UL or NEMA? Or perhaps both? Do you want to supply the North American market? Then, you must consider many aspects. One of the most important questions is about the necessary certifications.
The UL certification is virtually mandatory for the import of industrial goods to the US or Canada. Without UL there is no insurance coverage – an extremely high business risk. Anyone who has ever been involved with the US product liability law knows what that can mean.
On-site inspector has the authority
The focus of UL certification is electromechanical safety to prevent fires and personal injuries. Electrical appliances, assemblies and also individual components are examined. Therefore, equipment and system manufacturers are well advised to comply with requirements for the UL certification already at the integrated components’ level. This saves time and money because US authorities do not shy away from asking for new or additional certifications before approving the operation of an overall system. An on-site inspector has absolute authority to approve or disapprove a certification. He decides whether a machine is put into operation. Experience has shown that system manufacturers have clear advantages when they can submit certificates for all components and modules. This facilitates the inspector's far-reaching decision and also provides him with the necessary sense of security.
No less important for the export to the US are the NEMA protection classes. NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association, representing the interests of the electrical engineering industry in the United States. The NEMA concept is conditionally comparable to the IP protection classes. However, while the IP protection class system is recognized worldwide, customers in the US and Canada require NEMA certification.
But, be careful: NEMA is not necessarily NEMA! It may say NEMA on the package but what’s inside can be totally different. There are 13 protection classes of completely different specifications hidden behind the concept. For example, in contrast to IP protection classes, NEMA distinguishes between indoor and outdoor applications. Therefore, system builders must scrutinise very carefully which NEMA certification applies to the component manufacturer. An indoor certificate for a cable gland is of little use if the system in which the gland is installed is built outdoors.
That's why HUMMEL AG has consistently been committed to comprehensive NEMA certification for indoor and outdoor applications for many years. All standard series of plastic, metal and EMC cable glands are both NEMA and UL certified. This ensures that assembly or system engineers are on the safe side with these components. After all, not every manufacturer of electrical appliances, equipment or systems can know whether the customers use the products indoors or outdoors.
Equipment and system manufacturers supplying to the United States and/or Canada should rely exclusively on components that are UL and NEMA certified. The UL certification of the components simplifies the acceptance of the system on site and saves costs for any subsequent certification. Special care must be taken to ensure that proven protection classes in the NEMA certificate also comply with the necessary requirements. Keyword: Outdoor suitability