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|previous: LFOscalator How does one go about getting UL Ap... -- 4/18/2003 10:25 PM||View Thread|
|4/18/2003 10:46 PM|
|R.G.||Re: UL Approval?|
I typed "underwriters laboratories" into google, and the first result was UL's web site. Oddly enough, it's "www.ul.com".
From that site
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization. We have tested products for public safety for more than a century.
Since our founding in 1894, we have held the undisputed reputation as a leader in product-safety testing and certification within the United States. Building on our household name in the United States, UL is becoming one of the most recognized, reputable conformity assessment providers in the world. Today, our services extend to helping companies achieve global acceptance, whether for an electrical device, a programmable system, or an organization's quality process.
UL is not a governmental agency. Certification was originally purely optional, like saying "see... someone else thinks it's safely made, too."
What has happened since 1894 is that a semi-incestuous relationship between safety regulators and UL has developed. Some governments make it illegal to sell certain goods in their domain without UL approval. Some regulatory agencies write the UL standards into their regulations. It's become a quagmire.
The UL site has a great fountain of facts in its FAQ section. Interestingly enough, UL consistently refers to what they do as a "service".
For submissions overview:
Here are some quickies from their FAQ.
Q: Do I need to have the UL Mark on my product in the US?
Is there a law stating that my product should have a UL Mark?
Does our product require UL testing?
A: Manufacturers submit products to UL for testing and safety certification on a voluntary basis. There are no laws specifying that a UL Mark must be used. However, in the U.S. there are many municipalities that have laws, codes or regulations which require a product to be tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory before it can be sold in their area. UL is the largest and oldest nationally recognized testing laboratory in the United States. UL does not, however, maintain a list of the jurisdictions having such regulations.
If you plan to market your product nationally or internationally, it is advisable to obtain UL Listing. If a limited marketing program is anticipated, check with the Municipal office having jurisdiction in the particular areas to learn first hand the local retail ordinances or product installation requirements applicable in that area.
Many companies make it their policy to obtain UL Listing not only to minimize the possibility of local non-acceptance, but also as a matter of corporate policy and commitment to minimize the possibility of risk in the use of their products.
Q: How much does it cost and how long does it take to have a product tested?
A: Cost varies depending on the product and complexity of test requirements. Once UL's engineering staff review your product information to determine the scope and time involved in the testing process, they will provide you with a cost estimate. UL will work with you in determining the time frame for testing, depending on when you need the project completed.
Q: Are samples required? Are they returned?
A: Samples for testing may be required. The number required is determined by the anticipated test program. Samples should not be sent until requested. Destructive tests are usually involved in our thorough test programs so, in many cases, the samples may not be usable as returned. All samples will be returned unless otherwise indicated by the Applicant.
How are UL's testing services organized?
UL's Engineering Services division is organized into sections that evaluate specific types of products. Our staff includes experienced engineers and technical support personnel. Examining how products are constructed, conducting tests, evaluating results and developing safety standards for products are a few of their responsibilities. We also have field representatives who visit manufacturers' facilities. They help confirm that products bearing the UL Mark comply with applicable UL safety requirements.
Who may submit a product?
Products are typically submitted to UL by manufacturers or product developers, or by their authorized agents, representatives, licensees or others. When submitting a product to UL, you may choose which company name (the manufacturer, agent or licensee) you would like to appear on the product and in UL's published product directories. Once selected, this name must appear on the product if it is found to comply with the applicable UL Standard and will bear a UL Mark.
When should a product be submitted?
Ideally, a product should be submitted as early as possible during its development. Often, UL engineers can conduct a preliminary evaluation to help identify areas needing change or rework, even before tooling is cut or parts are purchased. Although a preliminary evaluation is not a substitute for a complete UL investigation, and it does not result in authorization to use the UL Mark, this service can result in savings for you. A preliminary evaluation can be completed in a day or two at one of UL's U.S. laboratories, a UL affiliate location or your own manufacturing location.
How do I begin the submittal process?
Contact one of UL's customer service personnel for assistance. This is particularly important for new UL clients because they serve as liaisons between you and UL. Customer service personnel are responsible for:
answering general questions about UL's services,
directing manufacturers to the correct engineering staff and
working with UL management to resolve issues of concern to UL clients.
The most important step in submitting a product to UL for the first time is to send a letter to either a customer service representative at our U.S. laboratories or the resident manager at one of our affiliate laboratories, whichever is most convenient to you. The letter should contain the following to help us establish the scope of the investigation:
Describe the product and its intended use. List all models, types or product variations to be covered, and describe the similarities and differences among models or types.
List all components and materials used in the product -- including manufacturers' names, catalog, numbers, sizes, ratings, etc. -- and whether they are Listed or Recognized by UL. Include the generic name, manufacturer and type designation on any polymeric material (for example, a thermoplastic material) and explain how it's used in the product.
Include wiring diagrams illustrating any electrical or electronic circuitry, design drawings, and/or photographs of the product, if you think they'll help the UL engineer understand its design, construction and/or operation.
Include all instruction manuals, safety tips or installation instructions that you expect to supply with the product, including any markings intended to appear on the shipping container.
Identify any alternate materials, components or arrangements of parts you intend to use in the future. This will help reduce test work, time and costs later, when the alternates are used in the product.
Provide the name of your authorized representative who will receive all UL communications, including the final report and invoices.
Provide the company name and address of each factory where the product will be manufactured.
Provide the name and address of the company as you want it to be published in the appropriate UL product directory. This should be the name of the company under which the product will be sold. (It may be different than that of the actual manufacturer.)
Indicate whether new or revised designs have the same construction or performance characteristics as types or models your organization or another UL client has Listed by UL. If the product has been evaluated by another safety certification agency, please let us know. Whenever possible, UL will use the results of your previous evaluation -- or those results released to you by another UL client -- to reduce the time and cost of testing new or revised designs.
Getting the product evaluation under way
Once UL has as much information as you can provide, UL can identify where and by what department the evaluation will be conducted. UL's engineering staff will:
plan a test program,
provide an estimate of testing costs,
estimate the amount of time needed to complete the investigation and
send you application forms.
At this point, if you have a specific deadline you are trying to meet, please let UL know so it can be considered when establishing a promise date for completion of the evaluation. Once you return the signed application forms, provide any necessary preliminary deposit, and UL has received the necessary test samples, UL engineering staff can begin the actual investigation of your product.
What you can expect after testing
Once the product testing is completed, you will hear from your project engineer about whether or not your product complies with UL's requirements. For products meeting the requirements, the project engineer will develop a formal report based on the test results. These test results will also be used to develop a Follow-Up Services program and will serve as the basis of a Follow-Up Services Procedure.
The Follow-Up Services Procedure is a document that describes in detail the construction of the product tested and found to meet UL's requirements. UL's field representatives use this as a guide when conducting their periodic examinations of UL-certified products in the factory.
Before UL's engineering staff will issue your testing report, you must agree to participate in UL's Follow-Up Services program. You indicate your willingness to participate by signing and returning the Follow-Up Services Agreement. Typically, this document is sent a few days after the applications are mailed.
If, for some reason, your product doesn't meet UL's requirements, you will receive a letter from UL describing the specific requirements your product did not meet. If you choose to modify the product and are interested in having it retested, you can contact the UL engineering staff who originally tested the product for any retesting or re-examination that may be necessary.
If you have any questions about your test results, the interpretation of a requirement or any UL decision, the UL appeals procedure provides a method for your concerns to be heard by UL management without jeopardizing your relationship with UL. Just contact our engineering staff for more details.