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Thread: UL/CSA/ETL certification for control panels and industrial machinery

  1. #1
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    Assumption, IL, USA
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    UL/CSA/ETL certification for control panels and industrial machinery

    Greetings!

    I work for a company that makes agricultural equipment (grain storage and drying equipment as well as animal house feeders, fans, etc) and I would like to find out which states in the US require local inspectors or AHJ's to verify product certification marks on electrical products (control panels, industrial machines, etc) as part of electrical inspections at new installation sites. Are there any special exemptions for industrial / agricultural equipment?

    Thanks for your assistance!

  2. #2
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    Mission Viejo, CA
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    For Industrial Control Panels, you will find it is pretty much a universal requirement and there is no industrial or agricultural exemption.
    "Bob"
    Robert B. Alexander, P.E.
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think the NEC says, but I am not sure you realize that what you read is not what it means." (Corollary to Charlie's Rule)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    CSA, cUL, for Control panels

    In Canada , you could use the services of www.QPS.CA.

    They also service the USA.

    Richard

  4. #4
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    Reading this thread might be helpful:
    http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthrea...highlight=nrtl
    At my age, I'm accustomed to restaurants asking me to pay in advance, but now my bank has started sending me their calendar one month at a time.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback thus far. I'm a big supporter of providing certified product through an NRTL, but only a few AHJ's in the US (MN in particular) have informed us that certified equipment is required.

    Ideally, I'd like to identify the specific states that would require certification and use that as motivation within my company to certify all electrical equipment sold in the US. It's hard to make that case internally when only one or two states have required us to provide certified control panels and equipment.

    I haven't had an easy time sorting out which states require certification and which do not. I've contacted many state electrical boards to ask this question directly, but only a few responses have been received so far.

    Has anyone been through this exercise before and came up with a list of states that will absolutely require certification for electrical equipment? I know it's always up to the local AHJ's, but any general guidance would help!

  6. #6
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    In the thread augie cited I said:
    Quote Originally Posted by rbalex View Post
    Listing or labeling is not a universal NEC requirement although it may be for some local jurisdictions; e.g., the City and County of Los Angeles, CA.

    Where FedOSHA applies, the definition of acceptable in 29 CFR 1910 Section 399 basically says if something can be listed it must be. Compare it with the definitions of accepted and approved.

    NEC Annex A is "... a list of product safety standards used for product listing where that listing is required by this Code." It isn't entirely accurate.
    If FedOSHA has jurisdiction and the product can be certified - it MUST be. Only four State plans are substantially different from FedOSHA and you will note FedOSHA continues to "look over their shoulders."
    "Bob"
    Robert B. Alexander, P.E.
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think the NEC says, but I am not sure you realize that what you read is not what it means." (Corollary to Charlie's Rule)

  7. #7
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    Perhaps it will help to explain some of the 'mechanics' of making a 'listed' panel.

    With most products, a manufacturer maked something in great quantities. Each model is submitted for testing, and that model alone becomes eligible to bear the 'listing mark.' Note that I said 'becomes eligible; it's quite common for manufacturers to apply that mark to only a portion of their production, simply as a way to reduce their expenses. They pay by the mark; thus, you can often find two different prices for the same product - one for with, and one for without, the listing mark.

    Control panels differ in that there are usually countless variations, and no two panels are absolutely identical. It's just not practical to make a dozen exact copies, so that 11 can undergo the destructive testing and one can be provided the customer. So, the process differs a bit.

    The shop itself is certified by the listing firm as a 'panel shop,' and is essentially allowed to self-certify their panels, under the supervision of the listing firm.

    So, you can get yourself listed as a 'panel shop,' and continue business as usual. You can apply the listing mark to only those panels that need it - and you can charge extra for a 'listed' panel.

    There are a variety of firms that provide listing services. Not all are identical, or cover the same industries. It's worth your efforts to seek out the various firms and hear their sales pitch. The "big four" are likely to be CSA, ETL, FM, and UL.

    Apart from the general listing services, there are likely to be additional groups that have design criteria for specific applications. The usual 'panel listing' makes no judgement on the basic design or control logic of panel. One could conceivably list a panel that would then be used to control a machine that shot the operator. The 'machine' is independent of the 'panel' itself.

  8. #8
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    I have fought this battle for years to a point that it is almost humorous.
    TN requires NRTL listing with some jurisdictions enforcing it stronger than others.
    So often, the first phone calls to the supplier is "I don't know what you are talking about", or "no one requires that". Subsequent calls finally result in "Oh, you are one of THOSE! "
    Often I have seen the manufacturer come to the scene, modify the equipment to meet the NRTL standard and then have a field evaluation.
    As noted above in Post #7, many suppliers offer the product as "listed" or not with a price variation.
    At my age, I'm accustomed to restaurants asking me to pay in advance, but now my bank has started sending me their calendar one month at a time.

  9. #9
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    It is relatively straightforward and not much in the way of extra expense to supply a UL listed industrial control panel.

    The machinery itself can often be something entirely different. Many types of machiens, especially custom ones, just do not have any way at all to list them.
    Bob

  10. #10
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    I had a UL 508 shop for a while, I too was interested in where it was necessary (for my own marketing purposes). I got as far as the Rockies and found that all Western states require NRTL listing, but since I had no plan to do work beyond that, I stopped. So that was Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana. A friend in Texas tells me that Texas and Louisianna require NRTL listing, so from a land mass standpoint, that's most of the country.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________
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