As a customer searching for custom cable assemblies and wire harness, you are probably going through websites of various manufacturers and services providers. When you look at their accreditations, you may find two terms in the list – UL Listed, and UL Recognized. Generally, customers assume that these terms are interchangeable. However, this is far from true. As we realized that some customers are not able to understand the differences, we decided to write this post explaining the two terms.
UL – A Brief Description
The term UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories, an organization that provides safety consulting and certification services. UL specifically provides certifications for industrial wire and cable manufacturers worldwide. The UL label is not a certification, but an approval. It means that the product in question has been tested by UL, and has been approved for application use.
Decoding UL Listed
This label is for cables that are used in what UL terms as a Division 2 environment. Division 2 refers to any closed area where ignitable substances are used, stored, or handled. Wire and cable under UL Listed are tested to National Safety Standards, and are proven safe against fires, electrical shocks, and other unanticipated hazards. A well-known example of a UL Listed product is the VW-1 cable.
Decoding UL Recognized
The UL Recognized label is provided to wire and cable, which have been tested by UL, and are considered safe for use in commercial and industrial products and systems. Testing for UL Recognized is performed on products that are incomplete, or are restricted in terms of their capabilities. For UL Recognized products, the safety organization also communicates to manufacturers that these products need to be supported with additional protective devices, such as trays, or housing. A well-known example of a UL Recognized product is Appliance Wiring Material (AWM).
As you can see, these labels are utilized for distinct wire and cable products. For this reason, when searching for a cable manufacturer, customers always need to enquire whether the products will be UL Listed or UL Recognized, after understanding their application requirements.