What is “UL” and How Does It Work?

ul-certification-marksChances are you have seen UL labels affixed to some product or piece of equipment in your lifetime. For those who are new to working with UL certification labels, it can be a little overwhelming and challenging to understand all of the information and instructions that come with these highly specialized labels. This article will hopefully work to “clear the air” and simplify the process for any clients who are having to purchase or work with UL Marks for the first time.

What is the Purpose of UL?
UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, an independent safety science company that serves the needs of businesses, developers and consumers worldwide. With over a hundred years of experience working with products to develop safety solutions and expanding innovation to include renewable energy, sustainability and even nanotechnology, UL is dedicated to promoting safe working and living environments. They work to help keep people, places and products safe, while working to facilitate global trade and commerce.

Part of what UL does is to test, audit, inspect, validate, educate, advise and certify products and technology from a wide variety of industries and services. Some of those industries include software, plastics, architectural services, data acceptance programs, laboratory equipment, industrial control panels, lighting, storage tanks and pipes, wire and cable, drinking water analysis and many more. UL helps businesses working within these industries to create products for consumers that comply with regulatory specifications for safer use.

UL works with governments, retailers and business owners around the world. Collaborating to create a high level of safety standards that will enable businesses to remain competitive while delivering a quality product. The mission of UL is to advance safety science through research and investigation and to help reduce or prevent loss of life and property for all people. The core principles of UL throughout its history continue to guide their leadership today and keep their focus on improving global safety science.

What are UL Marks?
There are many different UL certifications symbols that are known in the industry as “UL Marks.” However, a label that has been printed with a UL Mark is not required to have all of the specifications of a UL approved label, such as ink, durability requirements or approved label material, simply because it bears one of those symbols. The UL Mark serves as the evidence of a product’s UL certification. If the UL Mark comes off for any reason, the product is no longer considered to be UL certified.

In order to ensure that the UL Mark does not come off, there are additional requirements used for printing labels that bear the UL Mark. These requirements can include measures to ensure that the UL Mark stays in place, such as specific ink, materials or other durability methods. Make sure to check to see if any other specific requirements for your UL Mark label are needed.

What are Some Examples of UL Certification Marks?
Type R and Type L are two types of UL certification marks that are sometimes called follow-up service or FUS. The product category and the level of control that UL wants to put over the printing process of the UL labels is what designates the type of label that is used.

Type R Labels
These UL certification labels typically consist of a product name, the appropriate UL symbol as defined in the UL procedure book and a four character control number that is associated with a specific UL file number. Printing companies are unable to print any Type R labels unless the artwork is approved and stamped by UL first. Once the artwork is approved, the sales and service stickers company will usually pair the approval with your product for faster printing the next time an order is placed.

Additional information may be included on the UL certification labels beyond the basic required data, such as company name, any warnings, place of manufacture, date code and electrical ratings. This information is okay to use as long as it does not interfere with the elements of design as required by UL.

Type L Labels
These UL certification labels typically consist of a product name, the appropriate UL symbol as defined in the UL book, a UL File Number or UL Listee Company Name and the words “Serial No.” or “Issue No.” followed by the specified numbers that were authorized by UL. Unlike Type R labels, Type L labels must be authorized by UL each and every time they are printed because the variable numbers used in Type L marks are assigned during the ordering process.

The exact amount of labels allowed by the UL approval will appear on the authorization form. The UL labels under Type L may also be required to be made from a specific type of label material and use a specific type of shipping and packaging. All of this information will be placed in the “Terms and Conditions” portion of the UL certification labels authorization form. Additional information may be included in the Type L design, such as date codes, place of manufacture, warnings and electrical ratings as long as it does not interfere with the elements of design as required by UL.

Where to Order UL Certification Labels?
If your business is looking to order UL certification labels, look no further than NFi’s Sales & Service Stickers division. With decades of experience behind them, Nameplates For Industry has the knowledge, techniques and technology to create sales and service stickers that far exceed the industry standard. Their aggressive adhesive stickers are water and weather-proof and have been tested and approved for outdoor use by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), making them the perfect solution for all of your UL certification label needs.

Contact NFi’s Sales & Service Stickers division today by calling toll free at 1-855-510-4634 or call locally within Southeastern Massachusetts at 1-508-998-9021. A professional team of highly trained and knowledgeable customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5:30 pm EST. Call Nameplates For Industry today to meet all of your sales and service stickers needs.