Navigating the UL Certification Process and Unlocking Product Success
You have a product that’s going to make a splash on the market. But first, you want to make sure it bears the mark of quality, longevity and safety. That’s where UL certification comes in.
Attaining this certification is just one way to demonstrate your product meets regulatory and safety standards in the U.S. and Canada. The UL mark is one of the most widely known and most recognized.
Products that bear the prestigious UL mark must first become UL certified. Before you initiate the process of submitting your sample and working with an authorized label printer to create the UL mark that gets affixed to your product, it’s important to understand what to expect and what you can do to ensure a smooth certification process.
What is UL and what does it mean?
UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories. They’re one of several companies approved by U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to perform safety testing on products. Their testing protocols are designed to assess overall product safety, as well as components, materials, systems and performance, based on industry standards. UL standards are overseen and accredited by another organization called American National Standards Institute.
Top benefits of UL certification
The UL certification process can add several weeks and other costs to product development. However, many companies find value in pursuing UL certification.
The primary benefit is the UL mark signifies your product was evaluated by an outside entity, and meets regulatory requirements for safety when used as intended. UL certification can be an effective sales and marketing tool to showcase your commitment to quality, safety and compliance.Read more
How do you get a product UL certified?
Before you pursue UL certification, you’ll first need to accurately identify which certification type your product requires along with which UL regulation it needs to comply with.
Once you have a product sample — complete with all the intended materials and components — you’re ready to get started.
- First, initiate an application with UL Solutions, and send the required product sample for testing.
- UL completes the testing. If successful, it means the product complies with OSHA standards.
- Upon issuance of the certificate contract, you’ll contract with a UL Authorized Label Supplier to produce durable labels that contain the mark.
Avoiding runaway costs during the UL process
Having the UL mark can enhance product marketability. But prolonging the certification process won’t make the product more profitable. Unfortunately, misunderstandings about the certification requirements are common and these can lead to testing and certification delays, which ultimately affect your product's launch schedule and your margins.
To ensure that your project stays on track both in terms of costs and timelines, start at the design phase. Seek guidance from experts with extensive experience in UL certified materials.
The value of working with a UL Authorized Label Supplier
A reliable label printer that holds the UL Authorized Label Supplier status can prove to be an invaluable resource throughout your project. These printers routinely subject their label samples to UL testing along with the on-site facility visits to ensure strict compliance with the program's rigorous performance standards and procedures. They have capabilities to print and die-cut UL marks sourced from UL-recognized materials, laminates and ink combinations that are tailored specifically for your product and its requirements.
Along with their authorization to manufacture the UL mark, they also provide value.
Expertise: Their insights can help enhance your design and you avoid costly errors.
Connections: They interface with other companies that are also well-versed in the process of UL certification.
Considerations for UL: Regulatory changes
Once the product attains UL certification, it needs to be maintained. That’s why it’s critical to be vigilant of any upcoming updates to UL standards and understand the requirements to sustain the certification.
This can sometimes result in product redesign which can require another evaluation by UL.
Or you may have the option to replace components made from applicable UL-approved materials, which would bring the product into compliance with the new standard.
That’s where you’ll find a valuable resource in a custom converter that’s worked on components that need to attain UL compliance.
This is especially true if you work with Precision Converting, a 3M Preferred Converter. They’ll work closely with their network to identify and source UL-compliant materials to build components, saving you time and expense.
That's important because any regulatory change can set off a domino effect for OEMs, affecting everything from material sourcing to manufacturing processes. Discovering opportunities to save time and cost can soften the impact.
Work with the experts for your UL mark
Alliance Graphics and Printing proudly holds the distinction of being Houston's sole UL Authorized Label Supplier. This means that we are the exclusive commercial printer in the region authorized to produce durable labels that bear the prestigious UL mark.
Through our partnership with Hisco, we can provide you with a single-source partner to help fulfill your UL label compliance requirements. Leveraging Hisco’s extensive converting capabilities and their access to premium materials combined with Alliance’s expertise in label production, we deliver unmatched value and reliability.