UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories Inc. UL is the most authoritative safety testing institute in the United States and the world's largest private organization engaged in safety testing and certification. It is an independent, non-profit, professional organization that conducts experiments for public safety. It uses the scientific test method to study and determine all kinds of materials, devices, products, equipment, construction and other hazards to life, property and the degree of harm; Determine, compile and issue relevant standards and materials that help to reduce and prevent loss of life and property, and conduct fact-finding operations.
Basic introduction to
UL is short for Underwriter Laboratories Inc. UL is the most authoritative safety testing institute in the United States and the world's largest private organization engaged in safety testing and certification. It is an independent, non-profit, professional organization that conducts experiments for public safety. It uses the scientific test method to study and determine all kinds of materials, devices, products, equipment, construction and other hazards to life, property and the degree of harm; Determine, compile and issue relevant standards and materials that help to reduce and prevent loss of life and property, and conduct fact-finding operations. In short, it is mainly engaged in product safety certification and operating safety certification business, its ultimate purpose is to get a fairly safe level of goods for the market, for personal health and property safety to be guaranteed to make contributions. In terms of product safety certification as an effective means to eliminate technical barriers to international trade, UL also plays a positive role in promoting the development of international trade.
Founded in 1894, UL was initially funded by the Fire Insurance Department. It was not until 1916 that UL became fully self-supporting. After nearly 100 years of development, UL has become a world-renowned certification body with a set of rigorous organizational management system, standards development and product certification procedures. UL is governed by a board of directors composed of safety experts, government officials, and representatives from the consumer, education, utility, insurance, and standards sectors. The day-to-day functions of UL are handled by the president and vice president. Currently, UL has five laboratories in the United States, with headquarters in Northbrook, north of Chicago, as well as facilities in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The significance of UL certification mark to enterprises:
1. The whole American market attaches great importance to product safety; When consumers and purchasing units choose products, they will choose products with UL certification mark.
2. UL has a history of more than 100 years, and the image of safety is deeply rooted in consumers and the government. If you do not sell your products directly to consumers, intermediaries will also require the UL mark to sell their products well.
3. American consumers and buyers have more confidence in the products of enterprises.
4. More than 40,000 federal, state, county, and municipal governments in the United States recognize the UL certification mark.
The authentication steps
Applicant to submit relevant company and product information
Written Request: You should request UL to test your products in writing.
Company information: provide full and accurate name, address, contact person, postal code, telephone number and fax in both Chinese and English.
(a). Applicant Company: the company that submits the application for product testing and is responsible for all engineering service costs
(b). Listed Companies: Companies listed in various product catalogs published by UL
(c). Production plant: manufacturer and producer of the product.
Product information: Product information should be provided in English.
(a). Name of the Product: Provide the full name of the Product.
(b). Product model: list in detail all the product models, varieties or classification numbers that need to be tested.
(c). The intended use of the product: e.g. home, office, factory, coal mine, ship, etc.
(d). Parts list: list in detail the components and models (classification number), rating, and name of the manufacturer. For insulation, please provide the name of the raw material, e.g. GE Polycarbonate,Lexan Type 104. When a component is UL certified or approved, please identify the specific model number of the component and indicate its UL file number (E). Electrical properties: for electronic and electrical products. Provide electrical schematic diagram (circuit diagram), electrical performance meter.
(f). Structure drawing: For most products, the structure drawing or explosion diagram of the product, ingredients list, etc., is required.
(g). Photos of the product, instructions for use, safety, or installation instructions, etc.
Make decisions based on the product information provided
When the product information is complete, the UL engineer will make the following decisions based on the information: the UL standard to be used for the experiment, the engineering cost of the test, the time of the test, the number of samples, etc., and will inform you in writing, and send the formal application form and tracking service agreement to your company. The fee limit is indicated in the application form, which is the maximum engineering cost estimated by UL based on the test items. Without your company's written authorization, the fee limit cannot be exceeded. Apply for company remittance, return application form and sample
The applicant should sign the application form and tracking service agreement and return the form to UL company. At the same time, please send the sample by bank transfer or by express mail. Please specify the sample (name, model). Please send the application form and sample separately. For each applied Project, UL will specify a unique Project number (Project No.), and indicate the Project number and the name of the applicant company when remitting, sending samples and application form, so that UL can check it.
Upon receipt of your signed application form, remittance and test sample, UL will inform you of the completion date of the test program. Product testing is generally conducted at UL LABS in the United States, and UL may accept audited data from participating third parties. Samples will be returned or destroyed upon your request.
If the product is tested in accordance with UL standards, UL will issue a Test Conformity Report and Followup Service Procedure that will detail the testing, sample performance, product structure, and safety marks suitable for use with the product. A description of the product and instructions for UL area inspectors are included in the tracking service specification. One copy of the inspection report is sent to the applicant company and one copy of the tracking service specification is sent to each manufacturing facility.
The applicant is authorized to use the UL mark
Contact area of the UL inspector Production factories in China for the first time the factory Inspection (Initial Production Inspection. The IPI), the inspector to check your product and its components, in the case of Production line and warehouse inventory, to confirm whether the structure of products and parts and tracking service details, if required in the detailed rules, area inspector will witness the experiment, when the test results meet the requirements, applicants receive authorized the use of the UL mark.
After IPI, the inspector will not regularly to the factory inspection, check the product structure and witnessed the experiment, and check the frequency is determined by the types of products and production, most types of product inspection at least four times a year, the inspector checks is to ensure that products continue to consistent with UL requirements, before you plan to change the product structure or component part (s), please notify the UL, for small change, do not need to repeat any experiment, UL can quickly change tracking service rules, make the inspectors can accept this change. When UL considers that the product changes affect its safety performance, the applicant company shall re-submit the sample for necessary testing.
The cost of the tracking service is not included in the test fee.
If the product test results do not meet the requirements of the UL standard, UL will notify the applicant and explain the problem. After the applicant improves the product design, the applicant can submit the product for re-inspection. You should tell the UL engineer what improvements have been made to the product for his/her decision .
IV. UL Inspection Rules, Certification Review and Tracking Inspection
UL inspector's inspection is basically a mechanical operation. Depending on the product, the inspector's inspection will be based on Bulletin, Procedure, FUII (if applicable, included in the Specifications) and UL standards (if required in FUII).
If the factory is producing UL products or has UL products in stock when the inspector visits the factory, the inspector will take samples in one of the following ways:
1. Each part is extracted from the production line plus a complete product extracted from the warehouse.
2. Extract each part from the warehouse and add the complete product on the production line.
3. Extract complete products from the warehouse for splitting.
The exact number of samples to be sampled is determined by the rules, FUII (Tracking Inspection Instructions), SAP (Standard Attachment), or by direct order from the UL laboratory. Inspectors do not necessarily test all products at a time, but they will try to test all product categories or models within a year or at least two years.
Generally speaking, UL's requirements for the factory production system are not too high, only require the instrument and equipment to be measured once a year, keep the factory's own inspection records, and have a certain control method for non-conforming products can be.
During inspection, the site representative (UL inspector) will focus on the product itself. They will check the structure, components and assembly of the product line by line according to the above inspection criteria. For parts related to product safety, the general specification will specify the requirements for UL certified products, and will indicate the manufacturer and model number; For molded parts such as enclosures and enclosures, the detailed rules will generally specify the raw materials and dimensions required. The field representative will check the above and the UL marks specified in the specification.
A field test
In addition, if field testing of the product is required by the bylaw or FUII or standard, the site representative will require the factory inspector to perform the corresponding tests while the site representative is present. If the specifications also require samples to be sent to UL for follow-up testing, the factory shall cooperate with the inspector to make the corresponding samples. After the inspector writes the sample label, provides the address and seals the samples, the factory shall send the samples to the corresponding UL laboratory.
If the products produced by the factory fully meet the requirements of UL Inspection standards, and there is no other violation of the tracking service agreement, the inspector will issue the tracking Inspection Report. The factory representative should sign the report after confirming its accuracy. A test is soon completed. If there is any non-conformity with the inspection standards during the inspection, the inspector will issue a Variation Notice and take corresponding measures according to the specific situation.
Removal of UL mark
For unauthorized products using UL mark, the inspector will require the removal of UL mark; For products that do not meet the UL requirements, the inspector will ask the factory to remove the UL mark or rework them to meet the requirements; If the factory does not agree with the above treatment opinions, the UL mark can be kept temporarily, but the shipment must be stopped. The inspector will inform the corresponding laboratory of the situation, and UL will make a reply to decide whether the UL mark can be kept. If there are only some minor problems that do not affect the safety of the product, the inspector will make a temporary acceptance decision and report to the corresponding laboratory; If there are some obvious standard errors, such as typos or unit errors, they do not affect the factory's product conformity, but as a UL document processing, the inspector will issue a notice of change. In general, unless UL is responsible, the inspector will ask the factory to explain the non-conformance to the appropriate laboratory, and UL will respond accordingly based on your explanation.
Of course, the inspector's judgment is only provisional, and the final decision rests with the UL laboratories. If the factory does not agree with the inspection method, it can report to the corresponding laboratory. At this time, the inspector has the obligation to provide the corresponding contact person and contact method. The factory representative shall sign the notice after confirming that the contents recorded in the notice are correct.
UL certified factory inspection
Contact area of the UL inspector Production factories in China for the first time the factory Inspection (Initial Production Inspection, IPI), the inspector to check your product and its components, in the case of Production line and warehouse inventory, to confirm whether the structure of products and parts and tracking service details, if required in the detailed rules, regional inspector will witness experiments. When the test results meet the requirements, the applicant is authorized to use the UL mark.
Following IPI, inspectors visit the plant irregularly to check the product structure and conduct eyewitness experiments. The frequency of inspection depends on the type of product and the volume of production, and most types of product are inspected at least four times per year (the cost of tracking services is not included in the cost of testing).
Before the first shipment of UL certified products, the local China Import and Export Commodity Inspection Bureau (CCIC) authorized by UL shall send a person to the factory for inspection. And follow up every year.
Introduction to Tracking Inspection
As an integral part of UL certification, UL has developed a "Trace Inspection" system to ensure that UL list names and approved products continue to meet UL standards and requirements. "Tracking inspection" means that UL sends field representatives from all over the world to the local production site to conduct tracking inspection of UL products. Its purpose is to ensure that the manufacturing processes, inspection processes and products of the factory are consistent with UL requirements by checking against UL standards and tracking inspection rules.
Follow up the basis of inspection
When the site representative arrives at the factory, the inspection will be carried out mainly according to the "follow up inspection specification". "Track inspection instructions" are prepared by UL engineering after testing the samples submitted for inspection. This document includes a full description of the product, including photographs, instructions, etc. It also specifies the various tests that are frequently performed by the manufacturing plant during production, some of which require 100% of the product, such as the pressure test. Certain tests may be carried out by sampling, and tests that must be checked by the site representative during the site inspection of the plant are also specified. The field representative will determine whether the test results are acceptable or not according to the detailed information and regulations of such tests.
Follow up the classification of inspection products
The review is divided into the first review and the quarterly review, the cost of the first review is relatively higher, and the tracking inspection of UL is divided into R class and L class. Class L services are mainly used for products related to life safety, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fire doors and some products of considerable volume, such as electrical equipment, wires and circuit breakers. For products belonging to class L, manufacturers must order labels directly from UL to affix to the products. Class R services are mainly used for electrical equipment, such as fans, TV sets, hair dryers, ovens and other products that are usually produced by the corresponding assembly line.
Matters needing attention
1. The minimum height for registered trademarks shall be 3/64 of an inch.
2. When the outer circle of the UL mark is less than 3/8 "in diameter, the registered trademark symbol may be ignored if it is not legible to the naked eye.
3. Marks can be stamped, molded, ink printed, screen printed or similar methods directly and fixed to the unchanging product.
4. Acquisition of Marks: Manufacturers may reprint or obtain them from UL authorized distributors.