we have seen in recent history.  As a trusted supplier to several essential industries, Elite has remained open and COVID-19 has “tested the limits” of how we operate our test laboratory.  The ability to adapt and overcome new challenges has always been a strong part of our culture and it has been invaluable in confronting the effects of this pandemic. I am deeply proud of our entire team for showing tremendous resolve in keeping our commitments to customers, all the while keeping employees’ and customers’ safety our top priority. Technology has been our friend in that it has allowed for working from home and contact-free testing through remote video conferencing and witnessing.

From the entire Elite family to yours – wishing you a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2021,

Ray Klouda, P.E.

President

Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

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3 Ways Elite Uses Video to Support our Customers

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged this year, Elite was investing in video conferencing and recording systems to improve collaboration with our customers and document test item behavior. Travel and visitor limitations have made these systems more important than ever in supporting our customers’ success – and keeping them on schedule.

At Elite, there are three main ways we use video systems to connect with customers and meet their testing requirements:

1. Online meetings and video conferences

Sometimes a face-to-face meeting is the best way to get things done, so our sales engineers and test experts can schedule online meetings to discuss test requirements, work out proposals, and report on testing progress. Screen-sharing helps to review documents and test item details. We have a well-equipped conference room with an HD camera, big-screen TV, multiple microphones, and high-speed connectivity to ensure high-quality video and audio.

2. Test setup and troubleshooting

Elite is limiting visitors to our lab and most customers’ travel has been restricted as a prudent health and safety precaution. This can present a challenge when test items require complicated support equipment and setup typically performed by our customer. With real-time video calls, our test experts can collaborate with customers to configure test items, check functionality, and troubleshoot issues as they arise. We have mobile cameras and support computers to bring our customers into the lab virtually – and save travel time and cost.

3. Test witnessing and sample recording

When customers require test witnessing, we can set up cameras to record test sequences and test item behavior. This is especially valuable for dynamic tests such as vibration, flammability, dust/water exposure, tension/compression, and acceleration. Our waterproof cameras can handle extreme environments and record time-lapse videos for long duration tests. Video files are delivered to customers as additional evidence to support compliance.

Elite can host and join video conferences using Micosoft Teams, which allows guests to join using a web browser without installing a separate app or plug-in. We can also join other platforms hosted by customers, such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Zoom.

Don’t let travel restrictions delay your plans. Elite has dedicated video resources to support your project planning, test item configuration, and test execution from the comfort of your home or office.

Contact us today to schedule an online meeting with our expert team and move your projects forward.

Employee Spotlight: Kathy Barri Sewing Masks for Charity

Kathy Barri’s spare time lately has been consumed with sewing face coverings for co-workers, friends, family, and Elite’s customers. To those who know Kathy, it is no surprise that she would spring into action to help others in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elite has continued operation over the last several months and her original mission was to provide masks to protect Elite’s employees and customers. But that has grown into a larger mission to apply her skills to support the Colon Cancer Coalition in memory of dear friend and colleague, Dan Crowder. A part of the Elite family for 31 years, Dan Crowder passed away in April after battling colon cancer.

Kathy grew up watching her mother sew clothing for her and her sisters and learned the skill on a treadle machine. She started making her own clothing in her teenage years and worked at an alterations shop. There she learned to work with leather and fur jackets before continuing on to work at a furrier and a bridal shop.

Kathy has been our receptionist and administrative assistant for over 25 years.  However, she still connects to her passion for creating beautiful clothing and sewing through her home seamstress business.  She regularly tailors beautiful wedding dresses, prom dresses, as well as the occasional pair of pants for Elite’s grateful employees.

With some help from Elaine Russo and Margie Klouda of our Human Resources team and the 3D printing skills of EMC Engineer Marty Kalnins, Kathy’s sewing surge has resulted in over 300 masks – and she plans to keep going until she runs out of material. “I’m just glad I can use my talent to help everyone out in this pandemic – the support from everyone has been wonderful! To be able to help the Colon Cancer Coalition at the same time is awesome.”

Masks are available for pick-up at Elite for $10 each and all proceeds will be donated to the Colon Cancer Coalition – more than $800 has been raised so far.

Way to go Kathy, we appreciate all you do for our community and for Elite!

A Completed Career – Dan Crowder

Elite Electronic Engineering mourns the loss of a valued member of our technical staff, Dan Crowder. On April 19, 2020, with his loving wife, Donna, and sons Daniel and David at his side, Dan passed from this life. All of us at Elite are heartbroken as we say farewell to our colleague and to our dear friend, Dan.

A member of the Elite family for over 31 years, Dan came to Elite upon graduating from DeVry University with an Electrical Engineering degree. During his time he quickly distinguished himself as an expert in his field of Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and in particular radio equipment testing, regulatory requirements, and transmitter certification. Dan went on to become the Team Leader for Elite’s Regulatory Testing and Certification Department. He anchored Elite’s technical expertise in wireless device testing and created our ISO 17065 certification system for FCC, Canadian, and European certifications. He was a founding member of the Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) Council and served on various ANSI C63 technical committees contributing to the development of testing standards for radio equipment.

He was incredibly dedicated to and serious about his work at Elite, and his talents will be missed. However, for those of us who worked with him on a daily basis, it’s his playful sense of humor, quick wit, and warmth that will stand out in our memories. A gentle giant of a man, Dan embodied intelligence, humor, and humility – qualities we all admired and will leave us missing him more.

For all he meant to Elite and his co-workers, we knew his true passion in life was being a husband and father to his two sons. Dan was a self-described “Poppa Bear, and proud of it”. He loved life whether it was riding his motorcycle, playing paintball with the boys, riding dirt bikes, or relaxing by cooking for him and Donna.

We all have a new angel tuning in and watching over us. Farewell, dear friend, you will be missed.

“It saddens me to think of the world without Dan. I have known him since he started at Elite. Dan is someone you could always count on to do his best work – always the professional. From the beginning, he had a talent for EMC testing. He had a vast knowledge of the radio standards and regulatory requirements that could not be beaten. But what I remember most fondly is his wonderful attitude and light-hearted sense of humor. “
– Raymond Klouda, President

“Dan fought hard and long but cancer and treatments finally got the best of him. He was a member of the Elite family for over 31 years and was liked by many of our customers and colleagues. Dan enjoyed his family and the outdoors. Early on in our friendship, he and I went pheasant hunting and fishing together. Dan had the knack for playing with everything in somebody’s vehicle. He would always be fiddling with the electronics in my boat or car. Later in life, after his boys were growing up, his attention turned to motorcycle riding and the occasional long trip with his buddies. We carpooled to work together for the last 15+ years and had a lot of in-depth conversations about every topic known to man. He was a great friend to many of us and will be greatly missed. Please keep his wife and two sons in your prayers as they go through a very tough time in their life. May he rest in peace.”
– Craig Fanning, EMC Laboratory Manager

“Dan was without question one of the most level-headed and clear-thinking people I have ever known. He had a sense of humor that was completely disarming, and at the same time was incredibly dedicated to, and serious about his work at Elite. He had a fierce love for his family and his friends, and he was definitely very proud of his boys – that is how I will remember him. My condolences to the Crowder family. Dan will definitely be missed.”
– Stan Dolecki, Automotive EMC Team Expert

“It is without a doubt one of the hardest things I’ve had to witness while working at Elite, the loss of such a valuable and respected member of our Elite family. I’ve had the privilege to work side by side with Dan since I started at Elite and he’s been my mentor and friend these last 22 years. I will miss his guidance and his ability to make the best out of any situation. We’ve lost a big part of our Elite family and I hope that we can take the lessons we’ve all learned from Dan to heart. My condolences to the Crowder family.”
– Rick King, FCC/CE Mark Team Leader

“Dan was an amazing person. He was a very hard worker but also knew how to have fun. He was so very proud of his boys and their accomplishments; a true family man. We all have a new angel watching over us; rest in peace dear friend. You will be missed.”
– Elaine Russo, Finance Manager

“I remember when Dan first started at Elite. We had a lot of fun performing EMC tests which made it fun to come to work. We worked on several projects together and I enjoyed getting to know Dan. I was fortunate to be around when he first met his wife Donna. Dan enjoyed life, and he was definitely very proud of his boys. Please keep his wife Donna and two sons (David and Daniel) in your prayers as they go through a very tough time in their life. He is now in a better place and without pain. I will miss Dan and his sense of humor.”
– Patrick Hall, Military/Aerospace EMC Team Leader

“Dan was a warm-hearted guy that would always take the time to ask how you were doing. Dan would walk through the lab and greet everyone like the Mayor of Elite. I know that he truly loved Donna and his boys David and Daniel. I had the pleasure of working with the boys and would say that Dan did a great job with his part in raising them. I will be praying for Donna and the boys. Dan, we will miss you!”
– John Lindberg, Environmental Laboratory Manager

“Dan wasn’t just a colleague; he was a good friend too. I may have learned a lot from Dan professionally, but what I’ll always admire most about Dan is what he taught me (and all of us) about being a good person and friend. He was one of the best people I ever met, one of the most fun to be around, and the easiest person there ever was to get along with. Dan was a legend. I am honored and privileged to have spent the last 20 years knowing him. The Crowder and Elite families will miss Dan profoundly, but the love, friendship, and knowledge that Dan gave to all of us will live on forever.”
– Adam Rohman, Scheduler / Project Manager

“Dan was a great mentor. He didn’t just give you the answer; he sat down and helped you work through the problem. He taught you how to come up with solutions yourself. He always stressed the importance of quality and developing methods to improve Elite. The mid-afternoon breaks where we went outside to enjoy the sunshine will be greatly missed. It has been a pleasure to grow professionally with him and I hope he was as proud of us as we are of him.”
– Robert Bugielski, Quality Manager

“I am going miss many things about Dan Crowder, the daily old man jokes from his calendar, hearing about the motorcycle trips he took with either Donna or his other friends, hearing about, and occasionally sampling, all the meals that were cooked on his Big Green Egg and seeing the top of his head over his tall monitor as he worked at his desk and hearing his laugh. He seemed to live life to its fullest, which is what we can all hope for. It was always fun to see him and the family at the annual Elite picnics and see his boys grow up into the wonderful men they are now. It is a privilege to have worked with him all these years through good times and bad. I can only think of the Billy Joel song “Only the Good Die Young” when someone so full of life is taken so soon. We will all miss you, Dan. No more pain and suffering. Rest in Peace Dan!”
– Frank Bowes, Sr. EMC Engineer

President’s Post: Collaborating for Success

President’s Post: Collaborating for Success

Our customers rely on our testing expertise in order to achieve their goals. Whether their purpose is to meet regulatory or contractual requirements, we propose to collaborate with our customers and provide them with trusted results. This means understanding our customers’ unique needs. While testing protocols may be standard, their application to our customers’ products is unique and requires the knowledge and understanding of their product to apply to test properly.

We continue to provide new services to address our customers’ needs as well as expand our brand in new marketplaces. Over the past year, we have added new services and expanded our current services to meet our customers’ testing and certification needs in one location: 

  • In Wireless & IoT, we have introduced the Midwest Wireless Test Center (MWTC) at Elite. Our purpose is to provide a Center of Excellence for wireless testing and certification for our customers integrating Cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth modules in their products. We continue to make investments in our facilities and personnel and are now a CTIA Authorized Test Laboratory (CATL) – the only independent lab in the Midwest with this status.
  • Through our Life Cycle Testing automation solution services, our engineers provide customized systems to precisely operate customers’ products for durability and reliability assessments. 
  • In our Photometric Testing lab, we continue to expand our services for automotive, aerospace, and consumer lighting systems. We are working toward becoming a third-party certification body under the FAA Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program in 2020.
  • There are many exciting new and improved services that we at Elite are very proud to present to our customers. We continue to invest in our expert personnel and innovations to meet our customers’ changing needs for cost-effective and trusted testing services.

Wishing you a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2020 and beyond,

Ray Klouda, P.E.

President, Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

2020 JCK Scholarship

Attention College Students…and Parents!

IEEE James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship

Once again it’s that time of year to bring attention to the annual IEEE James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship

The IEEE is now accepting applicants for the 2020 prize. The single recipient will receive the following:

  • A maximum of US $1,000 for one student for school expenses (tuition, books, students fees)
  • A maximum of US $500 to cover travel expenses to/from the 2020 IEEE EMC Symposium and free admission to the symposium EMC-S Student Membership for 12 months to one student
  • The scholarship will be presented to the awardee at the 2020 IEEE EMC+SIPI Symposium in Reno, NV on July 27 through 31.

Beyond the dollar value of the award, there is the far greater benefit of having a prestigious scholarship on the resume of an entry-level engineer. Future employers recognize achievement and scholarship awards get attention.

Click here for information on how to apply today.

IEEE EMC Society – Chicago Chapter Scholarships

We also encourage college-age students to apply for the IEEE EMC Society Chicago Chapter scholarship program.   Elite has been a long-time champion of the IEEE EMC Chicago Chapter and we highly recommend participation in this scholarship opportunity.

Click here for more information about the IEEE EMC Society Chicago Scholarship offerings.

Employee Spotlight: Kathy Barri and Elaine Russo At The Heart Of Elite

Say Hello to Elite’s Very Own Kathy Barri and Elaine Russo

Kathy is our long-standing office administrator, receptionist, and marketing assistant. For 25 years she’s literally welcomed nearly every customer who has contacted Elite by phone or passed through our doors.

Elaine Russo is Elite’s Finance Manager. 

For 15 years Elaine has singlehandedly worked with almost every Elite customer to establish our business relationship and manage payables and receivables.

If you’ve visited Elite then it’s likely you’ve come to know them both. However, by only meeting them causally or by knowing them through their company role you’re missing the truly remarkable side of these women.  That’s because at the heart of Elaine and Kathy is a selfless passion for helping, caring, and giving to others.

Entirely of their own initiative, these two ladies encourage Elite co-workers and associates along with their own friends and family to join their passion for giving.

Their efforts at Elite are no small task because they successfully motivate a company of technical-minded individuals whose focus is more comfortable with tangible gadgetry. Using their matriarchal warmth, generosity, and genuine purpose they connect with all Elite employees and engage us with the true spirit of love and giving.

There are many good people, but Kathy and Elaine represent the best of Elite and provide a constant example for us all of what truly matters in life-giving to others. They are two Elite employees you should know.

Kathy Barri & Elaine Russo: Elite’s True Accomplished Stars

In Support Of Our Military

Operation Baking Gals

Combining their love of cooking with volunteering, they send homemade treats and necessities to soldiers deployed abroad. Connecting with friends through social media they lead teams of bakers to send soldiers a little bit of home along with items that are not readily available in the military PX. They have also reached out to the Boy Scouts who contribute by sending cards and letters. These are simple reminders of home but are always appreciated by the young men and women serving our nation.

Toys For Tots

For 3 years, Elite has participated in the local Toys for Tots program.  Our Marines enjoy providing toys for kids that might not otherwise get anything else.  It is a fun and easy way to share the Christmas spirit.  Oooh Rah!
By the way, Elaine is also the incredibly proud Aunt of nephew Zachary Russo, USMC. 

Raising Awareness and Donations for Curing Cancer

Susan G. Komen

Participating in the 3-Day breast cancer walk is rewarding in many ways. The ladies have raised thousands for this noble cause.   Kathy has regularly connected her own family in many of her fundraising events too.

Race For The Cure

Kathy and Elaine have helped Elite participate in a number of fundraisers including the Race for the Cure that is held in Lombard in the fall each year. 

Relay For Life

Encouraged by Kathy and Elaine, Elite enrolled in the inaugural Lisle, IL Relay for Life and the I-88 Corridor corporate Relay for Life.  These are all-day-all-night events. Even though we may not have made it the whole evening, Elite participants still had a lot of fun. 

Brave For Benjamin (BBB)

Benjamin, a young boy in the community, was diagnosed with leukemia.  Elaine knows Benjamin’s mom through a local Jazzercise class and wanted to find a way to help. 

Elaine and Kathy worked with Elite to support Benjamin as a beneficiary of one of our fitness challenges. Through these efforts, we raised over $8000 for his medical needs.  

Elite continues to support this young man each year on his leukemia anniversary which coincides with his birthday. In support, Elite collects gift cards for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital. When kids finish a treatment they can select a gift card as a reward.

Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation

One of Elite’s fitness challenges was to raise money for the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.  Elaine became aware of this group because of our friend Brave for Benjamin and because of the Rizzo Family Foundation’s support of Benjamin as well.  Plus Anthony Rizzo is Elaine’s favorite Cub!   Elite raised over $8000 for them…..we have the signed baseball and bat to prove it!

Helping Elite Families Help Others

Autism Speaks

During one of Elite’s fitness challenges, Kathy and Elaine along with Elite came together to raise over $6000 in support of the local Autism Speaks chapter.

Tough Timmy

Elite used one of our Food Revolution events to raise money for a young man who is battling cancer.

Food Revolution

Elite participated in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution to show people how easy it is to have a good meal cooked quickly and healthy at home.  Proceeds were donated in support of Food Revolution and our local food pantry.

Blood Drives

Elaine and Kathy have sponsored Elite blood drives twice yearly for the last few years.  At each event, we have been lucky to collect 20 units of blood or more!  We have a few employees who take the extra time to give double red…..that is extra special!

Labels: Employee Spotlight

Big Challenges Require Big Changes

By Tom Klouda, VP Engineering

Being a leader in a high-tech industry requires diligent attention to new technology, emerging markets, and evolving customer needs.  To keep pace means we have to continually invest in our staff and resources. We can’t take our foot off the gas and still be the kind of company our customers expect so we channel a significant percentage of our success back into our company.

2018’s investments brought many new improvements, initiatives, and additions to Elite. Here’s a brief look at a few of the more notable steps we took to fuel the Elite Advantage:

Automotive EMC Testing

New CISPR 25 Chambers  

Since our clients rely on Elite’s best-in-market scheduling we added two additional chambers, for now, six total CISPR25 Ford/GM/FCA approved rooms. This addition is key to enabling flexible scheduling in helping clients meet rigid validation deadlines.

New CI Test Stations

Elite now has six (6) TESEQ conducted transient immunity test systems. These instruments incorporate signal generators, arbitrary waveform generators, and software that speeds up setup time and facilitates peak schedule demands.

Nine ESW Receivers

Elite completed the roll-out deployment of its nine (9) Rohde & Schwarz ESW receivers and test automation software.  These systems incorporate the latest in swept and time-based FFT receiver technology and are already in use shortening our RF emissions tests.

New Staff & Training

We added two EMC test engineers, bringing our total to 25 qualified personnel just for Automotive EMC testing. Having such a significant manpower resource ensures quick access to services and timely completion of validation tests.

EMC training is another key to success and no other lab provides the depth and breadth of EMC training as Elite. From our efforts, we see the better setup and testing consistency, improved troubleshooting, and the ability to quickly identify issues with results. The technical competence of Elite engineers consistently ranks highest in feedback from our customer surveys.

Wireless & Regulatory

Because projections cite nearly 50 billion wireless-connected devices by 2022, Elite has added the personnel and resources to help clients bring their wireless-enabled devices to market.

Cellular Experts

Joining the Elite team in 2018 were Firass Badarazzuman and John Peters. These Moto alumni bring an impressive resume to lead our cellular test and wireless design services. 

Firass and John complement our well-established FCC/CE Mark Global services by integrating existing regulatory services with antenna optimization and RF system performance tests for CTIA OTA certification. 

CTIA-Compliant OTA Chamber

Elite’s new fully anechoic antenna chamber is configured with the R&S CMW500 cellular emulator for antenna testing and over-the-air cellular metrics like Total Isotropic Sensitivity (TIS) and Total Radiated Power (TRP).  Watch Video

ISO 61000-4-x Transients

Our new Teseq transient system reduces setup time and allows Elite engineers to couple pulses on test items that draw higher operating currents.

Military & Aerospace EMC

Three Lightning Test Systems

Our commercial aviation clients will benefit from Elite’s third lightning test system for DO-160/MIL-STD-461G.  The additional capacity provides more flexible test scheduling and ensures reliable backups in case of equipment downtime.

60kVA Programmable Power

Commercial aircraft systems are more and more electrified than ever. The new Elite 60kW programmable power supply is available for clients having high current single or three-phase 400Hz powered systems. Plus this system provides tremendous versatility since it is re-configurable into four separate 15kW units.

Software Upgrades Speed Test Time

MIL-STD-461G radiated emissions software is ready to pair with Elite’s new FFT time-based receivers.   This new receiver/software combination will help clients test quickly and efficiently, especially for electric actuators that are not able to operate continuously for lengthy periods of time. Plus, Elite’s radiated susceptibility software now enables more flexibility for starting and stopping RS scans during tests that have long operational run times. 

Environmental Stress Testing

Photometrics Lab Now ISO 17025 Accredited

By having our photometry lab accredited, Elite provides a one-stop for all the validation steps required for exterior lighting systems; EMC, environmental stress, and now photometry.  In addition, we’ve leveraged our photometry expertise so pre/posttest measurements of photometric properties during EMC or environmental testing can easily be made at Elite, rather than having to return items to the customer for posttest measurements.

3D Printing

Elite provides custom-built fixtures and test automation solutions, but now with our 3D printer Elite engineers can build lower-cost, highly efficient test support solutions

New Staff & Equipment

Our environmental team grew with the addition of two new test engineers and our largest temp-cycling chamber came online. This new chamber provides significant airflow for massive test items and our LN2 cooling and electric heating provide cycle ramp rates upward of 20C/min.  Plus a new vibration table was ordered and is expected to come online by February 2019. 

Elite’s Other Notable Process Improvements for 2018

Beyond the highlights mentioned above, Elite’s continuous improvements are always in process and occur across all departments and at all levels. The following is a summary of other recent changes, improvements, and initiatives at Elite:

  • The efficiency of DO-160 mode-stirring and mode-tuning has been greatly enhanced by using the field intensity calculation of DO-160G. 
  • A new Absorber Lined Shielded Enclosure was installed to replace a legacy chamber.  It’s ready for MIL/Aero or automotive EMC testing. The new chamber will provide Elite clients quicker access to our lab and increases our CISPR 25 chamber lineup to 6 approved facilities.
  • Five chambers are now retrofitted with updated equipment test stands to improve test equipment access and to make the working space more efficient.
  • High-definition fiber optic cameras are placed in four chambers with others available as needed.  Having equipment ready for use saves time and improves productivity.
  • We have two approved RI 115 systems, with a third available for GM, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and various other specs with variations on this method.
  • We have the capability for the new Nissan and Volvo near field magnetic field emissions test from 2Hz to 230MHz, and soon to be 400MHz.
  • We have added more fiber optic transceivers for LIN, CAN-FD, and SENT communications.
  • Elite’s Toyota noise long duration transient testing has been optimized for test processing and efficiency.
  • We engineered calibration references for BCI and RI to allow staff to quickly verify test setups and ensure our systems will provide accurate results the first time through. Our SPC efforts show RI verifications are within +/-3dB window (typically 2 dB), RADAR pulse RI is 2dB or less, and BCI is +/- 1dB. We take pride in the quality of our work but these efforts ensure clients can count on Elite when successful test completion matters.
  • Test process metrics for BCI and RI continue to improve. All room/rack performance for these two tests can be shown to be within +-4dB max for RI, +/-3dB for RADAR, +/- 2dB for BCI, over at least 95% of the frequency range.

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Future Bridge Builders Tour Elite

This spring, Elite hosted a group of high school students from the state of Oregon for a tour of Elite’s Downers Grove laboratory. The students and their chaperones were in Chicago to participate in the 2018 International Bridge Building Contest held at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

The mission of the IIT Bridge Building Contest is to promote the study and application of physics fundamentals in high school through a hands-on wooden bridge building project. The competition provides students an opportunity to experience the type of analytical thinking required of engineers. It is a hands-on design challenge to a set of specifications. Students develop their design, build it, and then test for scores. At stake are school pride, personal accomplishment, and a full tuition scholarship to the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Elite’s Oregon student visitors qualified to compete and represent the state against 52 other nationwide qualifiers. All performed incredibly well and finished in the top third of all contestants. Henry O’Scannlain-Miller finished in 2nd and Josh Seals 3rd overall.

During the tour of Elite students were able to view the type of work electrical and EMC engineers perform and learned about the significance of EMC for all types of products and applications.

Since the student bridge-builders were particularly interested in mechanical testing, Elite’s Environmental Testing team took time from their day to demonstrate the type of testing that is important to structural design.

Elite’s environmental test engineer, Eric Lindberg, set up and demonstrated a vibration resonance test. The test was configured to run a vibration resonance search on a flat aluminum cantilevered plate, the results of which were used to compare to calculated results that predicted the fundamental resonance and its harmonics.

Elite’s material test engineer, Nella Grandback, demonstrated our Materials Testing capabilities by setting up and completing a live impact strength test using Elite’s large MTS E22 Pendulum Impact Test System. This machine is capable of maximum impact energies up to 450J. Nella also ran a tensile strength test on a sample of aluminum using Elite’s 55,000lb MTS universal test machine.

The demonstrations helped students connect with the fact that the strength of materials can be stated in terms of several unique properties.

Thanks to all Elite staff for helping to inspire these future engineers!

In case you’re wondering why Elite hosted students all the way from Oregon, it turns out that Elite is “Linkedin” with Nestucca High School by way of Elite’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Steve Laya, and his daughter Sydney who is a teacher at the school. Nestucca High School is in the beautiful coastal town of Cloverdale, Oregon.

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Employee Spotlight: Robert Bugielski Earns MBA Degree

Elite congratulates Robert Bugielski on completing his advanced studies and earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management (DeVry University).

Robert Bugielski has been a member of Elite’s technical staff for over 12 years. Having graduated from DeVry University with an electronics engineering degree in 2006, he connected with Elite to begin his career as an EMC engineer. His test experience focused on automotive EMC projects with some work in military testing. In 2013, Robert became an iNARTE Certified EMC engineer. 

Robert has since transitioned to the sales team where he now helps Elite clients navigate the full range of testing and compliance work performed at Elite. This includes all EMC services as well as environmental stress testing, and photometric.

We asked Robert to share a few comments about his MBA experience:  

What fueled your interest in pursuing an MBA degree?

After obtaining experience in testing and sales at Elite, starting my MBA program felt like the next step in my career development. An everlasting impression that Mr. Klouda, the founder of Elite, left on me when he hired me, was when he told me that it was ok to make mistakes as long as I learned something new every day. 

What was the most challenging part of achieving your degree?

I wouldn’t say there is one aspect that stands out more, but a few parts that were equally difficult. The first was adapting to education again. You don’t realize how primed you were after high school to attend college, until taking 12 years off and having to write research papers or take exams. Another challenge was commitment. I decided to take two graduate classes per session instead of one so I could finish in 1.5 years. It takes a lot of motivation to work full time and complete the required coursework week in and week out. The other challenging part was the self-reflection required during the coursework. One of the key parts of my studies as you have to learn how to analyze and improve your own deficiencies before critiquing others through management.  

How do an engineering degree and advanced business degree help you?

I believe they help me see the bigger picture when it comes to the operations of a company. I can relate to the importance of procedures, policy, education, and problem-solving in engineering. Then I am able to tie that in with key business factors such as cost, profits, brand, and culture.  

What advice can you offer to others having an interest in graduate-level education?

Prepare yourself for the commitment and recognize that sacrifices will have to be made. Then when you start, make sure you put forth the required effort. Don’t just go through the motions or fake it until you make it. 

How did your family support you through the process?

My amazing wife Lacy was very supportive and helpful through the whole process. There were many weekends I spent in front of my laptop screen. Quite a few weekdays working at Elite during the day and eating dinner with the laptop at night. She was always reassuring when I felt guilty for the lack of involvement in social life during my studies. She too has a Master’s in education and understands the work that goes into graduate studies. Instead of extravagant weekend getaways, she was helping me proofread 15-page research papers. For that, I’ll always be indebted to her.

Which course or materials made a lasting connection with you?

The two main management classes I learned a great deal in. They were “Leadership and Behavior Organization” and “Leadership in the 21st century.” The classes were great for applying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to today’s workforce. I’ll never forget the lessons about building high-performing teams, the importance of business culture, and how the business landscape is changing from hierarchy models to collaboration.

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IEEE James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship

The IEEE James C. Klouda Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of James C. Klouda and his professional career in the field of electromagnetic compatibility. The Scholarship Fund awards, on an annual basis, a scholarship to a qualified undergraduate student seeking an electrical engineering degree with an emphasis in the field of EMC or a related discipline, from an accredited U.S. university or college. We hope that friends and relatives of our customers might benefit from this award as well so please inquire. Contact us for more details on the scholarship and how to apply (or see info below).

Administration:  IEEE EMC Society (EMC-S) will serve as administrator of the IEEE JCK Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee.

Eligibility:  The Scholarship Candidate must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student in electrical engineering at an accredited university or college and inside the U.S. (no distance learning or online course students are eligible)
  • Have completed freshman year in an electrical engineering program at an accredited university or college in the U.S.
  • Hold a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale
  • Have completed college coursework in electromagnetic compatibility or in a related discipline

Prize Items:  The Scholarship Fund will be used to fund on an annual basis the following annual expenses:

  • A maximum of US$1,000 for one student for school expenses (tuition, books, students fees)
  • EMC-S Student Membership for 12 months to one student
  • Presented to the awardee at the annual IEEE EMC Symposium

The basis for Judging:

  • Evidence of maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • One referral letter from an individual who is qualified to evaluate the applicant’s academic accomplishments (e.g., professor, administrator, employer, internship organization)
  • Additional consideration will be afforded to scholarship applicants that reside in IEEE Region 4

Application Deadline: January 31st, 2018

APPLY NOW

Labels: EMC Scholarship; JCK Memorial Scholarship; IEEE EMC

Employee Spotlight: Michael Cosentino

Title: Technical Sales Engineer

Year Started at Elite: 2017

Areas of Expertise/Interest: Environmental Stress, Military & Automotive EMC. Technical Sales.

Education:

Illinois State University – B.S., Business Administration & Organizational Leadership 

Any unique hobbies, talents, skills, experiences, etc.: 

– Hobbies: Fitness (HIIT Workouts), Hiking, Camping, Snowboarding, Scuba Diving, Traveling, 
– Talents/Skills:  I can walk on my hands pretty well.

– Experiences:

  • Hiking a “14ner” (what a 14,000 ft. mountain is called in Colorado)
  • Completed two Tough Mudder Obstacle Course Events.  (10 Miles, 20+ Obstacles & the highest elevation courses).
  • I lived in west England for a summer with a host family.
  • Recently traveled to Costa Rica and stayed on the beach, in a tree house in the cloud/rainforest forest, and in the jungle by a volcano.

What would you consider to be your passion outside of work? How did you get started in it? Any advice for anyone looking to try this activity?

Hiking!  I love being outside, in the wilderness, and exploring new places.

Get some waterproof hiking boots (with good ankle support), a hat, a small backpack that includes: a light jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks that are at least 100 calories each (cliff bars and almonds are my favorites), and a hydration reservoir filled with at least 2L of water.  Make sure to google hiking trails near you or download the “All Trails App” which lists the trails near you) and get out there and explore!

Proudest moment in life so far:

When I married the love of my life this past July in the beautiful Colorado mountains.

How did you get involved with EMC/ENV testing?

I have always wondered how all the electronics in our world get along.  For example, when the pilot says, “Please put your phones in Air Plane mode…” Also, the science behind how things are made to work within different environments. My new family might have something to do with it too ;).

Why did you choose to work at Elite?

Elite is a great company made up of awesome people with good values.

What is something that customers/colleagues might find surprising about you?

I go to get Acupuncture done and I’m sneaky-good at estimating.

If you could be paid something other than money, what would you choose? 

Laughs

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Regulation Compliance: A Testing Laboratory’s Role

Most standards and regulations rely on testing and measurement to demonstrate compliance with their requirements. These standards have requirements for the test facilities to be used when testing products for compliance. In order to properly evaluate any product, tests and measurements must be performed in a well-equipped laboratory and under conditions described and specified in the standards. The staff must be well trained and have experience with particular measurement techniques. For example, for radiated emission measurements, a large absorber-lined shielded enclosure (ALSE) or Open Area Test Site (OATS) is required. The test site must be designed and built to meet rigorous site attenuation requirements. The measurement receiver should be equipped with specified bandwidths and detector functions. Measurement antennas are listed and must be characterized for the frequency range. The equipment must be maintained and calibrated with traceability to a national standard. A properly equipped and staffed laboratory is essential for demonstrating that a product is compliant with the standards and regulations.

Manufacturers may choose to have their own internal laboratory or use one of the many independent laboratories for their compliance testing. In either case, to ensure the quality of the test, the laboratory will need to be accredited. Typically, these laboratories are required to be accredited according to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard, which specifies the general requirements for the competence of testing laboratories. These laboratories can be expensive to build and maintain, so many manufacturers will rely on independent third-party laboratories to meet their needs. Test lab trade organizations such as the American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL) would be a good source to contact for such third-party testing options. Sometimes a manufacturer will have what is known as a “pre-compliance” laboratory inside its facilities and use an outside third-party laboratory for official measurements. A pre-compliance laboratory might not be accredited nor meet the rigorous requirements in the standard but will be useful for experimenting with the product in its development stage so that it will likely meet the requirements when presented to the compliance laboratory for official tests.


Raymond J. Klouda has been with Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc., since 1981 and serves as President and Senior EMC Engineer. Mr. Klouda has been active in the related fields of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and RF shielding design since 1981. He is proficient with military and commercial EMC specifications, including Mil-Std-461, RTCA-DO160, FCC rules, Canadian regulations, CE marking, and international compliance, including CISPR and IEC/ISO specifications. As a technical reviewer, he evaluates and approves radio devices under the Telecommunication Certification Body program. In addition, he leads the team responsible for the administration of Elite’s ISO 17025 quality system and ISO 17065 certification systems. Ray lives in Lisle, IL, USA. He enjoys gardening and traveling. Mr. Klouda received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana B.S.E.E. (1981) and graduated with honors (Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu honor societies). He is an iNARTE-certified EMC engineer and a licensed professional engineer in the state of Illinois. He is an active member of the IEEE EMC Society and the IEEE EMC Chicago Chapter and has served on the Executive Committee since 1989 in various roles (secretary, chair, and member). He was also Technical Program Chair for both the 1994 and 2005 International EMC symposiums held in Chicago, IL, USA.

Posted via: https://www.standardsuniversity.org/e-magazine/september-2017/test-laboratories-compliance-testing/

Click here to look at compliance demo videos and other articles from this September’s Introduction to Conformity Assessment and Compliance Issue of the IEEE Standards University e-magazine

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Elite’s ISTA Certified Testing Laboratory

For over 60 years, Elite has been a leader in product qualification testing services for automotive, aerospace, defense, telecommunications, and many other industries. Now, as an ISTA Certified Testing Laboratory, Elite can test the effectiveness of your product’s packaging to ensure it is delivered to your customers damage-free and ready to use. The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) develops and delivers consensus testing protocols that are recognized by manufacturers, shippers, and distributors to assess the performance and survivability of packaged products from your factory to your customer’s doorstep. The ISTA Test Series is tailored for various types of packaging and also covers the specific requirements of retail members, such as Amazon. For the ISTA “Transit Tested” Program, Elite is also authorized to submit test reports directly to ISTA as part of the application package.

Confirming the effectiveness of your package design is just one benefit of testing. Testing can help to optimize packaging size and weight to control cost and waste. When packaged products are not “damaged in transit”, it reduces the significant cost of repair or replacement for manufacturers. Shippers can also save costs on freight and insurance and receive expedited claim resolution if damage does occur since ISTA test results are recognized by major carriers.

Elite’s ISTA Package Testing capabilities simulate all of the main distribution hazards: Handling Drop and Impact, Transportation Vibration, Stacking Load, and Atmospheric Conditions. Our facilities can accommodate all types and sizes of packaged products, from small boxes to palletized loads and oversized crates. We also have 2 ISTA Certified Packaging Laboratory Professional Technicians on staff to plan and successfully execute your overall test program. With our product and package testing services in one location, you can streamline your supply chain and accelerate your testing schedule.

How much could you save by optimizing your package design and reducing transit damage to your products? Packaging selection is typically the final stage in the production process, so enlist Elite early to help verify that your packaging options meet the needs of your shipping department and end customers. Contact us today to start planning your packaging test program at Elite.

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Partner Spotlight: Carrie Watson

Here’s a little bit about the front desk maven in the new North Annex, Carrie Watson:

Title: Administrative Assistant

Year Started at Elite: 2013

Any unique hobbies, talents, skills, experiences, etc.: 

My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was young. As I got older, I taught myself to read patterns and do more intricate pieces. My new passion is knitting. I’ve been learning how to knit socks-something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

What would you consider to be your passion outside of work? How did you get started in it? Any advice for anyone looking to try this activity?

About 15 years ago, I discovered working out at Jazzercise. The ever-changing music and routines never get boring. I have also made some wonderful friendships over the years– another added bonus. 

Proudest moment in life so far:

My husband and I have raised three wonderful children.

Why did you choose to work at Elite?

I had an opportunity to fill in at the front desk during others’ vacations.

What is something that customers/colleagues might find surprising about you?

I can speak Polish. My grandparents lived with us when I was young and Polish was their primary language.

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Elite’s New North Annex Nearly Complete

The final pieces of Elite’s new North Annex are coming together and it will be fully operational in the coming weeks. The Fixture Fabrication machine shop is running at full capacity with the addition of a large CNC mill that accommodates plates up to four feet wide. 

Three new Thermal Shock chambers are online and existing Temperature, Humidity, and Altitude chambers have been set in place. The Material and Connector testing machines are operational and our new Charpy Impact setup is ready for service. For our new Photometry Lab, the goniophotometer is installed and our 2-meter integrating sphere will be installed and calibrated next week. In the new space created by relocating additional environmental test chambers from our main building, we will be constructed two new EMC test chambers to meet automotive and military/aerospace requirements.

While we dedicated most of the new space at our North Annex for testing services, we also carved out a new Training Room to host seminars and other events for up to 20 participants. Technical experts from Elite and other industry leaders will lead classroom instruction and provide hands-on training in our lab. Please check our News and Events for more details as we begin scheduling events this fall.

Elite’s success depends on helping our customers succeed. Our goal with the North Annex is to increase our EMC and Environmental testing capacity and add new, complementary services to meet all of our customer’s needs in one location. This gives our customers an advantage over their competition by shortening test schedules, streamlining their supply chains, and delivering dependable test results that get their products to market quickly.

Stay tuned for more on our new EMC test chambers over the next few months. If you have questions about our North Annex or would like to schedule a tour, please contact us today. And if you are ready to capitalize on our new capabilities, please request a quote to experience the Elite advantage.

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