CSA International, a provider of product testing and certification services, announced that selected manufacturing sectors will benefit from a new Agreement on Acceptance of Components between CSA and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc (UL) to establish a collaborative process leading to acceptance of specified components.
The agreement marks the first time UL has agreed to accept CSA-certified electrical components when performing end-product evaluations. The two agencies also signed another agreement regarding dual product certification.
Grant Carter, CSA’s vice president of Marketing and Communications called the accord "a very important win for producers of components and end products covered under the agreement."
Rob Griffin, president and CEO of CSA, and Loring Knoblauch, president and CEO of UL, signed an Agreement on Acceptance of Components and expanded the organizations’ 1996 data exchange Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 10 during NEMA’s Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S. The agreements were negotiated with the support of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) and major electrical customers.
The Agreement on Acceptance of Components marks a change in UL’s policy toward acceptance of CSA certified electrical components used in Low Voltage Distribution and Control Equipment. CSA’s general practice since 1994 has been to accept UL-listed/recognized electrical components. This CSA practice remains unchanged for electrical products covered by the Agreement on Acceptance of Components, as well as for others not covered by the agreement.
The expanded MoU will enable manufacturers of electrical end products to obtain both CSA and UL certification/listing on the basis of a single product test program carried out by one of the two organizations. The implementation of the MoU will be in support of expressed industry needs and will be delivered following the completion of required validation activities by both organizations.
Mr. Carter said, "The Agreement on Acceptance of Components is significant for manufacturers of components used in Low Voltage Distribution and Control Equipment as well as producers of those end-products because it will eliminate component retesting and reduce the time to market for new products." He added that, "The agreement is also a breakthrough for all electrical manufacturers who desire broader component acceptance agreements in the future."
Mr. Carter also expressed CSA's appreciation for" the efforts of NEMA and EFC as well as manufacturers who made their voices heard to help bring about this agreement." He also commended UL for its cooperation.
Electrical manufacturers whose products are covered by the agreement will benefit because UL will no longer retest specified CSA-certified electrical components used in Low Voltage Distribution and Control Equipment. Previously, UL had required retesting and recertification of CSA-certified components, leading to delays in certification and increasing component manufacturers’ testing and certification expenses. The agreement does not apply to components used in other types of electrical products.
"The agreement is strategically important and a step in the right direction as selected electrical manufacturers now have a choice. However, I want to emphasize that our work is not yet complete," said Mr. Carter. "The agreement covers specific components and many electrical components are used in product classes not covered under the new agreement. As we have communicated over the past 24 months, CSA believes electrical manufacturers should have the freedom to choose among qualified certification organizations based upon criteria important to manufacturers and not based on arbitrary barriers put in place by certification organizations. CSA will continue its leadership on this issue to gain acceptance by UL of all CSA certified components. Only with that acceptance will all manufacturers be relieved of redundant testing costs and gain faster access to the marketplace."
CSA said it has been actively working on behalf of electrical component manufacturers and customers for the past 2 years to resolve these issues. The North American Electrical Component Forum, which was held in December 2002, was organized and hosted by CSA International. Attendees from more than 50 electrical manufacturers, certification and testing agencies, and industry associations were present at the forum.
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