Tag: certification body

Top 20 Non-Compliance Findings for Panel & Motor-Operated Equipment

by admin on Nov.10, 2014, under Product Safety

Here at MET Labs, we’ve been product safety testing electrical/electronic equipment in the field for over 55 years.  Naturally, we see the same failures over and over again.  We hope this list of Top 20 Field Failures for Panel & Motor-Operated Equipment will help inspectors identify and contractors fix the most commonly observed non-compliances.

1. Supplementary Protector Usage – Supplementary Protectors are used incorrectly as branch circuit protection. When used incorrectly, these components are known to fail – welding closed and causing fires/short circuits. These can either be replaced by UL 489 listed circuit breakers or branch circuit fuses (suitable for the circuit rating).

2. Risk of Electrical Shock – Covers over live electrical parts are not secured properly. A tool or key is required to access areas that pose a risk of electrical shock.

3. Dedicated Ground – The main incoming grounding conductor is not terminated at its own dedicated point (e.g. there were two wires in the grounding terminal).  The secondary ground must be moved to another grounding terminal.

4. Motor Overload Protection – Overload charts are not provided in the panel to verify the rating of the overload protection.

5. Protection of Power Supplies – The manufacturer’s instructions for overcurrent protection are not followed.

6. Strain Relief – An internal terminal strain relief device is not provided.

7. Working Space – Control panels are located too close to the wall and are not able to be serviced properly.  The panel doors must be able to open at least 90 degrees.

8. Emergency Stop – Emergency stops are not provided at control and operator stations where shutdown would be required. These E-stops are required to override all other functions and operations in all modes (unless it creates another hazard).

9. Protection of Motor Drives – Motor drives are improperly protected per the manufacturer’s installation instructions. These frequency drives require specific size and type primary fuses or listed circuit breakers depending upon the size of the drive.

10. Power Transformer Protection – Power Transformers are not properly protected on the primary or secondary, based on the appropriate tables in the related standards.

11. Control Transformer Protection – Control Transformers are not properly protected. In some cases, only primary protection was found when secondary protection was also needed.

12. Termination of Wiring – Some wires are not terminated or were improperly terminated. Improper multiple terminations is a common issue and could create overheating at the terminal.

13. Conductor Ampacities Based on Termination Ratings – Conductor sizing is done improperly. Conductors are sized based on conductor ampacity without consideration to termination ratings.

14. Wire Bending Space for Main Connections – Control panels don’t have adequate wire bending space for the main connections, risking snapping the termination completely off.

15. Component Information – Components are not marked as certified (MET, CSA, UL, FM, ETL, VDE, JIS, etc.).  Some components have CE marking, which is not acceptable.

16. Flexible Cords – Flexible cords are used improperly per NEC Article 400, which restricts the use of flexible cords for specific applications.

17. Multiple Power Sources – Panels that are fed with more than one source of power are not marked with a cautionary marking to protect the individual servicing the panel. This marking is required: “Caution, more than one disconnect, disconnect all before servicing.”

18. Area Classification – The environment where the product is installed is inappropriate. For example, a product intended for Ordinary Locations cannot be installed in a Class 1 Division 2 location.

19. Panel Only Certification – A control panel is certified but the load served by the panel is not.

20. Equipment Markings – Marking labels are not suitable for the surface material and temperature applied or text is not of adequate size and of good contrast.

What electrical equipment field failures do you see most often?  Please leave a comment.

MET Labs has been skillfully and efficiently conducting independent field evaluations for over 55 years.  Contact us to get your field safety certification questions answered or for a free quotation.

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ENERGY STAR Certification of Data Center Storage Equipment Begins

by admin on Nov.05, 2013, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized Version 1.0 of the ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage Specification and the ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage Test Method.

According to EPA, datacenters are estimated to be more than 2% of total U.S. electricity consumption, so more energy efficient data center storage equipment will help data center owners and operators save significant money on their energy bills.

The ENERGY STAR Data Center Storage specification enhances the suite of ENERGY STAR datacenter equipment specifications, which currently includes Computer Server and Uninterruptible Power Supply specifications.

This specification:

  • Introduces an approach to product families that allows both homogenous and heterogeneous storage device configurations to be certified
  • Includes requirements focused on power supplies, capacity optimizing methods, and standard performance data measurement and output
  • Allows for variations within product families to incorporate newer storage devices and other system improvements over the life of the storage product

The V1.0 Specification requires all products to test and submit data using the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Emerald Power Efficiency Measurement Specification V2.0.2.

The effective date of the V1.0 Data Center Storage Specification is December 2, 2013, but MET Labs is already an EPA-recognized certification body (CB) for this category and is in advanced stages of the test lab recognition process with EPA.

Selling to the U.S. government?  Did you know federal agencies are required to purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products

See all of MET’s energy efficiency testing and certification capabilities.

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ENERGY STAR Certification of Enterprise Servers to Version 2 Has Begun

by admin on Jun.12, 2013, under ENERGY STAR

For certification of enterprise servers, ENERGY STAR is transitioning from specification version 1.1 to 2.0.  Version 2.0 is not officially effective until December 16, 2013, but manufacturers may already have products certified to it.   As of August 31, 2013, Certification Bodies like MET Labs will no longer certify new products to version 1.1.

Here are the top 3 changes in Servers V. 2.0:

  • Server Efficiency Rating Tool (SERT) is now a mandatory requirement
  • Longer idle state testing
  • Blade Systems (including Blade Servers and Blade Chassis) and  Multi-Node Servers are now eligible for certification

Selling to the U.S. government?  Did you know federal agencies are required to purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products

Located in Europe?  Attend this ENERGY STAR webinar that is targeted to EU manufacturers.

See all of MET’s energy efficiency testing and certification capabilities.

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NRCan Proposes Decoupling ENERGY STAR Specs from its Energy Efficiency Regulations

by admin on Feb.19, 2013, under Canada, ENERGY STAR

Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) ENERGY STAR Initiative is considering significant changes in how products manufactured and/or sold in Canada are qualified and listed. 

NRCan proposes to de-couple Canada’s ENERGY STAR technical specifications from its Energy Efficiency Regulations.  NRCan intends to use the ENERGY STAR technical specification published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exclusively for ALL product categories (except fenestration products).  A one month commentary period revealed that the harmonization of technical specifications with the EPA was not an issue for the majority of Canadian manufacturers.

This change, however, will result in other changes:  using the EPA’s specification could result in manufacturers using test procedures which, at any given time, may not be identical to those used for Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, for regulated products.  As such, NRCan will not be collecting data from manufacturers’ EERs to auto-qualify their products for ENERGY STAR designation.

Analysis by NRCan reveals that this decision will only impact a small subset of manufacturers who sell regulated products in Canada only – and for the most part, only for those product categories whose ENERGY STAR specification’s test procedure differs significantly from the one required in Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations.  These manufacturers may be required to pay for additional testing, in order to fulfill reporting obligations to both NRCan and the EPA.

Not changing: Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations stipulate that all prescribed energy-using products, imported or shipped inter-provincially for sale or lease in Canada, must bear an energy efficiency verification mark authorized by a certification body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.  (See MET’s energy efficiency verification mark here).  The dealer of the energy-using product must ensure that an energy efficiency report is filed with NRCan for models available for sale or lease in Canada.

At the time that the ENERGY STAR Initiative was introduced into Canada in 2001, NRCan chose to set its own efficiency levels and testing procedures for some products subject to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, in order to harmonize them with those required for the Regulations.  As such, ENERGY STAR qualification was automatically given to products which met the higher efficiency level required by the Canadian ENERGY STAR specification (harmonized with NRCan’s Regulations).  Manufacturers wishing to designate products as ENERGY STAR qualified simply filled out voluntary fields in their EERs, and if their product met the specified level set by a database filter, they were listed as such.

Since that time, the number of product categories eligible for ENERGY STAR recognition has doubled, the frequency of technical specification updates or revisions has doubled, and NRCan has found that the efficiency levels of ENERGY STAR specifications in Canada and the United States are identical, regardless of the units of measure or the test procedures specified.

Products for sale or lease in Canada that are not subject to Energy Efficiency Regulations have always followed the EPA’s certification process in order to achieve ENERGY STAR qualification: 

  • Manufacturers must submit their product for testing to an EPA-approved laboratory
  • Testing results must be validated by an EPA-approved Certification Body (CB)
  • The CB must seek ENERGY STAR designation on behalf of manufacturers whose products they have validated as meeting the EPA’s specifications for ENERGY STAR qualification
  • The product is recognized by the EPA and listed on their Web site

Moving forward, NRCan proposes that the above steps apply to all products which are currently eligible for ENERGY STAR designation in Canada, with the exception of fenestration products and HRVs.  This means that EPA-recognized Certification Bodies must submit data to the EPA on behalf of their clients, for all products that manufacturers wish to be recognized as ENERGY STAR qualified.  It also means that in order to do so, the data must come from an EPA-certified lab.

Comments and questions should be sent to NRCan’s ENERGY STAR Chief Dianna Miller at Dianna.Miller@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.  Include “ENERGY STAR Canada proposed changes” in your subject line.

MET Labs is an EPA-approved lab and certification bodyGet a quote now.

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Luminaires Manufacturers Get New ENERGY STAR Certification Resources

by admin on Jan.08, 2013, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has posted new materials that aid in the testing and certification of lighting products for ENERGY STAR:

Certifying Luminaires – Utilizing the Certified Subcomponent Database (CSD)
This document helps luminaire manufacturers select components for ENERGY STAR fixtures. Items listed on the CSD have already been tested for photometric, life and/or electrical performance at EPA-recognized laboratories.  Using the CSD can help reduce testing costs and time associated with the ENERGY STAR certification process for luminaires.

Certifying Luminaires – LED Light Engines and GU24 Base Lamps
This document helps explain the nuances and benefits of these two light sources and how to get these products listed on the CSD.  Using these products in lieu of built-in LED systems can help reduce engineering and testing costs, and time to market. EPA’s latest ENERGY STAR specification for Luminaires provides a straightforward pathway for qualifying fixtures with these products.

Certifying Luminaires – Maximizing Testing Investment
This document explains how testing costs can be minimized by utilizing allowable variations to group product together into a family. As an EPA-recognized certification body (CB), MET Laboratories can help determine the appropriate groupings. 

Time to Certification
This document visually shows the process to qualify a luminaire and also provides estimates for lifetime testing.

More resources can be found on EPA’s ENERGY STAR lighting webpage and on its Frequently Asked Questions page

For questions regarding testing and certification, contact MET Labs.

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FCC Outlines Testing of Consumer Wireless Charging Devices at TCB Council Workshop

by admin on Oct.23, 2012, under EMC, SAR, Wireless

At the recent Telecommunication Certification Body Council Workshop  in Baltimore, Kwok Chan and Mark Neumann of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Engineering and Technology outlined testing and certification requirements for Consumer Wireless Charging Devices. 

Wireless Charging Device

Wireless charging devices are generally used to charge batteries in portable electronic devices via magnetic induction.  Chargers can deliver up to 5W of power, enough to charge most wireless handsets, and work at distances up to 10mm.

These products have been around since the 1990s, but only have become practical in recent years, so FCC thought it was worthwhile to cover how these devices fall into the existing regulatory compliance framework.  Following are main points from the presentation.

Authorization
Chargers and clients are generally approved separately; however, they should satisfy compliance in both standalone mode and as a system.

Wireless charging devices can be approved under Part 15 or Part 18 or both rule parts. 

Part 15 authorization required if:

  • Primary charging frequency includes information not related to power management
  • A secondary frequency is used for communications

Part 18 authorization for the charger and clients:

  • Load and power management must be integral to wireless charging operation and frequency
  • May not communicate any information not related to power management and control
  • Proximity of the charger and client device(s) must satisfy Part 18 requirement that the RF energy is locally generated and used
  • Other communications are authorized separately under Part 15

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) considerations:

  • Charger must be evaluated with appropriate client(s) in place
  • The worst case transmitting conditions for the system as a whole must be evaluated for each applicable configuration: Bluetooth, WWan, WLan, etc.

Radio Frequency Exposure
Single client low power devices generally do not present exposure concerns for nearby users, but multi-client devices or short-distance power transfer can result in widely varied fields and potential exposure concerns.

For most small consumer chargers, exposure conditions identified in §2.1091(d)(4) may apply.

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) and Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits do not cover wireless chargers operating below 100 kHz and 300 kHz, respectively.

Conclusion
The presentation concluded with two points:

  • A KDB Inquiry should be submitted for guidance for wireless charger applications
  • Wireless Chargers remain on the Permit But Ask (PBA) list

Contact us for safetyEMCSAR & FCC testing of wireless charging devices or other electrical/electronic equipment.

Sign up for a Wireless Testing & Certification Seminar in Austin, Texas in December.

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ENERGY STAR Certification to Combine CFLs and LEDs into Lamp Specification

by admin on Aug.29, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

As mentioned previously, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is combining the scope of the Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Integral LED Lamps specifications into one technology-neutral Lamps specification.

EPA held a webinar on August 8, 2012 to describe some of the requirements of this Lamps Draft 2 specification.     Following is a summary of some of the new electrical performance requirements. Please note that the following details are not finalized, but are provided for informative purposes to showcase draft details.

SIDE NOTE: EPA Program Manager for ENERGY STAR Eamon Monahan will be speaking at MET Labs’ Annual Global Product Compliance Seminar & Crab Feast in September.  He will be providing an update on the ENERGY STAR Program.  Register here. 

Start Time
Starting time is defined as the time between application of power to the device and the point where the light output reaches 98% of its initial plateau. 

Draft 2 of this specification adjusted the start time from 0.5 to 1 second. This was partially attributable to a conflict between decreasing the Start Time requirement while increasing the Rapid Cycle Stress Test requirement in Draft 1.

A start time test method was introduced in Annex D.

Run-Up Time
Run-Up time is defined as the time between the application of power to the device and the time when the light output first reaches a specified percentage of stable light output. This requirement is primarily based on the premise that the consumer expects quick response when using lamps.

Solid state products are now exempted from this requirement, while CFLs maintain the levels provided in Draft 1.   

A run-up time test method was introduced in Annex E.

Power Factor
Draft 1 had listed a power factor of 0.7 for all lamps >5W.  This has now changed as per lamp type.  Draft 2 power factors are now:

  • Residential CFLs ≥ 0.5
  • Commercial CFLs ≥ 0.9
  • Residential Solid State ≥ 0.7
  • Commercial Solid State ≥ 0.9

Dimming
For the dimming requirement of the specification, the EPA is currently waiting on additional stakeholder input in the areas of:

  • Dimming level
  • Flicker
  • Audible noise
  • Compatibility

Transient Protection
Draft 2 made two changes to this requirement:

  • There is now a new exemption for low voltage lamps
  • Lamp base orientation language was removed from testing guidance

Electromagnetic & Radio Frequency Interference
Since FCC compliance is already required by law, reference to FCC requirements was removed from the specification.

Lamp Toxics Reduction
IEC 62554 was added as the test procedure reference for documenting the mercury content found in the product.

Lamp Base and Shape
A requirement for Lamp Base Dimensions and Tolerances was deleted from Draft 1.  The requirement was considered redundant. Lamp base dimensions are already verified during electrical safety evaluation.

Lamp Shape Dimensional Requirements are now applicable to ANSI standard lamps only.

This new lighting specification and much more are sure to be discussed at the 2012 ENERGY STAR Products Partner Meeting for Lighting, Appliances, Water Heaters & Electronics being held from October 22–24, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find out how to get ENERGY STAR testing or certification body services or product safety certification for lighting.

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ENERGY STAR Merges Lighting Scopes into New Luminaires & Lamps Specifications

by admin on Apr.19, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

Although this year marks the 20th anniversary of the ENERGY STAR program, lighting was a bit late to the party.  It wasn’t until 15 years ago that residential light fixtures got their first ENERGY STAR specification, and 13 years ago that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) did.

ENERGY STAR lighting continues to evolve.  Following are some updates.

Luminaires
The Luminaires Version 1.1 specification became effective April 1, 2012.  It combines the scope of the Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Version 1.3 specification and the Residential Light Fixtures Version 4.2 specification.

Only those light fixture models that have been third-party certified as meeting the Luminaires V1.1 requirements now appear on the ENERGY STAR qualified product list. Fixtures qualified under the previous specifications will not be “grandfathered in” to this new specification.

There are nearly 500 qualified luminaires from more than 50 manufacturers, covering over 20 different product types.

Lamps
The new ENERGY STAR Lamps V1.0 specification is still being developed.  This new specification will merge the scope of the Compact Fluorescent Lamps V4.3 and Integral LED Lamps V1.4 specifications into one technology-neutral specification. 

For draft 1 of the Lamps specification, EPA received 175 pages of comments. These comments are being considered for draft 2, which is anticipated in the next several months.

Certification Bodies
Using the new third party certification (3PC) process, in 2011 Certification Bodies like MET Labs certified 191 CFLs, 357 LED lamps, 166 luminaires, and 1,462 light strings.  In 2012, the number of lighting products certified is expected to be even higher.

According to EPA research, CB processing time ranges from 24 hours to two weeks, depending on a certification body’s work load and the completeness of a product submission.

Once a CB certifies a product meets an ENERGY STAR specification, it sends the data to EPA to be uploaded to the qualified products lists (QPLs).  Lists are currently updated weekly for bulbs and twice a month for fixtures (around the first and the middle of the month). By the end of 2012, all product lists should be updated on a daily basis.

Upcoming Events
The next ENERGY STAR products partner meeting is October 22–24, 2012 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  This is for lighting, as well as appliance and electronics partners and other stakeholders.

EPA Program Manager for ENERGY STAR Eamon Monahan will be speaking at MET Labs’ Annual Global Product Compliance Seminar & Crab Feast  in September.

Find out how to get ENERGY STAR testing or certification body services.

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EPA Announces Final Criteria for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient

by admin on Jan.31, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the final 2012 recognition criteria for its ENERGY STAR “Most Efficient” designation, which recognizes products with exceptional efficiency performance.

In the second year of this pilot effort, eight product categories will be eligible for recognition:

  • Air-source heat pumps
  • Boilers
  • Central air conditioners
  • Clothes washers
  • Furnaces
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Refrigerator-freezers
  • Televisions

The Most Efficient designation may be used in retail displays or web pages, but not on products or product packaging. See the full usage guidelines.

The 2012 recognition criteria for ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient are summarized here.

In addition to meeting these performance requirements, products must be certified as ENERGY STAR by an EPA-recognized certification body, like MET Labs.  

Find out more about requirements, cost, and lead time for ENERGY STAR testing and certification.

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A2LA Technical Forum Includes ENERGY STAR CB & Test Lab Guidance

by admin on Apr.11, 2011, under ENERGY STAR

The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) 2011 Technical Forum and Annual Meeting was March 28 – April 4, 2011.  MET Laboratories was in attendance. 

Following is a summary of one element of the forum – the ENERGY STAR Program Meeting – as recorded by MET’s ENERGY STAR Program Manager Sam Tetteh.

  • A2LA will conduct ISO 17025 accreditation for Test Labs and ISO Guide 65 for Certification Bodies (CBs)
  • A2LA must operate in accordance with ISO 17011, and be an ILAC MRA Signatory
  • A2LA must provide to EPA, upon request, documentation relating to a laboratory’s accreditation status and assessments
  • A2LA must assess a laboratory’s evidence of impartiality:

- The laboratory staff must show evidence of participating in, and passing, ethics audits

- Laboratories must have a “whistleblower” policy/procedure/program which should instruct whistleblowers to contact the EPA as well as other pertinent parties

  • Assessment Documentation must be kept for a minimum of 5 years
  • Test Labs must maintain impartiality of testing staff from all inside and outside influences
  • Test Labs must participate in proficiency testing (PT) when pertinent and available and submit results to EPA (currently there is no known commercial PT available)
  • Test Labs must report within 30 days to EPA and Accrediting Body of any major changes to staff (essential or key personnel), facilities, procedures, or legal status
  • CBs must maintain test reports for certified products for 5 years, or for duration of certification, whichever is longer

The Meeting’s minutes will posted in a couple weeks on the A2LA website.

More about ENERGY STAR testing and certification.

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