How To Get Your Product Listed, Labeled or Certified

We’ve shifted gears from talking about the standards and the standards organization to actually dealing with what it takes to get your product listed. We realized that telling you about the standards doesn’t help. What you need is information on how to get your product designed and certified. Today our CEO, Steve Barcik Amstel is sharing with you how to get your product listed, labeled or certified.

Link to video also available here:

With today’s video the first thing you want to figure out is what is the product? You probably already know that.  And then, who uses the product? So as an example, let’s say you want to build a charging station for electrical vehicles.

The hazards for this product are mainly electrical. There are probably some thermal hazards… might be some ergonomic hazards. We know those. That’s pretty easy to figure out for this.  Now, who uses the product? It will be the general public. So why that matters is when you’re building something for the general public, we have to be more careful in designing it to eliminate risks. 

If you’re designing something for industrial use or laboratory use or commercial use… the people using it are expected to be trained and access to that equipment by the general public is limited. You get where I’m going here. The general public product needs to be designed more robust…needs to be fail-safe…

So then, what standards do you need to use to get product certified? Well great question! We’re going to show you how to do that.

You need a scope of standards. And understand what standards are appropriate and purchase those standards. And get training on those standards.

Even better is to get training on the standards specifically for which you are designing. What I’m saying here is to get actual training on designing your product to the standard not generic training to the standard.  So before working with the electrical standard, get detailed information from the standard on how to connect the electrical vehicle charger to the power grid. We would talk specifically about that. Not about generic power supplies for these types of machines. You will be more successful once you get that training.

And then you can design your equipment to incorporate the requirements of that set of standards.

Let me show you how we would go about finding those standards. And please feel free to ask for support in this scoping process, you want to be sure you get the scope right.

So, the first step is to go to the UL standards homepage and then go through there and find all the electrical car charging standards. Also look in the electrical chargers. For example, you see here there’s going to be conduits, standards, and raceways and fittings and stuff like that. The standards you see on the screen are also going to roll in when you use these sub components in your product.

Also, there will be IEC standards. IEC is going to cover pretty much the rest of the world and particularly really, the European Union. The European Union adopts IEC standards and calls them EN or European Norm.

Now here’s the other way. This is the super-secret way, one that I find a few people know, and once you know how to do this, you’ll be happy you do.

 Once you figured out what you’re going to build as a product and have an idea as to which of the standards, I would suggest looking at a comparable product. Now these are copyrighted pages. I understand that. But it’s fair use when we use those for training purposes. So, what I would do is go out and look for another electric vehicle charging system and then you see they got UL listed down here.

Then you go over to the UL product directory… UL product IQ put in that company name and pull it up. This will give you a guide to which particular standards are used for this product.  That’s going to be a pretty good go-to.  This will tell you which standards and scope were used on a similar product. This will let you know if your scope is close to correct or needs to be adjusted.

So, at this point you have validated your scope of standards.

Next you want to contract expertise to ensure that your building the product and that you are moving the design in the correct direction towards those standards. You may have someone on your team, a product safety person that their main role in your company is managing product safety development, or you might not have someone on staff.  We manage this for many projects with this need across a lot of companies, from startups to Fortune 100. Often it’s best to either contract somebody or have somebody full-time on staff.

Congratulations, now you are ready to design your equipment to the standards.

Our process is called a conformity discovery process, and that ensures that your product design, prototypes, and first articles meet the listing, labeling and CE marking requirements as designed.

You can use a similar process in your company, like checklists, ongoing product design reviews, things like that. That will allow you to know for sure that your product is meeting the standards as you’re designing.  You really want to be sure that it will meet the standards as you move into prototyping and building first article. Or even better while you’re going along at each design milestone.

Additionally, you need to be sure that you’re getting the documentation in place. You need to have the right labels on the product and a correct and right nameplate. You will also have manuals and installation instructions and specification sheets to generate. And all of that is then rolled back into all of that when you’re done with the certification process. At the end of the process the certification, labels, markings and details as well, will need to be generated into labels and back into your documentation.

Your technical construction file can include all of your materials and BOMs and design details. You will get that built up and in your product as you go along.

Once you got a first article or prototype, or even at the subsystem state, you have a path forward for pretesting and evaluation.

So all that scoping we did before is now giving you a path to pre-test. For example the grounding on the vehicle charger… you want to be sure it’s grounded. You probably can have a plastic case. You want to make sure that plastic case will not overheat, melt, thermal deform, or catch fire.

You want to test all of your circuits, and evaluate your documentation package, all the labeling, make sure that everything is included with the product that needs to go through testing and evaluation.

You can do these pretests alongside doing your prototype in Alpha or preproduction. Prototype development pretesting evaluation is there to ensure that the design is met in the field.

So for example, let’s say you got a heat sink on the back of the product and you put some vents there to allow air cooling, and we want to be sure the vents are not too big, but there’s enough vents so that it doesn’t overheat… you get the idea.

Once all this is done, you’re happy with the pretesting and you’ve got Alpha product development completed and you have samples to take to the lab…At this point you know with certainty the product is ready for evaluation. You know it’s ready. You know when it’s taken to the lab that it will pass.

Then during this process we will have developed a PowerPoint or videos that explain how the product works in detail and the safety features of the equipment.

For example, in this case, that anything might overheat. Not only that, but if it does overheat what happens? How is it fail-safe? How do we prevent a fire? How do we prevent electrical shock? How do we prevent overcharging the batteries? All that detail… We want to explain to the evaluator.

We don’t want them to have to learn it from looking at our design, product, and documentation. We want to be able to present it to them quickly and easily. Also, we would like to present them with all the pretest data, pretest evaluation, documentation, reports in one large file folder.

Next set an hour or two to meet and to walk-through and talk-through the product and all of this material so that that evaluator knows that you are prepared for this evaluation.  So that they will know you thought about it and that you’re willing to give them the information that they need in order to evaluate and complete their evaluation. You may get a little back-and-forth questioning on the product at this point, but you should be close. And then it’s time to celebrate.

You will receive your listing and labeling, and it’s ready…it’s your time to celebrate.

So if you like the idea of this process and how to get your product to market more reliably and you need a proven and tested path to conformance, contact us please. If not us, please get someone else involved. It is going to make your life so much better. You’ll be able to hit those timelines and deliverables for your team with confidence and by spending a little bit of money up front, your results are going to be way better.

Please be sure to like and subscribe to get notifications of the next videos in this training. And if you have questions about getting your product to market please get into touch with us here at High Tech Design Safety.