Measuring electromagnetic radiation: Why and how?

Excessive electrical or magnetic radiation can be harmful to the health of people working or living nearby. This radiation is invisible, but fortunately, it can be measured with the right equipment. Narda's innovative Fieldman outperforms all its predecessors in this respect.

The impact on people in the vicinity

Power cables and transformers are surrounded by an electromagnetic field. The higher the voltage, the stronger and larger the surrounding radiation field. This electromagnetic radiation affects people: parts of the body that contain a lot of water - such as eyes, kneecaps and the brain - or metal implants absorb this radiation and heat up. This can lead to a range of health problems, including headaches and birth defects.

You cannot feel electrical radiation, however strong or harmful it may be. You can feel very strong magnetic radiation, which can make you feel dizzy or nauseous. This is because the iron particles in your blood react to this type of radiation.

Strict, complex standards for EMF

To limit the negative effects, there are strict and complex standards on how much radiation is allowed. Obviously, you don't need to worry about the Wi-Fi in your home, which is well below the legal limit. However, for stronger installations, the electromagnetic radiation must be measured with a special device that takes into account the frequency of the radiation, such as in factories with large electrical machines, in chrome-plating or welding workshops, around masts for mobile telephony, radio and broadcasting, near high-voltage power lines and more.

In addition, proper, professional connections ensure that an electromagnetic field remains low and that standards are met. A high-voltage pylon is not harmful by definition, but you need a special measuring instrument to know for sure.

The ideal tool for your health and safety officers

We'd like to illustrate the importance of measuring radiation with an example from one of our customers. At a Belgian site of a large multinational, a receptionist went home every evening with a severe headache. There seemed to be no explanation for these headaches, as they disappeared as soon as she got home from work. A radiation measurement by the health and safety officers quickly identified the problem: the reception area was located a few metres away from several massive transformers, where high voltage electricity was converted to the correct voltage for the machines. This created an extremely strong electromagnetic field that was causing the employee's headaches. The receptionist was immediately moved to another area.

Continuous measurement, testing and reporting

The experience of a major bus manufacturer illustrates the value of regular, professional, preventive measurements. Electric buses are constantly subjected to shocks, which can cause problems with the high-voltage wiring. The most common problem is that the insulation breaks down, resulting in open-ended cables. This can cause further damage to the bus and even harm the driver and passengers. By carrying out regular radiation measurements, damaged cables can be quickly detected and repaired before serious damage occurs. 

Faster and better measurements with a Fieldman

Microtron offers you the best measurement device on the market: the new Fieldman from Narda. With a Fieldman, you no longer need separate instruments for electric and magnetic field strengths. You can switch between field types by simply changing the antenna probe. In addition, you can continue to use the existing antennas from your old Narda measuring device with the aid of an antenna adapter.

The benefits of the new Fieldman

  • The Fieldman is automatically calibrated.
  • It is equipped with a distance sensor, a temperature sensor, and a humidity sensor.
  • The regulations in Belgium are complex, with different standards for radiation. However, the Fieldman simplifies this: you set the limits you want to monitor, and the device immediately indicates if they are exceeded when using shaped probes.
  • The redesigned interface is easy to use: it has buttons instead of a touch screen, a slightly larger display that can be read in sunlight, and a black colour instead of yellow. You can operate the Fieldman in all weather conditions, even with gloves on.
  • A software package allows you to load, analyse, complete and display data from the Fieldman (and other Narda instruments) in a report.
  • Additional option: You can choose a bespoke training course for your employees to ensure they can operate the Fieldman correctly.

Interested in the Fieldman? Contact us and we will be happy to give you a free demonstration. Your EMF safety experts will see the Fieldman (and other Narda equipment) in action on site.

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