UL-approved labels are an essential part of manufacturing many products because these labels are used to convey safety-related information to consumers and other end users. Each label might contain information on the product’s safety certification as well as warnings, hazard indicators, ratings, instructions, or graphics designed to help ensure safe use or operation of the product.
UL designation comes from Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a private, non-profit certification and consulting company that tests and approves products to ensure that they meet specific safety standards. Typically, UL approval involves electronic devices or components as well as fire safety products. But the company has become increasingly involved in testing and certifying for a wide range of issues including hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, performance testing, and environmental sustainability.
Products or components that are UL-approved can be labeled as such after being submitted to UL, going through its testing and evaluation, and receiving official UL certification. Importantly, many customers and companies will not purchase goods that don’t meet UL safety standards and certification because insurance companies typically won’t insure non-UL-approved devices. Additionally, local laws prevent many businesses from using non-UL approved electronics.
Once you have UL certification and are approved to apply the UL mark to a product or component, you then need to submit a design of your UL certification label to a UL label center to verify that all required information is in an acceptable format.
However, a UL-approved label isn’t just a matter of product certification and communicating required safety information. The label itself must meet the UL 969 standard for permanence and durability. This standard tests and certifies that the label remains adhered and readable, even in conditions such as outdoor exposure, sunlight, extreme heat, high humidity, the presence of water or oils, and other factors.
To be certified and UL-approved, labels are tested and reviewed for numerous environmental, exposure, and durability factors that can impact how well the label withstands the conditions of use in the marketplace. Since factors such as sunlight, heat, humidity and oil or water can potentially cause labels to fade, become unreadable, or even fall off a product or component, specialized label materials and printing ribbons are required for UL approval.
Ultimately, UL tests and reviews labels for a number of factors, including:
- The materials used in the manufacturing of the label
- The label’s endurance through natural wear and tear
- The label’s resistance to conditions such as heat, humidity and oils
- The measurable area of the label where printing can occur
- The appearance, legibility and prominence of the printing.
Fortunately, product manufacturers can easily meet these standards and ensure UL label compliance by working with UL-approved labels and printing supplies from a UL-certified manufacturer. UL-authorized label manufacturers use the right materials and supply the proper printing ribbons to meet Underwriters Laboratories’ stringent standards for long-term label legibility, adhesion, and performance.
One of the world’s top UL-approved label suppliers is Zebra, a global leader in barcoding and labeling since 1969. Zebra manufacturers UL-approved thermal transfer labels that withstand environmental stresses better than any other products on the market.
For example, Zebra’s Z-Ultimate 3000T labels are pearl white, gloss polyester thermal transfer labels with permanent acrylic adhesives, and when paired with compatible Zebra resin printer ribbons, they offer UL-certified extreme resistance to chemicals, UV exposure, smears, scratches, and conditions as extreme as water immersion, contact abrasion, and more.
Zebra’s Z-Ultimate labels are also designed to withstand indoor and outdoor conditions and temperatures such as extreme cold or heat, high humidity and moisture. Print quality and durability are outstanding, and there are no fading, damage, or readability issues from outdoor exposure.
The key to this performance is Zebra’s stiffer, polyester label material with gloss finish, plus a resin printing ribbon, which ensures that thermal-transferred information and graphics remain readable for many years. The stiffer polyester of the Z-Ultimate 3000T is a great choice for labeling flat surfaces, but if you need to label round surfaces, a variant with a matte finish would be ideal since it will help the label adhere better over surface curvature.
Ultimately, the right UL-approved label will depend on your application requirements as well as the conditions and how your product or component will be used by the end user out in the marketplace. However, there are two great ways to quickly and easily narrow down your choices.
- Contact TSBS for the Zebra certified labels and supplies selector guide and check out the page on Zebra’s UL-recognized labels and corresponding ribbons. This will give you a quick rundown of each product, its core label material, compatible ribbons, and its specific UL recognition.
- Contact our UL labeling experts at Tri-State Business Systems for personalized recommendations and guidance. We’ve been helping manufacturers specify and choose the right labels for decades, and our partnership with Zebra allows us to bring you its best label and supplies products at the best prices and with outstanding support.
Contact us now www.tri-statebussys.com , or call us at 908-359-8001