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Basic Testing Program for Plastics

Our program provides third-party Recognition for your plastic materials using three identification tests: Infrared Spectroscopy (IR), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC).

A close-up picture of a machine testing plastic.

Overview

Plastics need to be tested to meet a specific set of regulatory safety and quality standards. Our testing program helps do just that by evaluating and analyzing your plastic materials with three distinct tests:  IR, TGA and DSC.

We can also perform small-scale flammability tests as well as a variety of ignition, mechanical, electrical and short-term thermal tests, which can be used for application in other UL Recognized Components and Listed end products.

In addition to the inherent safety aspects of using a Recognized plastic material, end-product users of the Recognized plastic are subject to a reduced test program of their product and similar advances apply to the use of UL Recognized switches, appliance wires, terminal blocks and others.

Benefits

Test completion

Following successful completion of identification, flame tests and short-term physical tests, a unique grade designation and the respective ratings/classifications for the product are published on the UL iQ™ for Plastics database.

Ongoing material assessment (Follow-Up Services)

We conduct quarterly follow-up visits to each manufacturing location. Representative production samples of the UL Recognized plastic are picked up annually and sent to one of our laboratories for comparison to the original IR, TGA and DSC reference graphs available on file. If the plastic material also has a UL 94, the Standard for Tests for Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances, vertical flame rating (e.g. V-0, V-2, V-1, or otherwise), samples are subjected to the same flammability tests.

Successful comparison to the archived reference IR, TGA and DSC is an indication that there is formulation continuity in the product(s). Successful correlation of the flame class between the samples selected during Follow-up Services (FUS) Inspection and the initial published rating are also required to maintain UL Recognition for the product. Should any of the above tests not comply, action is taken to withdraw the Recognition or downgrade the plastic. A downgrade includes a mandatory name change as an indication of a degraded characteristic variation.

The continued publication of a specific material — with a specific designation or name — enables the continued use of that plastic material in end-use products with assurance that the original characteristics are maintained.

Why UL

UL is a leading global provider for the production of test specimens, and testing and certification services for innovative plastics.

We have been testing plastics since 1941 and are proud to serve all of the world’s top plastics manufacturers. We work closely with plastic industry stakeholders to maintain and enhance existing UL Standards, establish new Standards, and develop certification and testing programs that address emerging technologies and product applications.

With expertise in safety science stretching back to 1894 and in-depth experience across numerous industries, UL is uniquely positioned to provide a comprehensive view of how products function within a given system. This is particularly critical in the plastics and components industry, as interactions between substances, parts, systems and the environment in which they are expected to function can be the cause of a significant number of hazards and failures which are rarely apparent when components are tested individually.

Our worldwide presence allows UL to provide local services with a global outlook and enables access to a network of experts in our customer’s target markets. We support our customers in their drive to protect public safety and brand value, mitigating their risk with quality assurance and supply chain compliance services. Our trustworthy reputation provides an important product differentiator in a crowded marketplace, helping you to communicate safety and quality to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), purchasers and regulatory authorities.

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