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International Standards: IEC and ISO
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North American Standard: UL, FDA, ANSI, FCC, and CSA

United States

Map of America

UL Standards

UL is an abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories Inc. which is a not-profit testing organization established by Fire Underwriter's Association in 1894. UL has now become the most famous NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) in the U.S. and conducts certification testing of every electrical appliance. Although adopting the UL certification system is basically on a voluntary basis, many U.S.-made electrical appliances have obtained the certification.
The UL certification can be largely divided into two levels: Listing certification and Recognition certification. UL Listing generally means a certification for a final product. UL Recognition means a certification for a part or a component built into a product.
Based on the MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement), cross-certification has been granted between the U.S. and Canada. When a product is certified by UL using the Canadian standards (CSA Standards), the product will have the following C-UL certification mark expressing the conformity to the CSA Standards.
CSA/UL marks
After a product has acquired the UL certification, an in-plant inspection for the product is carried out at a volume-production plant four times a year. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the plant always manufactures products conforming to the UL standards. If an inspector finds a non-conforming product, the shipment with the UL mark may be banned.

The CCN (Category Control Number) is a code attached to the product to express the category of a UL-certified product. The CCN basically consists of four alphabetic characters and one number. It can be described as follows using KEYENCE's PLC (base CCN code is NRAQ) as an example:


CCN
Certification type Applied standard Description
NRAQ Listing
UL Standards
Listing certification granted in the U.S.
NRAQ2 Recognition UL Standards Recognition certification granted in the U.S.
NRAQ7 Listing CSA Standards Listing certification granted in Canada
NRAQ8 Recognition CSA Standards Recognition certification granted in Canada

The purpose of the UL Standards is to eliminate the danger of fire or electric shock caused by electrical appliances. Consequently, when an electrical appliance is connected to the power source with an output which is considered to cause no danger of fire or electric shock (Class 2 power source defined in the National Electrical Code in the U.S.), the UL certification for the appliance may not be necessarily required.
For details of the UL Standards, visit the following web site:
UL Homepage (in English): http://www.ul.com/
ULApex Homepage (in Japanese): http://www.ulapex.jp/

FDA (CDRH)

FDA (Food and Drug Administration), one of the U.S. government agencies, has various subordinate organizations. CDRH (Center for Devices and Radiological Health) is one of them and in charge of administration and supervision of the regulations concerning electrical appliances and medical equipment which generate radioactive rays. Laser products are the example of products controlled by CDRH.
21CFR Part 1040.10 stipulates concrete safety standards for laser products. Products which do not conform to these standards are banned not only from being sold in the U.S. but also from being imported to the U.S.
Therefore, the manufacturers of laser products are obliged to submit a report on the conformance with Part 1040.10 (Product Report) to CDRH before selling them in or importing them to the U.S.
For details of FDA (CDRH), visit the following web site:
FDA (CDRH) Homepage: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/index.html

ANSI Standards

ANSI (American National Standard Association) is a non-profit organization established in 1918 that administers and coordinates the standardization system in the U.S.
In principle, ANSI does not create standards by itself and stays in a position to approve the standards created by other specialized organizations or associated committees as the ANSI Standards. Many UL Standards have been adopted into the ANSI/UL Standards.
Below are examples of ANSI Standards:
ANSI Z 535: Standard for safety signs and warning labels
ANSI Z 136: Standard for safe use of laser
ANSI B 11.19: Standard for performance of safeguarding devices
ANSI/RIA R15.06: Standard for robot safety
For details of the ANSI Standards, visit the following web site:
ANSI Homepage: http://www.ansi.org/

FCC

FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is a federal government agency in the U.S. that administers communication, telegraph, and radio waves. It regulates interstate communication in the U.S. as well as international communication including radio, television, satellite, and wireless communications.
FCC rule 47CFR includes some well-known regulations for electrical appliances, such as Part 15 "Radio frequency devices", Part 18 "ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical) equipment", and Part 68 "Connection of terminal equipment to the telephone network".
Devices which intentionally emit radio waves (e.g. wireless LAN device) cannot be sold in the U.S. without FCC certification. A device which has obtained the FCC certification is granted FCC ID which is shown on the product.

For details about the FCC, visit the following web site:
FCC Homepage: http://www.fcc.gov/
FCC logo

Canada

CSA Standards

CSA (Canadian Standards Association) is a non-profit organization established in Canada in 1919 that administers and coordinates the standardization system in Canada. Based on the MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement), cross-certification has been granted between the U.S. and Canada.
Provincial laws in Canada stipulate that electrical appliances connected to a public power source (commercial power source) must conform to CSA Standards.
To show that a product conforms to CSA Standards, the manufacturer needs to obtain C-UL certification or CSA certification, or the seller needs to directly apply for certification to the officials of individual provinces.

For details of the CSA Standards, visit the following web site:
CSA Homepage: http://www.csa-international.org/


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