RF Anechoic Chamber build by MAI Construction.

Feb 5, 2021 | Blog

MAI Construction is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of a project including the construction of a new 3-meter EMC including support rooms in an existing occupied office building.

An EMC chamber is used to test electronic devices and verify compliance with regulatory standards regarding conducted and radiated radio frequency (RF) immunity and emissions by blocking electromagnetic incursion into or out of the room, so devices can effectively be tested in a vacuum. Because of these stringent requirements, the planning and construction required an entirely novel approach designed from scratch to meet the necessary requirements. The EMC chamber itself had to be fully customized to consider the specific installation hurdles and California seismic code. In addition, our design and drafting team had to create a completely new design in Solidworks, a high-end CAD drafting program, to confirm performance and verify constructability.

 

A partial external building expansion was initially expected in order to install the 35’ long x 24’ wide x 24’ tall chamber. However, after considering both the schedule and budget, and after several test fits, it was determined that the best installation location would involve an internal installation by eliminating office space. The designated chamber alcove had 16’ of clearance, requiring the chamber to be recessed 8’ below grade to reach the 24’ height requirement for optimum functionality. An additional 50,000lbs of steel was installed to support the footings and pit walls during the excavation. To support the chamber operation, several other areas were created including a Control Room, Immunity Room, Bring Up Area, Storage Area & Benching Area. Chamber logistics required a materials lift and ADA-compliant lift be installed to get man and test materials into the chamber.

 

Since the building remained fully occupied and operational during construction, all tools used had to be either electric or hydraulic, requiring the team to source equipment from across the West Coast. Many of the building’s utilities needed to be relocated to accommodate the EMC chamber including the fire main, water main, HVAC duct main, and much of the buildings electrical distribution. Several electrical systems specific to the functionality of the chamber were also installed, including 208V 3P 60Hz, 230V 50Hz, -48V DC & High Voltage DC. Several key pieces of equipment required onsite UL certification to ensure the project was fully certified and compliant with all codes. Despite the unique challenges presented by this installation, MAI Construction was able to complete the job on time and within budget, delivering a final product that exceeded client expectations and performance tolerances.

MAI Construction is no stranger to the unique requirements of technical sector design and building. From cleanrooms for pharmaceutical production to diagnostic suites for humans and high-end machinery alike to bleeding-edge computer labs and more, MAI Construction has over forty years of experience serving the needs of education, medicine, technology, and much more. We specialize in projects with tight tolerances requiring a fast turnaround, and our portfolio of satisfied clients is second to none in our industry, which is why over 85% of our projects are repeat business. To learn more about MAI Construction and review our portfolio of past projects, please click here. To contact MAI Construction about your next project, we invite you to click here.