Tag: certification

Wireless & Telecom Regulatory Compliance for Top 5 African Economies

by on Nov.23, 2015, under Wireless

This africa-flag-mappost is an overview of the wireless and telecom compliance requirements for the 5 largest population countries in Africa.  As with any electrical product compliance issue, regulations can change rapidly, so check in with MET’s Global Market Access Group for the latest requirements.

The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria accepts EU R&TTE Directive reports and CE Declarations of Conformity (DoCs) as proof of compliance.

  • Required: Local company representative, regulatory marking
  • Not required: Product test samples

Certificates have no expiration date, but they must be updated if the approved product is modified.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) website is available in English.  It lists what categories of telecom and wireless technologies are affected.

The 2nd most populous country in Africa, Ethiopia accepts FCC grants and test reports or EU R&TTE Directive reports and CE DoCs as proof of compliance.

  • Not required: Product test samples, local company representative, and regulatory marking

Certificates have no expiration date, but they must be updated if the approved product is modified.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) website is available in English.  It lists what categories of telecom and wireless technologies are affected.

The 3rd most populous country in Africa, Egypt has compliance requirements for EMC, health and safety, wireless, and telecom.  The National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) accepts EU R&TTE Directive reports as proof of compliance.

  • Required: Product test samples (telecom only)
  • Not required: Local company representative

Certificates have no expiration date, but they must be updated if the approved product’s critical components are modified.

The NTRA website is available in English.  It includes information on type approvals and categories of products covered.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
The 4th most populous country in Africa, DRC accepts FCC grants and test reports or EU R&TTE Directive reports as proof of compliance.

  • Required: Local company representative
  • Not required: Product test samples, regulatory marking

Certificates are valid for 10 years, assuming no change to the product.

The Congolese Post and Telecommunications Agency website is in French only and has limited information.

Note: The U.S. government places some restrictions on certain ‘dual-use’ (military and non-military application) technologies for export to DRC.

South Africa
The 5th most populous country in Africa, South Africa accepts FCC grants and test reports or EU R&TTE Directive reports and CE DoCs as proof of compliance.

  • Required: Local company representative, regulatory marking
  • Not required: Product test samples

Certificates have no expiration date, but they must be updated if the approved product is modified.

The Independent Commissions Authority of South Africa (ICASA) website is available in English.  It provides information on relevant regulations and certification programs.

Our dedicated Homologations Team and extensive network of international labs can help you get your products certified in over 65 countries.  Contact Us today for a free quotation or to ask a question.

To learn more about gaining approvals to sell your product around the world, register for a free webinar on Global Market Access.

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UL 508A 2nd Edition Now Required for Industrial Control Panels

by on Dec.18, 2014, under Product Safety

The requirements for Industrial Control Panels have been recently updated to the 2nd edition.  The second edition changes made to UL 508A will take effect this month.

Changes in the new edition are extensive.  They include:

  • Air conditioners installed in panels need to comply with UL 1995 and clause 26.3
  • When protectors (fuse, breaker, etc.) are in a DC circuit above 32 volts, they must be evaluated to appropriate product standard and have a rating equal to or greater than the operating circuit voltage
  • Type 4 or 4X enclosure/compartment that is ventilated must now also comply with clause 62.4
  • New requirements for control panels intended to control fountains
  • New requirements to address power factor correction circuits/capacitors that do not need to be specifically described
  • New requirements to address components provided that are configured as autotransformer- and resistor-type reduced-voltage motor controllers
  • New requirements for control panels intended to control irrigation equipment

MET Labs’ Industrial Control Panel Certification Program delivers a responsive cost-effective product safety certification for manufacturers who custom-build or mass-produce ICPs.

Contact us today for a quote to the 2nd edition of 508A, or for a ‘gap analysis’ of an already-certified panel.

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

by 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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Product Safety Certification to UL 913 for Hazardous Locations Can Be to 5th or 7th Edition

by on Jul.25, 2013, under Product Safety

Product safety certification to UL 913 Intrinsically Safe Apparatus and Associated Apparatus for Use in Class I, II, and III, Division 1, Hazardous (Classified) Locations is a unique situation. There are currently two active editions of the standard: 5th and 7th.  (The 6th Edition was withdrawn in April 2008 in the sense that the standards writing body did not think any further certifications should be issued to it.)

While both cover the fundamentals of intrinsic safety, there are significant difference between the two; the 7th edition is harmonized with the international requirements of the IEC 60079 series.  This results in a more stringent edition of the standard that employs enhanced requirements.  A few major enhancements in UL913 7th edition are as follows:

  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing on non-metallic enclosures
  • Options for reduced spacings (utilizing annex F)
  • More detailed guidance on the infallibility of traces
  • Incorporates impact and drop testing from 60079 Series
  • More detail-oriented battery testing, including: Guidance on the internal energy limiting componentry of the batteries during testing; Electrolyte leakage testing; and conditioning of battery sampling when rechargeable
  • Outdoor use products require at a minimum IP 54 testing

Manufacturers must comply with the 7th Edition of UL 913 by July 31, 2016, but are encouraged to transition earlier, especially if selling in international markets.

In addition to NRTL certification, MET offers certification under the ATEX Directive and the IECEx Scheme and for MSHAContact us for pricing and lead time.

Join us for our biggest event of the year: MET’s 2013 Annual Global Product Compliance Seminar & Crab Feast

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Early Consideration of EMC & Product Safety Compliance in Product Development Saves Time and Headaches

by on May.15, 2013, under EMC, Product Safety

When developing a new electrical product, early consideration of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and product safety compliance issues will pay major dividends later.

If compliance is not engineered in from the start, expect to endure this pain:

  • A major delay as the product is redesigned, jeopardizing time to market and product viability
  • Significant extra costs for rework and increased product cost
  • Team dissension and rock-bottom morale

What’s the best way to integrate compliance into a new product?  First, get buy in from senior management, then:

  • Buy and read the relevant safety and EMC standards and train your design engineers in the basics of compliance
  • Have your compliance engineers work side by side with the designers, providing deeper expertise when needed, and information about the latest changes to standards and regulations
  • Perform early design reviews and early testing on the first prototypes to lower the risk during final compliance testing

Don’t have a compliance engineering team?  We can help.  In addition to testing and certification, MET Labs offers compliance assistance, with controls in place to prevent a conflict of interest, as required by our accreditation agencies.

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Russia GOST R Replaced by Customs Union Technical Regulation

by on Apr.17, 2013, under Product Safety, Russia

On February 15, 2013 the national Russian certification system GOST R and national Russian technical regulation “On Safety of Machinery Equipment” (Russian government order N 753 of September 15, 2009) were withdrawn. 

Simultaneously, the new Customs Union Technical Regulation (CU TR) for most electrical products was enforced in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Earlier issued GOST R certificates will be valid until March 15, 2015.  After that, the new EAC mark must be used.

There are a number of changes in the CU TR for manufacturers of mass-produced products.  Here are a couple of the most significant:

  • The certification applicant must have a formal relationship (contract) with a Russian representative legal entity.  With GOST, this was not required.
  • Mandatory factory audits are performed by a Russian certification body.  With GOST, a test lab could do this.

Following is a list of new Customs Union Technical Regulations for electrical products (all in Russian):

Have questions about the change?  Ask Pat, our Compliance Expert, or Contact Us for an immediate need.

This Compliance Today blog post is supplied by MET Labs Russian partner Elmas Group.

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FAQs Regarding IEC 62368-1, the Replacement for IEC 60950-1 & IEC 60065

by on Feb.25, 2013, under Product Safety

What is IEC 62368-1?
It is the new safety standard for Information Technology Equipment and Audio/Video Equipment.  It is intended to replace IEC 60950-1 and IEC 60065.  It is a hazard-based, performance-oriented standard.

Is IEC 62368-1 a risk-based standard?
No! Unlike IEC 60601-1, 3rd Edition, risk analysis is not required.  Neither is it a simple merger of IEC 60065 and 60950-1.

Why are IEC 60950-1 & 60065 being replaced?
Technology is changing, and IEC 62368-1 is technology independent.  It also minimizes the need for national/regional differences.

Is IEC 62368-1, Edition No. 1 being adopted internationally?
The United States (ANSI-UL 62368-1), Canada (CSA C22.2 No 62368-1), Denmark, Netherlands, & South Africa adopted national versions.  Edition No. 1 was not supported by Europe (CENELEC), which wanted further refinement of requirements before adoption.  In Asia, multiple countries are doing a close study of it.  For the IECEE CB Scheme, IEC 62368-1 has been activated under OFF/TRON.  OFF & TRON account for over half of CB Scheme certifications.

What is the status of IEC 62368-1, Edition No. 2?
Edition No. 2 of IEC 62368-1 (108/495A/CDV) was distributed in December and has a closing date for voting by TC108 National Committee Participating members of March 1, 2013.  The U.S. TAG TC108 will reportedly submit an affirmative vote on the CDV.  The IEC target publication date is the second half of 2013.  Then, it is expected that Europe will adopt EN 62368-1, 2nd edition, with a likely 5 year effective date.  The target publication date of Edition No. 2 of CSA/UL 62368-1 is summer 2014, with a likely 5 year effective date.

When will IEC 60065 & 60950-1 be transitioned out?
It is expected the last versions of IEC 60065 (8th edition) and IEC 60950-1 (2nd edition,
Am. 2) will be published in 2013.  In Europe, the final versions of EN 60065 and EN 60950-1 are expected to be published in 2013 with a likely 3 year effective date. For the U.S. & Canada, final versions of CSA/UL 60065 & 60950-1 are expected to be published in 2014, with a likely 3 year effective date. For the EU & North America, new certifications of A/V, IT & CT Equipment are likely to be required to comply with an IEC 62368-1 based standard beginning around 2018.

Have additional questions about the change?  Ask Pat, our compliance expert.

Need testing for IT or A/V equipment?  Request a quote.

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Luminaires Manufacturers Get New ENERGY STAR Certification Resources

by 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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Top 35 Blogs for Electrical Product Manufacturers

by on Jan.02, 2013, under EMC, Product Safety

We received so much positive feedback on our blog posts for EMC Compliance Links and Product Safety Compliance Links, that we decided to dedicate a post to spotlight the top blogs for electrical product developers. 

With a few exceptions, these blogs are from independent sources, like industry associations, publishers or consultants. What are we missing? Leave a comment with a link to it.

Aerospace & Defense Blog  Military and aerospace electronics news and information.
ANSI  International standards and accreditation activities.
Buzzblog  Intelligence and insight for Network and IT Executives.
CertAssist Consulting  Product Safety information, especially regarding 60950-1 and 61010-1.
Circuit Advisor  Circuit design and troubleshooting.
Compliance Today  Electrical testing and certification news and information.
DfR Solutions Forum  Reliability design and testing.
Digital Dialogue  From the Consumer Electronics Association, sponsor of the Consumer Electronics Show. (Side note: You can meet with MET at CES next week)
EDN Network  59(!) blogs for the electronics community on various topics.
EE Life Blog  Electrical engineering topics from EE Times.
EleBlog  Frequently updated blog on the electrical industry.
Electronics Weekly Blogs  15 blogs, including Certification & Test and Directive Decoder.
EMC Zone  Issues affecting engineers working in the EMC industry.
Emergo Group  Global medical device regulatory updates.
EPN Automotive Electronics Blog  Automotive electronics issues from a European perspective.
EPN Industrial Automation Blog  Industrial automation and controls topics from a European perspective.
EPN Renewable Energy Blog  Info on electronic components and technologies related to solar power, wind power, and other renewable energy sources from a European perspective.
EPN RF & Wireless Blog  Updates on RF/microwave and wireless technology, systems, standards and events from a European perspective.
IEEE Spectrum  5 blogs on nanotech, robots, risk analysis, general tech, and energy.
IEEE Standards Insight  Promotes technology standards and their development.
Instruments for Industry  Information to help RF EMI and EMC test engineers, from an amplifier manufacturer.
Medical Electronics Design  A resource for medical electronics OEMs.
Microwave Journal  A handful of blogs concentrating on microwave and RF technology.
NEMA Currents  Information on electrical grid, safety, energy efficiency, smart grid, and regulation.
Nick’s Fire, Electrical Safety & Security Blog  Common sense security, fire & electrical safety.
OnSafety  Official blog of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Pradeep’s Point  A resource for semiconductors, solar PV, telecom, electronics, infocom, components, nanotech, and IT.
Product Safety Blog   Product safety legal issues from Miles & Stockbridge.
Regulatory News Blog  Telecom regulatory news.
Reliability Blog  Electronics reliability engineering.
RFID Journal Blog  RFID industry news and information.
Smart Grid Sherpa  Information on smart grid technologies, from DNV KEMA.
Test and Certification Blog  Product test and certification from an EU perspective.
Test & Measurement World  14 blogs, including The EMC Blog and Eye on Standards.
WeMakeItSafer  Product safety regulations and recall information.

What are your favorite electrical product development blogs?  Please leave a comment with a link to it.

Need testing?  Contact Us.

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ENERGY STAR Partner Meeting Discusses New Requirements for Lighting & Consumer Electronics

by on Nov.12, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Partner Meeting was a couple weeks ago in St. Paul, MN and MET Labs was there.  Following is a summary of key meeting discussions.

New Requirement for Dimmable CFLs and LEDs
The meeting agenda began with a roundtable, which was focused on dimmers.  EPA has encouraged consumers to transition to CFLs and LED bulbs to save energy, but their performance with dimmers has sometimes been less than optimal.  Some dimmers are exhibiting flickering, noise and limited dimming.  As a result, consumers are getting frustrated and switching back to incandescent bulbs.

The EPA is establishing a working group to introduce some basic requirements for all ENERGY STAR-labeled dimmable lamps/bulbs.  It will include requirements for:

  • Flickering
  • Dimmer level
  • Noise level

The test method is based on recommendations from NEMA and LRC (Lighting Research Center). The EPA is also considering a proposal to have building codes include dimmers for both CFLs and LED bulbs.

Lighting Certification Update
There are also updates on some new standards being developed for lighting certification, which are as follows:

  • LM-84: To measure lumen and color maintenance of LED lamps, light engines and luminaires
  • LM-85: To measure electric and photometric measurements for high power LEDs
  • TM-26: To project rated life for LED packages
  • TM-28: To project long term lumen maintenance of LED lights based on LM-84 data

Consumer Electronics Expansion
For consumer electronics, EPA intends to expand the product category in 2013 to include:

  • Small Network Equipment
  • Climate Control
  • IP Phones
  • Game Consoles

Specification Revisions
In 2013, there will be standard revisions for:

  • Set-Top Boxes
  • Battery Charging Systems
  • Televisions

Touch and voice activation functionality will also be evaluated to implement as a function of energy for products with such features.

See other ENERGY STAR testing updates from MET Labs.

Utilize MET for Energy Efficiency testing and/or certification.

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