IEMI & HEMP IEMI is also known as directional weaponry in the USA in reference to the hostile nature of the phenomenon. According to Currie, IEMI attacks may be

driven by political motive or financial gain, but could just as easily be motivated by a desire for peer group recognition or simply by the challenge of breaching complex computer systems. That could be considered similar to computer

hacking or high-level cyber-crime. Nevertheless, while the execution of cyber-crime activities calls for specialist skills, IEMI can be unleashed with a minimum of technical knowledge and has a low cost-of-entry. Also, unless a perpetrator is caught in the brief

act of delivering an IEMI attack, it is completely untraceable, leaving no evidential trail. Disturbingly, building a device to deliver an

IEMI attack is simple and inexpensive using readily available materials. When carrying out an attack, the most

important factors in terms of the chaos unleashed are proximity and power. The higher the power of the device and the closer to its target, the worse the effects will be. In the worst case, the effect could be the

As we walked around the manufacturing line, it

was clear that some of the filters being built were destined for large installations handling high currents. “We’re producing many more high current filters now and the demand is continuing to increase. 800A filters are normal and we’re even producing 4,800A filters in increasing quantities because more and more equipment is being put into facilities these days.” These are not just military facilities. Demand for

high end filtration is on the increase in the private commercial sector too.

DEFENCE AND COMMERCE CONVERGE The military heritage of MPE has put the company on a good footing for rising to the challenges of an increasingly complex commercial market. Filtration is seen as an important defence from interference for both operational reasons as well as security. Test houses and companies operating EMC

chambers need high-quality conducted emission filtration to ensure clean power to prevent false readings for RFI testing. Similarly, data centres have a low tolerance to conducted interference and represent an important market for MPE. In terms of security, MPE has experience of the

military Tempest programme to stop data being extracted from computer systems through “reading” the interference. This experience is valuable also for the data centre market. The correct level of filtration also stops new

security threats, including intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI) and high- altitude electromagnetic pulses (HEMP).

jamming of computer systems inside critical assets which run communications, navigation and broadcasting systems, public utilities, transport, hospitals, data centres and banks. HEMP in its worst case refers to high energy

emissions from a catastrophic event, such as a nuclear explosion or solar flare. Until recently, protection against IEMI and

HEMP was the exclusive domain of the defence industry and covered by related military standards. Now other publications, such as the new IEC

Standards for IEMI immunity test methods for equipment and systems (IEC 61000-4-36) and radiated and conducted HEMP protection (IEC 61000-4-23 & 24), cover this field for the non- military sector.

TESTING AT MPE MPE’s Knowsley manufacturing facility near Liverpool has the advantage of being spacious enough not only to cope with the increased capacity resulting from commercial interest in high-end filtration, but also to house impressive laboratory, engineering and test facilities. Within the test lab, MPE has built a chamber

and has partnered with the academic community in research projects relating to IEMI. A coupled high-energy pulse can be simulated outside the chamber to see how equipment inside the chamber with external wiring responds under different filtration scenarios. Using research associates, its own considerable

experience in the field and purpose built in-house test facilities, MPE is geared up to provide the future protection needed by critical industries as the threats increase. T&TH

June 2019 /// Testing & Test Houses /// 23

❱❱ Technology with a defence heritage is now being used in test chambers as well as military equipment, far left; attenuation falls away as frequency increases for standard filters, left above, whereas high-end filtration systems provide consistently high attenuation over a wider frequency range, left below; Paul Currie of MPE is seeing an increase in demand for military grade filtration from commercial organisations

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