Let’s imagine you’ve created a new electronic good! This product is amazing, and you would love to show it to the world. But what if the battery catches on fire? That would mean a lot of faulty products and unhappy customers. Worst of all, you will get a bad reputation and potentially even lawsuits.

This is why products need to be tested for reliability before coming to market. For electronic goods, the best way to do it is to get a UL 9540 certification. UL will test your product and make sure that it’s reliable enough to meet industry safety standards and standards for UL 9540 energy storage.

 In this blog post, we’ll cover:

  • What is the difference between UL Listed and UL Recognized
  • The Difference between UL 9540 and 9540A
  • Requirements for UL 9540
  • How to get UL certified
  • Things to know after getting approved

 If this is interesting to you, then keep on reading.

What Is The Difference Between UL Listed and UL Recognized?

At first, it can be a little difficult to differentiate UL Listed for UL Recognized. Fortunately, with some explanation, it’s easy to distinguish them.

The Definitions

UL Recognition is more production-focused. That means it’s more focused on the machinery and parts of your product. With it, UL has ensured that your equipment is properly housed but might need some additional installation precautions.

UL Listed, on the other hand, is for a stand-alone product. That means that the whole product has been tested, and not just its components. 

So, in other words, UL Recognition checks the components of a product for industry standards, while UL Listed checks the whole product.

Which One to Get?

That depends on your needs. You could get a UL Recognized certification to make sure your products are in the industry standard. Plus, it’s easier to get it as there are fewer tests involved. Taking the time and effort to obtain a UL certification will ensure the safety of your product.

UL Listed Requirements

When your product is UL Listed, it has gone through a lot of requirements. Most of them are based on UL’s published Standards for safety. But in some cases, they have also evaluated your product with additional requirements. These can be: 

  • Functional safety
  • Energy efficiency
  • Use in security
  • Use in gas-fired equipment and marine environments

Also, environmental and safety codes are a little different for each state. Make sure you check with UL on this so that you can remain in compliance.

And lastly, you should make sure that you address UL’s marketing. Usually, an appropriate version of the UL listed mark is enough, as long as the product displays the complete UL mark.

For more information about compliance with additional requirements, click here.

UL 9540 vs. UL 9540a - What’s the difference?

Definition of UL 9540

UL 9540 is a safety standard for an energy storage system (ESS) and equipment intended for connection to a local utility grid or standalone application. It designates key issues associated with ESS. These include: 

  • Safety of the battery system
  • Functional safety
  • Fire detection & suppression
  • Containment
  • Environmental performance
  • And more

Definition of UL 9540A

UL 9540A, on the other hand, is a test method for evaluating thermal runaway propagation for battery energy storage systems. This will not give you the certificate! Instead, it will provide data for manufacturers to see if their product meets the regulations. 

This is very useful for engineers and developers to verify the effectiveness of the product’s protection against key issues like fire. 

The Test Hierarchy of UL9540A

There are 4 stages in the UL9540A test method:

#1 - Cell Level Test

At this level, UL looks at whether a cell can exhibit thermal runaway. It also checks its characteristics and flammability.

#2 - Module Level Test

In this stage, the main goal is to determine if thermal runaway propagates with the module. They will also find out the heat release and gas composition.

#3 - Unit Level Test

Now they will look at the whole unit and see the following. Firstly, they find out how quickly fire spreads. Then they will look for its heat and gas release rates and other hazards.

#4 - Installation Level Test

Lastly, they do an installation test. This is an optional test, but its goal is to determine how effective the product’s fire protection is.

Requirements for UL 9540

Before you go and get yourself a UL certification, you need to make sure that your product meets the requirements! 

For UL 9540, your device shouldn’t exceed the maximum energy capacity: 

  • For outdoor wall mounted electrochemical ESS, not over 20kWh (72 MJ)
  • For residential use, electrochemical ESS, not over 20kWh (72 MJ)
  • For non-residential use, electrochemical ESS, not over 50kWh (180 MJ) 

You should also check that product’s polymeric materials comply with requirements outlined in UL 746C. The only exceptions are electronic systems intended for outdoor installation and electrochemical ESSes. These need to employ an enclosure of non-combustible materials. 

Lastly, you should also have some cash in hand. It usually costs between $5,000 to $15,000 to get your product certified. 

For additional information about requirements, you can get a brochure here.

How To Get Your UL Certification? 

So how do you get your product UL certified? Fortunately, the process isn’t difficult, as there are only 4 steps!

Step #1 - Contact UL

First, go to UL’s website! Then you’ll have to navigate to the “Contact Us” page. In there, you’ll find all the relevant information and forms needed to submit your product sample for UL testing.

Step #2 - Send your product sample to UL

Now it’s time for you to send your product sample! Your organization must pay the shipping and handling fees. Also, you’re responsible for any damages, so be sure that the package will be delivered safely. 

Step #3 - Wait for UL to make your tests

Once UL has received your prototype, they will start taking tests and ensuring that your product fulfills OSHA and ANSI standards.  

Once the tests have been completed, they will decide if the product is compliant with the requirements and standards. Then UL charges a fee for the administration of the tests.

Step #4 -  Get your certificate

Once UL has verified that your product is safe and fulfills OSHA and ANSI standards, they will issue you a certificate. Then you can add the UL logo to all manufactured products. 

This whole process usually takes around 6 months, but it could also take multiple years. It all depends on how complicated your product is and if the prototype is technically compliant with all applicable UL standards.

After Getting Certified

So your product got UL certified? Great, but there are a few things you should know about your certification.

#1 - Be Prepared for Inspections

After getting your UL certification, you’ll be required to let them inspect your product regularly. This is to ensure that your product maintains UL’s standards. When UL spots that your product is non-compliant, you will be given a variation notice, and you’ll have to resolve any issues as fast as possible.

#2 - Redesigning Is More Difficult Now

Now it’s harder to do redesigns. When you’re modifying a certified product, you’ll have to pick from two options. Either choose a material approved by UL or send your revised product for another patch of tests.

Final Words And How We Can Help

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into getting a UL certification. It’s going to take a long time, but in the end, it’s going to be worth it. You’ll not only get confirmation that your product is safe and reliable, but also your clients will trust you more because of the UL logo.  

But if your product isn’t perfect before submitting, it can take you way longer than you anticipated. This will not only delay your product launch but also increase your costs. And in the worst-case scenario, you’ll ditch the whole project, and all the effort and money you put in goes to waste. 

That’s where we come in! With thermally conductive adhesive, we can help you simplify the assembly and cut costs while enhancing your product’s performance and minimizing reliability concerns. 

Our engineers will guide you to the right materials and help you design a component that can be easily integrated into the assembly process. 

If this is something you’d be interested in, find more information out by clicking here.

Scott Chambers

Written by Scott Chambers

As the VP of Marketing for Strouse, Scott oversees the content creation team and drives demand to the sales team. Scott graduated from Coastal Carolina with a degree in Business Management. He then attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, earned his JD, and passed the bar in 2016. In addition to marketing and business development, Scott serves as Strouse's In House Counsel. Scott is currently earning an MBA from Indiana University.

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