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History of UL
UL LLC (formerly Underwriters Laboratories) is a global safety certification company headquartered in the United States, with offices in 40 countries (six continents) across the world. Founded in 1894 (as the Underwriters Electrical Bureau), the establishment has been helping companies “demonstrate safety, confirm compliance, enhance sustainability, manage transparency, deliver quality and performance, strengthen security, protect brand reputation, build workplace excellence, and advance societal wellbeing”. Fundamentally, UL’s overriding objective is to give customers complete confidence in the safety, quality, and reliability of all products displaying a UL mark. UL Certification, therefore, offers additional support to suppliers who go above and beyond to ensure their products are designed to the highest standards.
UL began its journey with just three employees, a far cry from the 11,615 members of staff it employs today, and produced its first safety standard in 1903 (for tin-clad fire doors). In 1915, UL opened its first international office in London, to inspect British products exported to the US, and has continued its substantial growth worldwide ever since. In the present day, there are approximately 22 billion UL marked products produced every year, with companies from 104 different countries certified to produce UL Listed products.
UL Listed vs UL Recognised
The UL Listed mark refers to products that have been tested by UL to nationally recognised safety standards and have been found to be free from reasonably foreseeable hazards. In contrast, the UL Recognised mark refers to products that have been tested as a component only. Comparing UL Listed products and UL Recognised components is like comparing a car and an engine. A car is the finished article, whereas an engine is a necessary component. The problem lies, however, in that not every engine is compatible with every car. The same applies to UL Recognised components, as not all UL Recognised components are necessarily compatible with all end-product applications. UL’s evaluation of an end-product includes an investigation into the construction and performance of all installed components. Each must pass UL’s thorough safety and quality standard tests before the end-product can be officially referred to as UL Listed.
You should be sure to check that any company claiming to offer UL Listed products has the UL Certification to support this (and that the certification applies to the product(s) in question). If they are merely offering a UL Recognised component then, according to UL, the products “may have restrictions on their performance or may be incomplete in construction”. Consequently, UL Recognised components should not be used where UL Listed products are required. You can check whether a company is certified to produce UL Listed products by visiting the UL Prospector website at www.iq.ulprospector.com. This allows you to search by company name to verify the certifications they currently hold.
There are currently over 1,600 active UL standards, including the Low Voltage Transformers standards which will be discussed in more detail later. The UL mark is one of the most widely recognisable and trusted safety certification symbols worldwide, with the logo representing products that have successfully met UL’s extensive evaluation, rigorous testing, and meticulous high standards.
Imports vs Made In Britain
There are only a handful of UK-based manufacturers certified to produce UL Listed transformers, with many British companies opting to import their UL transformers from abroad. In fact, ETE are one of only three UK companies certified to design and manufacture UL Listed Low Voltage Transformers as per the UL 5085-1 and UL 5085-2 standards.
With Brexit looming, there is understandable uncertainty in relation to the strength of the British pound sterling (GBP) against the Euro and doubt over how easy it will be to import goods from the EU going forward. As such, there is no better time for companies across the UK to buy British. ETE support this by offering an excellent level of technical expertise (to help guide you through the specification process), a fast turnaround from initial enquiry to delivery, and unrivalled customer aftercare; aspects that cannot be matched by overseas suppliers.
UL Listed Transformers
UL Listed transformers are becoming increasingly popular in demand due to the heightened emphasis on the safety and quality of transformers being used today. There are currently 12 UL transformer standards, with each focusing on transformers of differing types, sizes, and applications. Three of these standards relate to Low Voltage Transformers (Part 1: General Requirements, Part 2: General Purpose Transformers, and Part 3: Class 2 and Class 3 Transformers). Each standard fully details the requirements that must be adhered to when designing and manufacturing a transformer. UL certified companies must ensure they observe these standards rigorously, with UL representatives free to conduct regular factory audits and blind sampling of certified products. This follow-up service helps to safeguard the integrity of the UL mark and ensures continued compliance with UL requirements.
Towards the end of last year, ETE began the procedure of becoming UL certified, culminating with approval being granted last month. ETE are now able to offer custom-built UL Listed transformers (as per file number E502156) from 25VA to 5kVA single-phase (1ph) to various specifications and requirements. This is in conjunction with ETE’s UL Recognised insulation system as per file number E502131.
Any product bearing the UL mark should be considered safe, reputable, and of high quality/performance. UL supports customers, by giving them the chance to be selective about where they are buying their transformers from, and suppliers, by enhancing their reputation through their certification. This, alongside the fact that UL maintains a stringent follow-up service throughout the entirety of a company’s UL certification, has ensured they have cemented their place as a world-leading safety certification organisation.
For UL transformer requirements, contact ETE on 01284 388 033 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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