UL Solutions
FormerlyUnderwriters Laboratories, UL LLC
Company typePrivate
Founded1894; 130 years ago (1894)
FounderWilliam Henry Merrill
Headquarters,
U.S.
Area served
125 countries
Key people
Jennifer Scanlon (President and CEO)
RevenueUS$2.5 billion (2022)[1]
Number of employees
14,000+ (2020)[2]
ParentUnderwriters Laboratories Inc. (non-profit)[3]
SubsidiariesFuturemark
Websitewww.ul.com Edit this at Wikidata

The UL enterprise[4] is a global safety science company headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, composed of three organizations, UL Research Institutes, UL Standards & Engagement and UL Solutions.

Established in 1894, the UL enterprise was founded as the Underwriters' Electrical Bureau (a bureau of the National Board of Fire Underwriters),[5] and was known throughout the 20th century as Underwriters Laboratories. On January 1, 2012, Underwriters Laboratories became the parent company of a for-profit company in the U.S. named UL LLC, a limited liability company, which took over the product testing and certification business. On June 26, 2022, the companies rebranded into three distinct organizations that make up the UL enterprise.

The company is one of several companies approved to perform safety testing by the U.S. federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).[6] OSHA maintains a list of approved testing laboratories, which are known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.[7] According to Lifehacker, UL Solutions is the best known product safety and certification organization globally.[8]

History

UL headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. was founded in 1894 by William Henry Merrill. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in electrical engineering in 1889, Merrill went to work as an electrical inspector for the Boston Board of Fire Underwriters.[9] At the turn of the twentieth century, fire loss was on the rise in the United States, and the increasing use of electricity in homes and businesses posed a serious threat to property and human life.[10]

In order to determine and mitigate risk, Merrill proposed to open a laboratory where he would use scientific principles to test products for fire and electrical safety. The Boston Board of Fire Underwriters turned this idea down, perhaps due to Merrill's youth and relative inexperience at the time.

In May 1893, Merrill moved to Chicago to work for the Chicago Fire Underwriters' Association. His task was to inspect the city's fire alarm systems. He was also sent to the 1893 World's Fair to inspect the Fair's electrical installations and the Palace of Electricity. In order to determine and mitigate risk in his role as an electrical inspector, Merrill found it necessary to conduct tests on building materials and electrical components. Upon seeing a growing potential in this field, Merrill stayed in Chicago to found Underwriters Laboratories. He received initial funding from the Chicago Fire Underwriters' Association and the Western Insurance Union, a local insurance organization. With $350 of equipment, he opened a small laboratory on the third floor of a local fire insurance patrol station, signing UL's first test report on March 24, 1894.[11]

Merrill soon went to work on developing safety standards, conducting tests, and uncovering hazards. In the early years, UL tested three main types of products: devices meant to stop fire (such as fire extinguishers), devices meant to resist fire (such as fire doors), and devices that frequently caused fire (like wires used for electrical installations).[12] This work soon expanded, and throughout the twentieth century, UL certified many pivotal consumer technologies, such as vacuum cleaners, televisions, microwaves, personal computers, and more.[13]

UL published its first standard, "Tin Clad Fire Doors", in 1903. In 1906, UL established a Label Service for certain product categories that require more frequent inspections. Products that passed UL's testing and regular inspections were given a UL label, which eventually evolved into the UL Mark. From 1905 to 1979, UL Headquarters was located at 207-231 East Ohio Street in Chicago.[14] In 1979, the organization moved its headquarters to a 153-acre campus in Northbrook, Illinois, 25 miles north of its former downtown Chicago location.

UL Solutions has evolved from its roots in electrical and fire safety to address broader safety issues, such as hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, performance testing, safety and compliance education, and environmental sustainability.

On January 1, 2012, Underwriters Laboratories became the parent company of a for-profit company in the U.S named UL LLC, a limited liability corporation. The for-profit company took over the product testing and certification business.

Underwriters' Laboratories, 207-231 East Ohio Street, Chicago

In 2022, the company revised their go-to-market strategy to include three separate organizations - UL Solutions, UL Standards & Engagement, and UL Research Institutes.[15]

UL Standards

Melville, New York, location

Sustainability Standards

Standards for Electrical and Electronic Products

Life Safety Standards

Standards for Building Products

Standards for Industrial Control Equipment

Standards for Plastic Materials

Standards for Wire and Cable

UL Solutions of Canada

A certification logo for the Canadian division of UL Solutions

Photovoltaic

Recognized Component Mark

The Recognized Component Mark
The Recognized Component Mark
The Recognized Component Mark (left) on a printed circuit board

The Recognized Component Mark is a type of safety certification mark issued by UL Solutions. It is placed on components which are intended to be part of a UL certified end product, but which cannot bear the full UL Mark themselves.[20] The general public does not ordinarily come across it, as it is borne on components which make up finished products.

Computer benchmarking

UL offers[21] the following computer benchmarking products:[22]

Similar organizations

Applied Research Laboratories (ARL)
A competing testing laboratory, based in Florida, U.S.
Bureau Veritas
A competing test, inspection, and certification company.
Baseefa
A similar organization in the United Kingdom.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
A similar organization in Canada. Also serves as a competitive alternative for U.S. products.
CCOE
Chief Controller of Explosives
CEBEC
Testing laboratory, inspection, and certification company, based in Brussels, Belgium.
DNV GL
A global testing laboratory, inspection, certification, marine class, and engineering organisation, headquartered in Høvik, Norway.
Efectis
A similar organization in Europe, fire science expert, testing laboratory, and certification body.
ETL SEMKO
A competing testing laboratory, part of Intertek; based in London, U.K.
FM Approvals
A competing certification body, based in Rhode Island, U.S.
ICC-ES
International Code Council Evaluation Services.
IAPMO R&T
A competing certification body, based in Ontario, California, U.S.
INERIS
Testing laboratory, inspection, and certification company, based in France.
KFI
The Korea Fire Institute, a similar organization in Korea.
MET Laboratories, Inc.
A competing testing laboratory, based in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

California, U.S.

NTA Inc
A certification agency based in Nappanee, Indiana, U.S.

CA and Tulsa, OK); Seoul, South Korea; and Shanghai, China.

Sira
A similar organization for the UK/Europe.
GS
Geprüfte Sicherheit
TÜV
German and Austrian approvals organizations.

See also

References

  1. ^ Megaw, Nicholas (2023-10-26). "Safety testing group UL Solutions plans one of largest IPOs of the year". Financial Times.
  2. ^ "2020 Diversity and Inclusion Report". ul.com. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Entity change to UL LLC Letter" (PDF). Pbadupws.nrc.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  4. ^ Solutions, UL Research Institutes, UL Standards & Engagement and UL (27 June 2022). "UL Enterprise Launches New Brands". WFMZ.com. Retrieved 2022-08-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "History". UL. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  6. ^ "Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories – Underwriters Laboratories Inc". United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) – Current List". Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. ^ Yuko, Elizabeth (2022-06-11). "What 'UL Listed' Means on Electronics, and Why You Should Look for It". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  9. ^ Engineering Progress: The Revolution and Evolution of Working for a Safer World. UL. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  10. ^ Knowles, Scott (2011). “Chapter 1: The Devil’s Privilege.” The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 21-61.
  11. ^ Brearley, Harry Chase (1923). “Chapter 4: The Genesis of Underwriters’ Laboratories.” A Symbol of Safety: An Interpretive Study of a Notable Institution. Doubleday, pp. 17-23.
  12. ^ Rathom, John R. (1902-11-23). “Where Fire-Defying Inventions Are Tested.” The Sunday Record-Herald. Chicago.
  13. ^ “About UL: History.” UL. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  14. ^ “Underwriters' Laboratories, 207-231 East Ohio Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL.” Historic American Buildings Survey, Engineering Record, Landscapes Survey, Library of Congress. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  15. ^ "We are Three Organizations United by One Mission". UL Solutions. Retrieved 2022-07-26.
  16. ^ "UL 508 Standard Has Been Replaced and Superseded by the UL 60947-4-1 Standard". rockwellautomation.custhelp.com. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  17. ^ "Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About UL 508C to UL 61800-5-1 for Motor Drives". ul.com. UL Solutions. April 24, 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  18. ^ "Wire and Cable Explained" (PDF). UL. July 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  19. ^ "UL's Standards for Safety: Standards Catalog". ulstandardsinfonet.ul.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2002. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  20. ^ "Marks for North America". UL. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  21. ^ "Benchmarks and Performance Tests".
  22. ^ "UL Benchmarks - PCMark, 3DMark, and VRMark".