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Outfitting an entire office space can seem daunting at first.

Confronting a budget in this scenario is particularly complicated. And in times like this, it can be easy to want to find a way to cut a few corners and save some cost.

But finding cheaper (emphasis on the cheaper) products to outfit the new space is not the answer. UL approved products offer more than just efficiency – they offer safety.

WHY ARE NON-UL APPROVED PRODUCTS RISKY?

There is a very good reason why Underwriters Laboratories came to exist. In a world of ever-expanding products, inventions, and evolution, this organization took upon itself to ensure that there is a set of safety standards to protect the users.

With an influx of manufacturers (and a need to keep costs low), it has become increasingly more important to abide by the vigilance of UL. Products that sell for lower prices must be made with lower quality – and it is these products that are less safe. The use of inferior products creates hazards for workplaces housing expensive equipment and easily ignitable material. The cost savings of purchasing non-UL material doesn’t match the risk imposed on the company, equipment and employees.

UL discovered what materials, layouts, and other design elements encouraged electrical safety in particular. Their standards protect users from potential fires, electrical shock, and personal injury hazards. Whether the products are office furniture, additional power or charging accessories, UL set a code of standards for various levels of safety based on their testing.

UL VERSUS ETL

You may see companies carrying a UL listing, an ETL listing, or both. Here’s what you need to know to distinguish the two certifications.

UL: Underwriters Laboratories, or simply known as UL, writes safety standards and tests products to ensure they meet the requirements of the written safety standards. In order for a product to be UL certified, a product sample must be tested and complete all safety regulations put into place by the UL.

ETL: Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL) includes the safety testing for a variety of electronic components and their associating products. ETL differs from UL because ETL doesn’t test products according to their own set of standards. Products undergoing ETL testing are held to published standards of safety such as ASME, ASTM as well as UL.

For more information and to discover specific details surrounding UL listings, browse the full catalog here. Learn more about UL Listed vs UL Recognized products as well in this helpful blog.

 

 

If you’ve been browsing this blog (or other helpful resources around electrical components and products), then you’ve probably come into contact with the phrases “UL Listed” and “UL Recognized.” But what do they mean? And which one is more important?

But first of all, what is “UL?”

UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES STANDARDS AND TESTING

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global company that focuses on ensuring safety and standards for all design, production, and marketing. As innovation of technology (and accordingly design and production) sweeps the world, UL is invested in protecting the safety of the users, with the primary focus of North America (cULus).

According to UL, they “connect people to safer, more secure, more sustainable products, services, experiences and environments” by developing and disseminating testing for viable products.

A well-known example of UL testing and standards are fire resistant fabrics that are commonly specified for vertical applications – such as drapery or furniture panels. While the fire-resistant fabric is not law, it is so commonplace among designers that it is essentially expected.

It is also particularly important for electrical components such as those involved in power and data units in commercial, industrial, and residential buildings to be UL tested. But what do UL Listed and UL Recognized mean?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “UL LISTED?”

UL Listed means that samples of the specific product or component have been tested and found to safely meet at a minimum all applicable UL standards. Essentially, the specific product on its own is a UL Listed product.

For example, a UL Listed power unit has passed all UL testing in order to become listed. This product can be used on its own.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “UL RECOGNIZED?”

In some cases the power unit itself may only be able to be UL Recognized. In those cases, the whole desk, with integrated power (the system) will need to be tested to become a UL Listed system.

In simpler terms, when the power unit is UL Recognized, the desk it is incorporated into is will need to be UL Listed as an entire system. Certain installation standards must be met that are outside of the confines of the UL’s actual labs, such as the setting and other elements that can’t be control elements in testing.

WHY UL IS IMPORTANT TO DESIGNERS AND MARKETERS

Today, most people expect a level of corporate responsibility and sustainability. UL holds corporations to a higher standard by pushing the envelope for safety. Any time you specify a product without a UL mark, you are increasing the risk of injuring the end user.

A UL mark of any kind denotes a higher standard for your product. To people who understand UL’s importance, it means your company cares. And in an age when we all are caring more and more about the world around us, this can only be beneficial.

UL ensures that products are made to be safe, are made with safer components and in safer conditions. For designers, this means showcasing your firm’s corporate responsibility. And for marketers, this means boasting about your company’s care for its people and for people at large.