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For European manufacturers of machinery, the North American market is an incredible opportunity for growth but one which does not come without its pitfalls. The largest of which is meeting the legal and technical requirements of the market.
Confusion in respect to UL508A and NFPA standards can be extremely costly and therefore an outsourcing partner like PP C&A, as verified and experienced designers and builders of systems to meet (Underwriters Laboratory) UL508A standards should be consulted.
PP C&A has customers, past and present, who believe that by simply selecting components that are UL listed and integrating them into a control panel that also carried a UL (NEMA) rating, that was the start and end of the exercise.
In fact, a number of machinery manufacturers have adopted this approach and depending on which US states they have been exporting to, may have managed to escape any serious issues.
But that is until they come across a more stringent inspection, whether state specific or just a more detailed and thorough site inspector. The problems then, can be devastating.
There will be re-working, supplying new components and even the time and financial cost of dispatching engineers on a plane to go and sort out the problem as quickly as they can. Furthermore, you can expect consequential penalties from the customer due to late installation of machinery and the impact this can have on future business relationships.
The importance of getting UL right when supplying into the North American market is crucial. And these common issues are all easily avoided by taking a more proactive approach to the subject and working with companies, like PP C&A, that can offer a complete UL solution in line with your specific needs.
Continue reading to get an in depth understanding of what the PP C&A service entails along with the key benefits.
PP C&A UL Listed panels are manufactured under regular stringent UL factory audits to meet key US national and local electric safety regulations.
Avoids the costly field evaluation inspection of every panel and the associated unpredictable outcome.
Respected globally, the UL listing mark may be specified in procurement documents for contracts outside of the USA, commonly in Middle East countries such as the UAE.
A ‘global design’ can be produced, allowing panels to be shipped to the EU, USA, Canada, and further afield without specially built and costly variants. This allows for quick response to new commercial opportunities.
The UL Listing mark on your panel and/or machine can increase sales and set you apart from the competition.
The UL 508A certification provides the inspection authority and your customer evidence that the control panel complies with nationally recognised safety standards, which ensure public safety and compliance with national and local electrical codes.
Manufacturers that carry the UL 508A certification are subject to periodic unannounced inspections of their facilities by UL personnel. Through periodic audits, UL makes sure the manufacturer continues to meet the UL requirements for 508A certification.
The UL Mark on a component means that UL has evaluated and tested samples of this component and has concluded that they meet the necessary requirements, thus protecting the quality and integrity of the control panel.
Prior to manufacturing UL-approved electrical panels, we will first undertake crucial checks of customer’s submitted designs.
It is very important that the design is checked for compliance with the UL 508A standard prior to manufacturing the panel, in order to ensure UL compliance and thus enable us to apply a UL mark to the electrical panel.
There are a series of checks and considerations undertaken by the UL standards experts at PP C&A, which include:
Having an understanding of the processes encompassing inspection and evaluation is a major facet to the right UL practice for OEMs and the often overlooked considerations and risks when converting European builds to US-ready machines or when looking to expand into North America with new machine builds altogether.
With the control panels built and the components selected, all under UL guidance, machine connectivity will bring the whole thing together but there’s a serious worry that all that hard work can be undone by not understanding the importance of cabling in relation to UL.
Many definitions used in systems implemented in North America have no equivalent in the design of industrial installations according to European regulations. The reason for this is not a simple problem of different terminology, but a different conceptual approach altogether.
PP C&A’s presentation on the UL standards opportunity in North America, the business considerations, and design considerations is now available to watch on demand.
UK manufacturers targeting new growth opportunities in North America are being urged to avoid costly mistakes when trying to meet specific technical standards for the territory.
Unlike Canada the requirement for NRTL approval is not mandatory. However, the vast majority of your potential customers are very likely to require and request it.
With the control panels built and the components selected, all under UL guidance, machine connectivity will bring the whole thing together.
The different rules established over the years in different industries or regions have led to radically different approaches.
The general assumption that selecting components that are UL listed and integrating them into a control panel that also carried a UL rating is enough, is simply incorrect.