Erkan Ickam is the Director of Marketing at EMSCAN Corpoaration, a world leading developer of Fast Magnetic Very-near-field measurement tools. Mr. Ickam has held a variety of managerial marketing positions with Bell Mobility, Ersa Trade Inc., SHV Gas, Caspian Transco Inc. and Philips consumer electronics. He is a 1996 graduate from Bilkent University with a BS degree in Business Administration.
MWJ: How and when did EMSCAN get its start?
EI: EMSCAN was established in 1989 to develop and commercialize a revolutionary approach to PCB emissions testing using a planar array of small antennas; the original idea came from BNR’s research into very-near-field magnetic measurements (Bell Northern Research). EMSCAN focused its earlier efforts on delivering real-time visual test solutions that provided a novel, sub-second and cost effective approach to diagnose PCB EMC issues. Such solutions evolved into the EMxpert family of high frequency, high resolution and high speed EMC scanners. In 2009, EMSCAN leveraged its EMC very-near-field measurements expertise to develop the RFxpert, a family of revolutionary RF and MW performance test solutions providing real-time antenna pattern and power measurements.
MWJ: How do engineers use your products?
EI: The EMSCAN product can be described as a “chamber on a desktop”. All an engineer has to do is place their device under test on an EMSCAN scanner and view in sub-second the source of troublesome emissions or the pattern of an antenna.
The EMSCAN products can be used during development, for product verification and troubleshooting; they are now being integrated into production line test stations.
EMSCAN products give engineers and designers the freedom to do rapid prototyping and explore new designs, new materials and new forms and then to go to the chambers for final certification with their mind at ease, knowing that their design will comply.
Antenna designers and wireless engineers use RFxpert for example to optimize positioning and effects from layout, to monitor changes from packaging or layout changes or to quickly verify the performance of final product.
PCB designers and verification engineers use EMxpert to look for example at the impact of changes to a clock circuit, the effect of adding or changing filters or shielding their design, and ultimately to rapidly verify EMC pre-compliance of their final boards.
MWJ: How do Fast Magnetic Very-Near-Field measurement tools work?
EI: The EMSCAN product is primarily a flat scanner composed of thousands of loop antennas that are electronically switched. Each antenna is a passive very-near-field broadband probe doing H field measurement. The scanner activates each probe, one after the other across the entire surface in a few milliseconds.
The EMSCAN products measure and display very-near-field signals usually for troubleshooting and transform them into far-field results for pre-compliance verification.
MWJ: What are among the ideal applications?
EI: RFxpert operates today between 300 MHz and 6 GHz. RFxpert can thus test any antenna, on their own or embedded, that radiates in this range. Some examples are: cellular phone, cellular base station antenna, smart meters, Wi-Fi, RFID, phased array antenna, circularly polarized (GPS) antenna, and MIMO.
EMxpert measures PCB emissions from 50 kHz to 8 GHz. EMxpert provides real-time view of constant or intermittent sources of emissions or very fast post-capture far-field prediction. Some application examples are: A/B comparison (component obsolescence management, production unit vs. golden sample), conducted immunity insights, common mode diagnostic, effectiveness of filters and shielding, NFC testing and pre-compliance testing of PCB.
MWJ: What are currently your biggest markets?
EI: Geography wise, China, Canada and the USA are our largest markets today. Industry-wise, about everybody in the electronic industry is a customer. Largest customers are smartphone manufacturers, the automotive and defence industry, consumer electronics manufacturers and universities.
MWJ: Do your tools require a lot of field support?
EI: EMSCAN products are plug-and-play. Customers can be up and running in less than half an hour and from then on we don’t hear from them until we reach out to them. It is so easy to use we can’t manage to sell any training program!
MWJ: Are engineers using your tools to design products or mostly troubleshoot?
EI: Both. Because engineers quickly have access to measurements on their lab-bench, they use EMSCAN products not only for design but also for rapid prototyping, diagnosing and debugging, component obsolescence management, product verification and sample lot testing.
MWJ: What would you say is the leading benefit of your product over alternative approaches?
EI: Getting test results in seconds at your desk!
MWJ: Are there any common PCB design problems that your tools easily detect?
EI: EMxpert will detect any constant or intermittent sources of emissions, current loops, leakage, coupling effects, and components affected by conducted emissions.
MWJ: What should we be looking for in terms of future capabilities?
EI: Higher frequency for both product lines will open more markets. We are constantly striving for greater resolution for the EMxpert and better accuracy for the RFxpert.