When it comes to UL508A certification, let’s start with the UL part. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories; it is an officially recognized and authorized organization that conducts extensive safety research and develops standards in the US and Canada. Its goal is to assure consumers that the products they buy are safe. Underwriters Laboratories are most widely known for creating standards for electrical products. For example, every electrical outlet, light fixture, and light bulb in the U.S. has a UL symbol on it.
A UL508A standard is a set of instructions regarding the manufacture of industrial control panels. Electrical inspectors look for the UL508A marking when reviewing a panel. The marking communicates to the inspector and the buyer that a third party examined the product, found it to comply with nationally recognized safety standards, and certified it. The certification also guarantees that the panel is compliant with national and local electrical codes.
An industrial control panel, according to UL, is “an assembly incorporating two or more pieces of industrial control equipment or related control circuit devices, provided with interconnecting wiring and terminals for connections in the field. To allow the installer to properly install the panel in accordance to National Electrical Code (NEC) and other codes, electrical ratings and instructions are to be clearly explained on the panel.”
For a control panel to meet the requirements of the UL508A Mark, it must contain only UL recognized components. As with the panel itself, the UL Mark on each of the components means that UL has evaluated and tested them and has determined that they meet UL requirements. This provides assurance of safe performance and safeguards the overall quality of the control panel. A UL manufacturer is subject to random, unannounced inspections of their factory by UL personnel. The UL staff makes sure that the manufacturer is meeting the requirements for the certification.
The UL organization had an interesting beginning. In 1893, President Grover Cleveland flipped a single switch and lit 100,000 incandescent lights to illuminate the fairgrounds at the Chicago World’s Fair. William Henry Merrill, Jr., an electrical inspector was behind the scenes making sure a major fire did not break out and no one got electrocuted. Merrill went on to found the UL organization to help mitigate risks with products and services that could be dangerous if not properly produced.
Production Systems is a UL shop; All our electrical controls are built in compliance with the UL508A Standard for Enclosed Electrical Control Panels. Design and fabrication of our control panels are all done onsite at our plant by an experienced engineering staff. We use the highest quality materials to create a critical part of our customers’ manufacturing process. Contact us to learn more about our panel capabilities and how we can help your company.