Guide To UL Label Requirements
Have you ever noticed that small UL label on a microwave, computer, dishwasher or other electrical appliance? That label assures consumers that the product is compliant with stringent safety guidelines and specifications put forth by UL. But what are the UL label requirements for certification? This article will take a high-level look at the various types of UL labels and the requirements for UL approval.
What Is A UL Label?
A UL label is used to display safety-related information on products. It is submitted to and tested by UL in accordance with prescribed permanence of marking performance requirements. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a safety consulting and certification company focused on electrical devices and components, but also fire safety products, hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, performance testing and environmental sustainability, as well as the marking and labeling systems used on these types of products.
UL-approved labels signify that a product label has been both tested and certified to a specific UL standard. All labels bearing the mark of "UL" have also been tested and certified under the marking standards for UL 969 labels. While Federal law does not require UL approval, most insurance companies will not insure a new product without UL approval. In addition, many companies will outright refuse to purchase or even distribute electronics without UL approval.
Types of UL Labels
There are basically two levels of UL certification: Listing Certification and Recognition Certification. UL Listing refers to the certification of a final product. In contrast, UL Recognition refers to the certification of a part or component label that is built into a product.
Beyond these levels, UL labels are classified into three distinct groups.
1. UL Listed
This classification indicates that the product has been tested toward the safety standard currently recognized by OSHA.
2. UL Classified
A UL Classified label indicates the product has been certified to the strict standards created by UL, but it is not recognized by OSHA.
3. UL Certified
UL Certified labels, also referred to as Enhanced Mark Labels, allow consumers to scan the label in order to look up the various safety standards the product has been tested and certified against. They are often accompanied with a smart mark or 2D barcode.
UL Label Requirements and Considerations
In general, UL label requirements can vary greatly between the different types of labels. UL labels include both UL 969 labels (durable labels) and UL Marks (UL logos).
In order to establish certification, a label product must be submitted to UL by the manufacturer for both testing and evaluation. Various factors go into whether or not a label will get approval. But in general, the following factors and UL label standards are taken into account during the testing and approval process.
- The materials used in the manufacturing of the label itself.
- Whether the label will hold up against natural wear and tear.
- Whether the label will hold up when exposed to heat, humidity and oils.
- The measurable area of the label where printing can occur.
- The appearance, legibility and prominence of the printing.
What Is the Testing Process and What Makes UL 969 Labels Compliant?
UL 969 labels and markings are pre-qualified and tested by UL technicians in order to verify the product's durability under a number of environmental conditions. The components of a UL 969 label include adhesive, facestock, ink, lamination and secondary ink. How these elements work together as a complete construction through the testing process is what determines if a UL 969 label is compliant or not.
To ensure the integrity of the complete label's construction, individual printers are not allowed to freely substitute materials or printing methods. The steps to UL certification are as follows:
- The label manufacturer sends a prospective label construction directly to UL.
- UL will then perform a series of tests related to adhesion, heat, humidity, scratches, weathering and more.
- Following environmental conditioning, a UL label is then visually examined for label permanence. The strict standards for UL 969 labels require the label to adhere to a predetermined test surface material without significant crazing, shrinking, curling and/or loosening of more than 10 percent of the label's surface area. The label also cannot slip from its original position within the test panel more than .2 inches.
- Additional testing will also include an examination of adhesion, legibility and resistance to defacement.
- If a label construction is found to meet the UL label standards, it is then certified to various conditions, including application surface, temperatures and exposure.
- Lastly, production of the certified construction is then evaluated on an annual basis by an onsite UL inspector and will also be sent to the lab for testing.
Keep in mind, UL label requirements can vary greatly based on the product being certified. While this is a good starting point, you'll need to review the specific requirements set forth on the UL website for exhaustive UL label requirements, information and standards.
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When you need to print UL-approved labels, rely on an approved label manufacturer to guide you through the process. At LLT, our UL-approved labels are designed to withstand even the harshest of environments. Combined with an adhesive specifically developed for durable labeling, our UL labels can be used for a variety of applications, including appliances, lawn and garden, nameplates, chemical drums and wet cell batteries. Reach out for additional information on UL label requirements, or get a quote on any of our UL labels or adhesive solutions. Shop UL labels today.