Underwriters Laboratory, more commonly known as UL, offers certifications for companies that wish to engage in the business of building electrical control panels. The UL standards for industrial control panels are referred to as UL 508A. Builders adhering to these standards are allowed to attach the UL label to the product.
Industrial control panels combine several individual electrical components to perform a control function for industrial equipment. It can be as simple as a switch or a complicated device that can control speed and functions of multiple machines. Control panels built at a shop or factory and then installed at the work site are referred to as enclosed panels. Electricians build open panels on the job site although the devices may still be enclosed.
The UL 508 standards apply to control panels of less than 600 volts used in normal working conditions. A separate standard, UL 347, applies to high voltage controls. Standards for control panels used in hazardous areas fall under several other standards depending on the situation.
Designers and builders of industrial control panels can apply to Underwriters Laboratories for certification. An example of your control panel construction work is included in the application. A member of the UL staff conducts an onsite review of the panel and its design features before certification. Once the inspections prove the panel meets all UL standards it may be UL listed and the UL sticker can be placed on the device.
UL staff workers conduct periodic audits to assure the panels continue to be built to UL 508 standards. The cost of all testing conducted by Underwriters Laboratory is charged to the control panel builder.
Underwriters Laboratory listing assures the purchaser that the device is built in a manner that will accomplish its intended task safely. The listing also certifies that all individual components within the panel meet those same standards individually. This listing is considered the industries best benchmark for safe operations of electrical device. This is particularly important in industrial situations where equipment failures can cause injuries to workers as well as plant down time.