Some engineer colleagues of mine say that UL is a racket. They have toured some of their facilities, and found their practices and testing areas to be very unprofessional and ineffective. Once a company set out to protect consumers, now is just a company to absorb as much money as they can.
After hearing the stories, I have to pause and question any UL standard.
Well, I won't go so far as to say that they are a racket, but....... they are not a non-profit organization. They have a bad reputation because of their poor customer service, yet if you pay them extra money for expedited testing you can still get the testing you need completed on schedule.
Now a day's LED lighting solutions are so common in residence / business/office. But the major problems are associated with attaching electronic regulator circuits, which can cause damage to the LED. Due to this poor regulator circuits, LED lights may get faded over months and finally totally dimmed with no output.
What would be the life of an LED Lamp? Eventhough it have a long life, the associated circuit for voltage/current regulation is important. The age/durability of the light depends up on the capability of these associated circuits.
I have had dealings with UL going back to the mid 80's. At that time they were the only game in town for most standards. Customer service was poor and costs very high. The worst was receiving a report that a device under test had failed. Getting to the bottom of the problem identified a junior engineer un-trained in the require testing methodology and under-supervised by experienced mentors.
UL has made significant strides since those days. They are more response in some ways and more cost competitive in other areas. However, they continue to find subtle ways to overcharge in unnecessary services. Case in point is frequent plant inspections when there is no production and changes to the UL file for minor or trivial modifications which then cost far beyond the effort and time expended. I suggest you always get at least two additional test labs to quote on your requirements and then carefully evaluate the 'hidden cost' components before you sign any contracts. It is the total and ongoing maintenance cost which you need to evaluate - not just the initial test program.
TomBee, I agree with you and have had similar experiences with UL over the years. I think competition from the other testing labs has contributed to their improved responsiveness. However, you are right, they are not afraid to charge their standard fees if they have the opportunity.
Yet it remains a standard that many companies require - which we see all the time. I think you are right on target with your post, Cabe. We should never become complacent and trust something just because its been around a long time. If enough folks "paused," maybe they would step up and meet the rigor they were known for in the past as a testing benchmark for consumer safety...
I agree that UL may not be what we believe it to be or perhaps expect it to be. We want to believe it protects us the consumer. But I also wonder how effective they are able to do that with technology growing as fast as it does.
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