3 maja, 2018 | By Krystian Syryca
Why is UL Certification Important for Coffee Roasters?
Roasting can be a lot of fun, especially when you get to see the way people smile after taking a sip of their favorite brew. The whole process is creative and artistic, and, as any other roaster will tell you, we do it because we love it.
Like every business, however, roasting companies have to deal with legal requirements, maintenance, and all of those less-fun things that enable us to be responsible and successful business owners.
One major concern for any business is safety. Taking proper safety measures not only prevents possible litigation to your business, but most importantly, it keeps your staff and equipment out of harm’s way.
Here’s an easy way to know whether your tools and other equipment are the safest options: Check to see if they are UL certified. (Hint: they should be!)
What is UL anyway?
You might recognize the “UL” stamp on a few of your products, but what does it mean?
UL stands for “Underwriters Laboratories,” which is an organization that verifies the safety and quality of manufactured products. Simply put, UL-certified products have been thoroughly tested to meet rigorous safety standards.
UL is the leading nationally recognized testing authority in the United States (along with companies like the FCC and CSA). They list over 1,000 standards for categories ranging from wire size and current capacity to life safety and more.
While mostly related to electrical and fire safety, UL has also developed standards for things like environmental sustainability and food and water quality.
The process of certifying a product is simple. First, manufacturers submit their product for UL testing. Then, if the product passes, it gets stamped with an official UL mark.
Submission is not legally required, per se, but most manufacturers have incentive to go through the process anyway. The National Electric Code requires the use of UL-verified products when available, and the stamp itself is a distinctive mark of safety and quality. When consumers see a UL stamp, they know that the product is safe and effective and can be professionally installed. If they don’t you will have to go through a „field inspection” which can be very costly.
Listed, recognized, or classified?
Though you might recognize one UL logo or a single UL stamp, there isn’t just one “general” UL mark. A product’s “marked” status is actually split into three categories: listed, recognized, and classified.
If a product is UL listed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was tested by UL itself.
Instead, UL verifies that the manufacturer is able to make products which fulfill its standard safety requirements and minimize known risk to the user. The manufacturing company can test and apply the label themselves, though UL will follow-up with them regularly.
Products that are UL recognized are always components for larger products. In a roasting machine, these are things like the motors, valves, and circuit boards. And just like the UL listing service, manufacturers are authorized to test and stamp the products themselves.
UL classified products can actually receive a variety of marks. Classification service is used to evaluate one or more of the following:
- Specific risks such as fire or electric shock
- Performance under certain conditions like temperature and water exposure
- Regulatory codes
- Other standards, including international codes
- Miscellaneous conditions generally desired by UL
So, what’s the difference between UL and CE?
We’ve talked a lot here about UL because that’s what’s required and you will see in the United States. Similar testing companies exist in other countries around the globe.
In Europe, they have the CE certification. This means that they have also passed health, safety, and environmental regulations set by the European Union. Products with a CE mark can circulate freely among countries in the EU, and products covered by the “New Approach” requirements must have the mark.
If an item doesn’t have a UL stamp in the United States, there might be cause for concern. It’s possible that it wouldn’t pass a safety standards test even if it were submitted for verification. In any case, it can be difficult to know whether using that product will increase risk to your business or put people in danger.
When a UL product is available, it’s best to choose that one instead.
Lucky for you Diedrich is fully UL compliant in the United States and CE compliant in Europe and other countries.
With Diedrich you will not have any problems passing your local inspections.