What “UL Verified” Means and Why It Matters
Laura BurgessPower Transmission Machine Building
Sponsored by igus
Learn what UL is, how their verification process works, and how it all benefits consumers.
Finding out that a product or process is UL verified is like getting an unsolicited pep talk from your distant uncle: It’s interesting, but you’re not really sure what it means or why you should care about it. Turns out, UL Verification is a lot more important than that pep talk, so let’s clear up any confusion about it. Here, you’ll learn what UL is, how their verification process works, and how it all benefits consumers.
What is UL?
UL, or Underwriters Laboratories, is an independent science company that creates and maintains industry-wide safety standards for mechanical, electrical and chemical products. Since 1894, UL’s safety standards have provided design recommendations and testing/construction requirements for different products, including size and current requirements for wires and cables. UL is also a Nationally Recognized Test Laboratory (NRTL), and, according to UL’s website, is the single most accepted Certification Mark in the United States, appearing on 22 billion products annually.
The UL certification mark can be found directly on the product, its tag or packaging. How does the mark get there in the first place? UL performs product testing in accordance to applicable standards, then performs follow-up audits to monitor compliance and product consistency.
UL issues different certification marks for cables, including UL Listed and UL Recognized, and offers many services, such as performance testing and company trainings on compliance and product safety. UL also verifies marketing claims “giving you a way to separate verified fact from fiction.”
How UL Verification Works
UL Verification gives consumers the ability to “verify” the accuracy of marketing and advertising claims of a product, process, system or facility. UL performs an independent, objective, scientifically based assessment of these claims then issues a custom UL Verified mark (pictured right) to the manufacturer. The mark can be used in advertisements, marketing materials, and/or directly on the product, enabling consumers to easily identify safe, trustworthy items. All UL verified claims can be found in the UL Verify online database.
UL Verified igus® claims
In April, UL verified our 36-month chainflex® cable guarantee process, which covers the cables’ electrical and mechanical performances, and the process of calculating chainflex® cable service life.
It’s common for companies to claim in their marketing materials that their cables last millions of life cycles, but information regarding the testing process is usually much less transparent. Consumers need answers to questions like these: How were the continuous flexing properties verified? What research and development were done to say that this cable works? Is there any continuous testing to check the ongoing quality of the cable?
igus® engineers have been empirically testing our chainflex® cables for more than 30 years. They carry out 2 billion test cycles annually inside our 41,000-square-foot test lab at our headquarters in Cologne, Germany, and perform 1,250 batch tests each year to ensure consistent cable performance. 800 tests run simultaneously, which include the following test capabilities:
- 12 m/s² on 50 meters travel inside a cable carrier
- Long travel, 400m travel test
- 10 twister torsion tests
- AutΩmes cable real time electrical function monitoring system
- Two -40°C cooling chambers with continuous linear cable carrier testing
- Horizontal and vertical strokes
- Circular movements of 720°
- Rotation around robotic arms with 4×6 axis test robots
- Raw material testing
The data is analyzed and aggregated into our online service life calculator where you can easily enter your requirements to determine how long a selected cable is expected to last inside your moving application. Visit our UL Verify webpage for more information on our verification. You can also visit our website to learn more about chainflex® cables or to contact an igus® expert.
So there you have it! Hopefully you won’t be as confused the next time you see a UL Verified mark somewhere, and if you are, just remember that UL Verified = credible claims. If only your distant uncle’s pep talk was this easy to decipher…can’t help you with that one.