The Importance of UL Certification: Ensuring Safety and Quality Standards

Businesses and organizations that have their management policy, mission and vision for the future defined with the help of standards are only faster and better at achieving their set goals. Quality standards are based on quality management principles – this is how we continuously improve our company’s operations. As FerroČrtalič is a largely international and predominantly export-oriented company, we constantly need to follow global standards and understand the demands of customers from around the world. Customer needs are wide-ranging and may vary between markets due to differences in culture, language, beliefs, traditions, economics or local competition. FerroČrtalič obtained the ISO 9001 certificate in 1998 and in 2021 successfully completed its campaign to obtain an environmental management system certificate under the ISO 14001 standard. Our compliance with the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards is confirmed by successfully passing regular annual assessments.

1. What about standards around the world? Let's look at the USA ...

Since our quality department pays particular attention to global quality standards, we started the certification process to obtain the UL certificate for our products at the request of our customers. This is our way of confirming the company’s technological expertise and commitment to customers while ensuring the highest level of safety for our equipment. The standards for the North American market are defined by the UL group. In brief, UL is a safety organization that defines industry standards for new products. These products undergo ongoing checks to ensure that they meet the prescribed standards. In addition, the products are inspected by UL employees as part of audits, so the manufacturing of UL products is audited several times a year. This ensures compliance, traceability and safety of the equipment at the highest level.

FerroČrtalič obtained the UL certificate for the first time in 2021. To meet the requirement of a US-based buyer of ours, we decided to fully certify our high-tech surface treatment equipment to obtain permission to use the UL mark. The equipment certification process consisted of well-established steps as described below. First, we submitted our application for the UL certificate as early as the product development stage. FerroČrtalič engineers drew up technical and safety documentation for all the equipment, placing a special focus on the safety of all components. For us, the biggest challenge was to draw up electrical documentation according to UL requirements and standards. We had to perform safety computations and produce electrical plans in units of measurement that are being used in the US market (cable cross-sections, labelling…). Already at the design engineering stage, we decided to only incorporate UL-certified components into the equipment in order to avoid quite a number of inconveniences and additional testing sessions.

The technical and design documentation also had to meet the criteria subject to UL requirements (static calculations, torque calculations, creation of testing protocols, strength calculations, quality control protocols). The next step required obtaining a preliminary technical opinion from UL experts. They provided an analysis into whether the product is designed to meet all safety, functional, technical and regulatory requirements. This involved the participation of various groups of engineers both from FerroČrtalič and the UL group (electrical division, safety division, quality division…). The process required quite a few coordinations and revisions, and meetings were held on a weekly basis. It was not until the UL team carefully reviewed and later confirmed our technical documentation that the UL procedure was initiated for the equipment for which the UL certification application was submitted. After assembling the machine, we performed various tests (electrical measurements, safety measurements, functional tests) that were consistent and recorded with the UL procedure. Also carried out was electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing, which measures the ability of an electrical product to operate properly in its intended electromagnetic environment without causing unacceptable electromagnetic interference. Finally, there came the last step, the actual certification, during which an auditor inspected all components on site and confirmed that the equipment was manufactured in accordance with the UL procedure, thereby ensuring compliance and safety of the equipment at the highest level.

After the process was completed and the audit assessment finished, we were issued a certificate allowing us to use the UL mark. In order to maintain the right to use the UL mark, we receive audit visits several times a year, which is also a mandatory condition for keeping the UL certification status.

2. What does it mean to hold a UL certificate and to be among UL-certified suppliers?

Our high-tech surface treatment equipment bears the “Listed” UL mark, which means that the equipment has been tested by UL and meets nationally recognized safety and sustainability standards, and at the same time our certified surface treatment equipment meets the relevant standards specific to potential fire hazards, mechanical hazards and electric shock.

You can also find us among the UL-certified machine manufacturers on the official website of the UL group, under the classification header GPNY – Factory Automation Equipment.