Product Certifications and How They Impact Your Project

The certification process was something that was completely new to me coming out of college. I had seen the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark before but never really understood what it meant until we went after the hazardous locations certification for the Spot On sensors.

There are a number of different certifications that a product can acquire. At first we weren’t sure which certifications we wanted to go after with our sensors. A lot of this depends on where the product will be used and what certification goes with that location. We knew that we wanted to get a hazardous location/explosion proof rating on the sensors but we weren’t sure if we should focus on the United States or if we should go outside of our borders and look at the Canada/Europe market. We considered going after certifications from the following organizations for Spot On:

  • Underwriter Laboratories – United States
  • Canadian Underwriter Laboratories (cUL) – Canada
  • Atmosphères Explosibles/
    International Electrotechnical Commission Explosive (ATEX/IECEx) – Europe

We went ahead and opted to go with a UL/cUL certification and have the option to go back for IECEx/ATEX if we gain enough interest in Europe.

Below is an example of what a UL 1203 Hazardous Locations Certification schedule could be:

  • Week 0: Request for Quote
  • Week 1: Send All Relevant Drawings to UL
    • This Could Include:
      • Assembly Drawings
      • Bill of materials (BoM)
      • BoM Component Drawings
      • Component Spec Sheets
    • Week 4: Project Quote Received
    • Week 5: Project Kickoff
    • Week 6-7: Sample Request from UL
    • Week 8-9: Build/Ship Samples
    • Week 9-11: Wait for Lab Time
    • Week 12-13: Lab Testing
    • Week 13-14: Analyze Results
    • Week 14: Testing Approved
    • Week 14-15: Finalize All Drawings for UL File
      • Create and Receive Approval on Engraving Drawings with UL mark
    • Week 16-17: Product UL Approval Received
    • Week 19: In Person Assembly Audit
    • Week 20: First Shipment

Certifications were not something that I thought I would need to worry about building into my timeline once I first started on the Spot On project. As you can see above, it took about 20 weeks for us to get fully certified and to be able to ship product out the door. That’s definitely something that should be taken into account when building out the project timeline.