Interstates is expanding its capabilities by adding another UL Listed Certified panel shop to its repertoire. For 25 years, Interstates has been providing UL-508A listed panels from its Sioux Center, IA, panel shop, and now, after rigorous training and inspections, the Fort Collins, CO Regional Office is also able to provide these sought-after panels.
What Are UL Listed Certified Panels?
A UL-508A panel is an industrial control panel built using standards set forth by Northbrook, IL-based Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety certification company. Kevin Snyder, Project Manager at Interstates, says, “UL-508A is a safety standard that covers industrial control and related devices rated 600 volts or less used for starting, stopping, regulating, controlling, or protecting electric motors.”
Using a third party to oversee the building of panels ensures that Interstates meets rigorous safety standards. According to Jeff White, Director of Manufacturing at Interstates, “The UL-508A Listing mark on our control panels provides evidence of third-party certification to the municipal inspection authority and the purchaser of the panel, and also shows that our panels comply with an acceptable safety standard. Many of our customers require the UL-508A marking on their panels.”
How Did Interstates Become Certified?
The certified panel shop in Sioux Center has been fabricating these panels for decades. Still, Interstates wanted to increase its capacity and be able to serve clients near its Colorado location as well. Achieving certification required time, training, and diligent work. “UL has a program that covers the proper component usage, enclosure environmental ratings, wiring and motor protection, safety markings, and conformance to the NEC,” says Snyder. The steps of the program include:
- Registering your local facility with the program
- Having a qualified employee trained by UL to understand standards
- Following the UL-508A code set once certified
- Passing an Initial Product Inspection (IPI) conducted by a UL inspector
- Undergoing random, quarterly inspections for as long as you are certified
“The first IPI at our Rocky Mountain panel shop was a unique experience because it happened right when the COVID-19 pandemic began,” says Snyder. “The UL inspectors were not allowed to do site visits, so we had to do the inspection remotely through virtual meetings, emails, pictures and documents. Our first quarterly inspection also had to be conducted remotely. It all went surprisingly smoothly, and it helped that we had so much experience with UL through our other certified panel shop,” he says.
Check out part 2 of the series to learn about the benefits of a UL-listed panel shop.