There was some chatter a while back in regards to UL listings and how they have pretty much gone by the wayside. It was mentioned that to many, people just do not care anymore. Seems like UL has received a bad rap.
So in searching for a industrial type product today, I came across a manufacture here in the US that proudly claimed the new CE approval.
Anyone have any thoughts on the new CE approval process? Should the CE certification give us the warm fuzzy feeling that the UL listing once did?
Comments appreciated. Flames......well........thanks for taking the time to flame.
CE means nothing in North America. It is a European legal requirement.
By stamping CE on something the manufacturer says that it meets European requirements. This way they can't make BS claims like "it wasn't intended for Europe" or "we were unaware of this requirement". If it is unsafe they are screwed in court. No testing by a third party is required.
So, in short, ignore the CE mark unless you live in Europe.
Um...... ya the Continental Europe thing sort of gave that away.
I can guess you have never seen manufactures market the fact over here in the US that there product met the German TUV testing standard? Something that was highly regarded.
Or are you saying that the CE marking is like the UL marking is here today? Useless except for the courts and insurance companies.
So no third party testing for the CE? That makes all the sense to me = worthless.
Wonder how the TUV approval is still going in the European Union scheme of things. Something I need to look into. Still alive?
So we can conclude from this that CE = nothing more than some legal reasoning.
We really do need some type of third party testing here in the US. Than again that might ad .0005% to the cost.
Than again is a CE somewhat better than nothing? I would think when comparing two similar products. Not much, but something. I mean fires, electrocutions, deaths, missing limbs and such are still the same here as they are on the other side of the pond.
There is VERY little third party testing for UL. You certainly do not think that every electrical product is tested before shipping, do you? A small number are removed from the production line and tested. Not every test but randomly tested. As long as it passes the line moves forward. Electrical switch gear is seldom tested for UL standards. Hi-potted, meggared or maybe DLRO sure but an actual with stand test, ya right. There are few locations that have the facilities to do destructive testing.
I worked for an OEM and the factory put the ole UL stickers on the electrical switchgear sections except that there were 2 stickers were 11 of
13 and 2 stickers were 4 of 13. Not so bad right? There were 15 sections. The AHJ wanted them relabled. That was a experence for me and the local U.L. representive. The company paid UL to be present as I installed new stickers.
I am not saying that UL fell down or anything negitative. The amount of products that are shipped yearly is staggering. So the plants do their own inspections. If for any reason a product would fail a UL test the plant would be shut down. At least that is my understanding.
Some locations in the US require a UL mark for equipment. This can be a real problem if your building a custom control panel.
Did not think that everything is tested. Not at all possible. I do honestly feel that some of the stringent requirements have gone away, and there is no reinforcement.
Have you seen some of the junk that is in fact UL listed?? More so the Chinese crap that is coming in.
Some of the gear that I have seen should no way, no how, have any type of approval on it at all. Like the brand new, telescoping magnifying bench lamp I just put in the trash. Brand new and had a LIVE case. Even worse yet, it had a handy extra three prong grounded plug at the base of the lamp. Great! Problem is the thing had a duplex prong plug to plug the lamp in. Tell me how that got the sticker? Chinese made of course. If the plant in China has paid it's dues I am sure the rating will still continue. Yes the sticker was on the lamp and not the cord.
I am sure that over in China there is some guy, who along with 10 other jobs, is doing the UL approval in his plant. Wonder if he can even read the sticker, yet alone the requirements.
UL must surely be protected legally from the crap that their UL is put on.
I had a somewhat of limited experience dealing with TUV at a former employer (something about translation help). They do have branches over here as well.
I can tell you this much, they do not mess around. Costly it is, but they really do put the effort in. They sent about 5 guys to come and inspect the plant. Not so much at the product, more or less to get a general feel of the company. Two did come all the way from overseas.
In the long run the powers that be, thought it was money well spent. Not only from the extra sales, but some product changes were made. More of like a consulting as well.
Than again, never did see the UL guys stop by. Company probably never missed a payment I guess.
The NEC requires most products installed under it's jurisdiction to be approved by a "Nationally Recognized Testing Lab". Far as I know, UL approves (lists) most of this equipment. I don't see how UL has gone by the wayside.
The list at osha.gov appears to include labs for approvals other than electrical. (Factory Mutual is in the electrical field, TUV may not be).
OSHA, I believe, extends the NEC requirement for approval to locations not covered by the NEC but covered by OSHA.
The UL508A standard covers custom industrial control panels. It is a list of parts or classes of parts that can be used by a manufacturer with rules for how the panel is wired and constructed. The panels are indivudually inspected by a UL field inspector (unless many identical panels are being manufactured).
If you have seen RU, with the R backwards, on a part this is a UL Recognized Component and they are intended to be used in fully listed UL equipment. Industrial control panels can use some of them.
Hi Chris The CE mark is required in Europe and some other territories. The CE mark is applied to the equipment by the manufacturer to indicate that they guarantee that the equipment complies with all relevant standards. There are several ways that you can go to get the CE mark, but the onus is on the supplier/manufacturer to ensure that it complies. If there is a problem and the equipment is found to not comply, there are severe penalties. Ul have a more riggerous path for approval than CE and there is also a different emphasis on the standards. There is a slow movement to harmonise the two sets of standards and ultimately, the aim is to bring the UL and IEC standards into line. Before using any equipment in USA that is not UL approvled, I suggest that you contact your insurance co and ensure that they will cover non UL approved product.
Why on earth would you need that? Nobody uses that plug in the US, where UL is an issue. UL is NOT an issue in other countries. Sheesh, talk about a red herring!
UL and any other NRTL listing is all about meeting codes AND insurance requirements. Most users don't know it, but if a fire is caused in a structure, and at the end of the investigation it is determined that the fire was caused by a piece of electrical equipment that could have had an NRTL label on it but didn't, the insurance adjuster will NOT pay out on the fire!
Does UL test every single product going out the door? Of course not, that is rediculous. But they do require that every single product going ut the door is built to the same standards as the one listed. So if a mfgr cheats and applies a label to a product that does not meet that standard, they run the risk of having theor UL labeling capability suspended. that happened to Federal Pacific with their circuit breakers years ago, and that essentially put them out of business in the US. I can also say for a fact that UL testing is VERY stringent, and very thorough. In any agency anywhere in the world there are always slackers, and I suppose they existwithin UL too, but I have NEVER come across one yet.
CE on the other hand is some EU slight-of-hand if you ask me. Only manufacturers in member countries can apply CE listings without third party testing, and the US is not a member country. So we manufacturers here in the US must spend extra to have 3rd party CE certification, something that our EU competitors do not have to do. My opinion is that this is payback for the years that we required them to get UL when they were arguing that TUV and VDE etc. were just as good. Revenge is sweet.
As to shoddy designs, chances are about 99.999999% that lamp was a fake from China. UL is fighting that battle all the time. When they find one, they go after them, but China is not really very cooperative. Wal-Mart is famous for importing crap from China using exclusivity contracts to get the cheapest crap they can, and UL is now going after them if it comes in with phony labels. That has proved more successful because Wal-Mart has more to lose in this country.
UL is not "going by the wayside" in any way shape or form. On the other hand, UL is no longer exclusive in the ability to provide acceptance testing as an NRTL, so now that they havecompetitors you see more devices that have other labels, such as CSA, ETL, ENTELA, TUV etc.
Welcome to the harmonized world. For certain categories of product, everybody is on the same page. For instance, the European standard EN60950 has become the de-facto boilerplate for data processing equipment. UL followed suit with their 1950 standard. You can apply for a single test report which is accepted by the safety regulatory bodies world wide.
As another poster noted: you have to be pretty much insane to offer a product which should be compliant, but isn't. The motivation for signing up is to mitigate liability and to successfully market your product. Folks have an aversion to buying stuff that lacks the appropriate approvals.
Tuv In Europe TUV issue product approvals in the same way as UL does in the states. Products are tested to the appropriate standard, by TUV and if the product meets all the relevant clauses of the standard the factory where the product is produced is inspected. As part of the inspection requirements the product has to have 100% routine inspection (normally high pot and earth continuity). The manufacturer also has the have an acceptable quality system, work instructions and a procedure to ensure that the product is not modified without approval from TUV. The inspection also checks to ensure that the people on the production line are suitably had suitable training for the tasks they are performing. The inspection is then repeated annually during these inspections the product is also checked to ensure that it has not been modified or has had it components changed without TUV's approval. UL and all the other NRTLs in the states have a similar procedure, except there are four (less detailed) factory inspections per year.
When a manufacturer applies a CE mark to a product he is claiming that his products meets the requirements of all the applicable Directives. In most cases he does not have to use an external test lab to prove this.
80% of all products tested by external test labs fail to fully meet the requirements of all the applicable Directives on products already having a CE mark on them.
So look for products with a TUV mark if you want to be sure a product is safe and you live in Europe or a NRTL mark - cTUVus (the Canadian and US TUV mark), CSA (the Canadian Standards mark), or UL mark if you are in USA or Canada.