When it comes to industries that are mostly dominated by electrical products and other related products — like the HVAC industry — it is incredibly crucial that the businesses in these industries abide by certain standards in manufacturing their products. Additionally, it is also equally crucial that these products are tested and certified that their quality is top-notch. All this is important so as to assure that the products manufactured and sold are not defective, and so, they won’t suddenly malfunction and cause some problems to the users. Basically, without standards and certifications, sub-par electrical products would be rampant, and damages and injuries would happen more frequently than we’d like.
Fortunately, there are numerous institutions nowadays that have established standards for electrical products. And these institutions also provide certifications to those products that have passed their tests. Out of all of these certification institutions, one that is incredibly well-known is the Underwriters Laboratories.
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What Is the Underwriters Laboratories (UL)?
Simply put, the Underwriters Laboratories, or UL for short, is a global safety certification company that aims to “create a better world by applying science to solve safety, security, and sustainability challenges.” The company plans to achieve this goal by conducting rigorous independent research and analyzing safety data, convening experts worldwide to address risks, sharing knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and developing standards to guide the safe commercialization of evolving technologies.
UL was established in 1894, and since then, the company has served in about 104 countries, with main offices in 46 of them. Additionally, UL is one of several companies that are approved to perform safety testing by the U.S. federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, OSHA has currently maintained a list of approved testing laboratories, which are known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.
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What Are the Focus Areas of UL?
UL has several focus areas in which the company conducts their tests for certifications. These focus areas are as follows: battery safety, chemical safety, data science, education and outreach, fire safety, and standards.
At a time when potentially risky energy storage technologies can be found in everything ranging from consumer products to transportation and grid storage, UL is helping to lay the groundwork for energy storage designs that are reliable and safe. The company achieves this goal by primarily conducting battery safety research and sharing data-driven knowledge to drive safe, reliable, and innovative designs to meet the world’s increasing energy demands.
In addition to academic publishing and dissemination of information through conferences and digital channels, UL also convenes diverse stakeholders to find solutions, such as through global batter summits and the Battery Safety Council, which is an organization co-led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and UL. The organization also works with UL Standards to develop standards that factor in the most current safety and performance data.
UL is guided by the idea that modern materials and technologies — however useful they are — should be studied to make sure that we understand the impact of their chemical composition and emissions on human health. And so, the company conducts research and collaborates with universities and other research and knowledge institutions. Additionally, UL chemical safety experts also seek to bring data-driven knowledge to scientific, business, and policy leaders, thereby raising their awareness of potential human health risks from rapidly emerging technological innovation.
UL leverages data science to contribute to research, inform policy, and solve challenging safety, sustainability, and security issues. With this, the company collaborates with scientists, leaders, and data providers to spur innovation in the use of data to provide insights and solutions for their other focus areas.
Education and Outreach
UL advances innovative education programs, safety outreach, and science-based initiatives by identifying and helping to address the world’s most pressing safety threats through the connection of science and research. UL Education and Outreach programs serve as a catalyst for a global movement on safety, science, education, and collaboration through research and strategic opportunities. These initiatives will, in turn, inspire solutions that improve health and increase environmental sustainability, further engage and inspire the next generation of safety scientists and engineers, and, most importantly, help save lives.
The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) collaborates with the global fire service to generate and share life-saving fire safety science knowledge that firefighters use every day to make better decisions in the life of duty. Additionally, UL FSRI investigates residential, commercial, and industrial fires through full-scale testing, field-testing, and modeling to replicate actual fire ground conditions faced by firefighters. The institute also further organizes fire service and other stakeholders with varied health and fire safety interests to raise awareness of issues and publish research findings on topics such as usage of specific firefighting tactics.
UL is a standards-setting organization, combining extensive safety research, scientific expertise, and input from stakeholders to advance safety science that leads to safe living and working environments. As such, UL develops and published consensus standards that guide the safety, performance, and sustainability of new and evolving technologies and services to deliver solutions for industries.
Moreover, UL is an accredited standards developer in both Canada and the U.S. under the designations ULC Standards and UL Standards. What this means is that UL is able to develop standards to advance safety, performance, and sustainability to meet stakeholder needs and bridge standards development gaps across North America.
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What Are UL’s Offerings?
UL’s extensive portfolio of services showcases the depth and breadth of their capabilities. They will help the companies address current challenges, identify new opportunities, and devise their plan for future successes. Here are the following services that UL offers:
- Analytics and intelligence
- Digital applications
- Learning and development
UL makes it easier to drive positive change. They will help companies navigate complex and regulatory requirements, proactively protect health, safety, and security, enhance sustainability, and align business processes with their immediate and long-term objectives.
- Advance societal well-being
- Build workplace excellence
- Confirm compliance
- Deliver quality and performance
- Demonstrate safety
- Enhance sustainability
- Manage transparency
- Protect and enhance brand reputation
- Strengthen security
UL’s holistic and science-based approach to problem-solving aims to deliver successful outcomes for any company’s most complex business challenges. UL will help companies reduce risks and costs, optimize their supply network and overall well-being, and make big decisions with confidence.
- Building Performance
- Secure and Connected Technologies
- Supply Network Intelligence
- Workplace Excellence
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What Are the Industries that UL Serves?
Automotive and Mobility
From materials testing to supply chain management, new energy options to the internet of things (IoT) interoperability solutions, UL offers their expertise as a road-map to efficiently navigate the global regulatory landscape and bring a company’s products to market.
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UL brings clarity to the complexities of building science and code compliance. The company’s capabilities, product and performance testing, and technical engineering support help a company design, build, and manage safer, smarter, and more sustainable buildings.
UL enables enhanced safety, quality, and sustainability across the supply chain and throughout the product life cycle, with services ranging from testing to business intelligence. Additionally, UL also helps any company understand regulatory requirements, differentiate their goods, increase transparency, and build consumer trust.
Energy and Utilities
UL’s global presence and expertise allow them to help established and emerging energy marketplaces meet growing demands while protecting people and the environment. From storage to renewable, the company has a solution to meet any company’s needs.
Financial and Professional Services
From infrastructure to identification, authentication, and authorization (IAA), UL’s testing and advisory services help improve security, mitigate risk, and increase trust in payment products and processes in an increasingly cashless and cardless interconnected world.
UL’s offerings support public safety and trade, spanning infrastructure and sustainability, to the development of conformance programs and testing to determine compliance. Additionally, the company’s research services provide actionable insights and solutions for any government facility’s complex challenges.
Healthcare and Life Sciences
UL aims to help companies conquer their biggest concerns in regulatory management, market access, and connected device risks. Moreover, UL’s technical, regulatory, and clinical expertise helps the companies substantiate trust in medical technology, healthcare delivery networks, and consumer wellness devices.
Industrial Products and Services
UL offers a comprehensive view of product and process efficiency within any given system. Additionally, they also help companies mitigate potential hazards and failures, strengthen workplace safety and quality, and smooth their path to the global marketplace.
UL’s testing, inspection, and certification services bring trust to the security and safety products that protect first responders, people, and property. Additionally, their research leads the way in discovering better ways to prevent and defend against threats.
Materials and Chemicals
UL helps manufacturers, distributors, importers, and retailers safeguard human health and the environment with the solutions, knowledge, and analytical intelligence necessary for managing chemicals safely and meeting global compliance requirements.
UL helps mitigate risk and optimize every link in the retail supply chain. The company’s proactive approach to risk reduction, along with their analytic and management software solutions, helps retail companies mitigate sourcing, safety, environmental, and quality assurance challenges.
Technology and Electronics
From interoperability and security testing to software solutions for infrastructure and mobile and wireless offerings, UL provides the insights and expertise that companies need to confidently bring innovative products and services to market.
What Are the UL Standards?
- UL 106: Standard for Sustainability for Luminaries (under development)
- UL 110: Standard for Sustainability for Mobile Phones
Standards for Electrical and Electronic Products
- UL 50: Enclosures for Electrical Equipment
- UL 50E: Enclosures for Electrical Equipment, Environmental Considerations
- UL 153: Portable Electric Lamps
- UL 197: Commercial Electrical Cooking Appliances
- UL 796: Printed-Wiring Boards
- UL 1026: Electric Household Cooking and Food Serving Appliances
- UL 1492: Audio or Video products and Accessories
- UL 1598: Luminaries
- UL 1642: Lithium Batteries
- UL 1995: Heating and Cooling Equipment
- UL 2267: Standard for Safety — Fuel Cell Power Systems for Installation in Industrial Electric Trucks
- UL 6500: Audio or Video and Musical Instrument Apparatuses for Household, Commercial, and Similar General Uses
- UL 60065: Audio, Video, and Similar Electronic Apparatuses — Safety Requirements
- UL 60335-1: Household and Similar Electrical Appliances — Part 1, General Requirements
- UL 60335-2-24: Household and Similar Electric Appliances — Part 2, Particular Requirements for Motor Compressors
- UL 60335-2-3: Household and Similar Electrical Appliances — Part 2, Particular Requirements for Electric Irons
- UL 60335-2-34: Household and Similar Electrical Appliances — Part 2, Particular Requirements for Motor Compressors
- UL 60335-2-8: Household and Similar Electrical Appliances — Part 2, Particular Requirements for Shavers, Hair Clippers, and Similar Appliances
- UL 60950: Information Technology Equipment
- UL 60950-1: Information Technology Equipment — Safety, Part 1 (General Requirements)
- UL 60950-21: Information Technology Equipment — Safety, Part 21 (Remote Power Feeding)
- UL 60950-22: Information Technology Equipment — Safety, Part 22 (Equipment to be Installed Outdoors)
- UL 60950-23: Information Technology Equipment — Safety, Part 23 (Large Data Storage Equipment)
Life Safety Standards
- UL 217: Single- and Multiple-Station Smoke Alarms
- UL 268: Smoke Detectors for Fire Protective Signaling Systems
- UL 268A: Smoke Detectors for Duct Application
- UL 1626: Residential Sprinklers for Fire Protection Service
- UL 1971: Signaling Devices for the Hearing Impaired
Standards for Building Products
- UL 10A: Tin-Clad Fire Doors
- UL 20: General-Use Snap Switches
- UL 486E: Equipment Wiring Terminals for Use with Aluminum and/or Copper Conductors
- UL 1256: Fire Test of Roof/Deck Constructions
Standards for Industrial Control Equipment
- UL 508: Industrial Control Equipment
- UL 508A: Industrial Control Panels
- UL 508C: Power Conversion Equipment
- UL 61800-5-1: Adjustable Speed Electrical Power Drive Systems
Standards for Plastic Materials
- UL 94: Tests for Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances
- UL 746A: Polymeric Materials — Short-Term Property Evaluations
- UL 746B: Polymeric Materials — Long-Term Property Evaluations
- UL 746C: Polymeric Materials — Use in Electrical Equipment Evaluations
- UL 746D: Polymeric Materials — Fabricated Parts
- UL 746E: Polymeric Materials — Industrial Laminates, Filament Wound Tubing, Vulcanized Fiber, and Materials Used in Printed-Wiring Boards
- UL 746F: Polymeric Materials — Flexible Dielectric Film Materials for Use in printed-Wiring Boards and Flexible Materials Interconnect Constructions
Standards for Wire and Cable
- UL 62: Flexible Cords and Cables
- UL 758: Appliance Wiring Material (AWM)
- UL 817: Cord Sets and Power Supply Cords
- UL 2556: Wire and Cable Test Methods
Standards for Canada, Developed by ULC Standards (A Member of the UL Family of Companies)
- CAN/ULC-S101-07: Standard Methods for Fire Endurance Tests of Building Construction and Materials
- CAN/ULC-S102-10: Standard Methods of Test for Surface-Burning Characteristics of Building Materials and Assemblies
- CAN/ULC-S102.2-10: Standard Methods of Test for Surface0Burning Characteristics of Flooring, Floor Coverings, and Miscellaneous Materials and Assemblies
- CAN/ULC-S104-10: Standard Methods for Fire Tests of Door Assemblies
- CAN/ULC-S107-10: Standard Methods for Fire Tests of Roof Coverings
- CAN/ULC-S303-M91 (R1999): Standard Methods for Local Burglar Alarm Units and Systems
- UL 1703: Photovoltaic Flat-Plate Modules
- UL 1741: Inverters, Converters, Controllers, and Interconnection System Equipment for Use with Distributed Energy Resources
- UL 2703: Rack Mounting Systems and Clamping Devices for Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels
Recognized Component Mark
The “Recognized Component Mark” is a type of quality mark issued by Underwriters Laboratories. It is placed on components which are intended to be part of a UL-listed product, but which cannot bear the full UL logo themselves. The general public doesn’t really come across this mark since it is placed on components that make up finished products.
For businesses that are active in the HVAC industry, it is incredibly important that the products that they offer to their customers are of the best quality. After all, HVAC businesses don’t want their customers to experience problems or, worse, get injured because of a faulty product. Because of this, HVAC businesses must make sure that their products are tested and certified first before they are sold to the general public. Luckily, there are a lot of companies out there that specialize in testing and certifying products like the HVAC ones. And one of the most reputable is the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
UL has been a global safety certification company since 1894, so you can expect that the company really knows everything about serving several industries. In fact, they have served companies in over 104 countries, and in 46 of them, UL has set up main offices. Additionally, with the wide scope of their services and the industries they cater to, UL has been recognized by several government agencies, particularly the U.S. federal agency OSHA, as one of the few companies that are approved to perform safety testing.
Basically, UL is a reputable certification company, and earning their approval for your products will add more credibility to your own HVAC business. For that reason, you should definitely consider enlisting UL to test and certify your products. That way, you will know for sure that your products are of high quality and that your customers will be satisfied with the performance of your products. And when that happens, your business is guaranteed to grow even further.