UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has opened its new hazardous locations (HazLoc) laboratory, which aims to accelerate manufacturing and supply chain safety, at its global headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, US.

The automated facility, which UL claims is the largest of its kind in North America, will increase capacity for explosion and fire hazard testing and certification to address the growing demand in the oil and gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and other industries.

Hazardous locations have a higher risk of explosion or fire hazards due to the presence of flammable gases, flammable or combustible liquid-produced vapours, combustible dusts, and ignitable fibres or flyings.

UL works with manufacturers to test and certify equipment used in hazardous locations to advance safe working and production conditions.

In addition, UL provides hazardous locations advisory services, audits, validation, technical education and training, and addresses safety science research.

Source: UL

Opening of UL’s hazardous locations laboratory in Northbrook, IL

“The opening of our expanded hazardous locations laboratory continues UL’s more than 104-year HazLoc legacy to advance and meet ever-evolving product safety, performance and interoperability needs,” said Milan Dotlich, Europe and Americas vice president of energy and power technologies at UL.

“It’s imperative for manufacturers to have access to the latest testing and certification technologies in order to design and produce safe, reliable, energy efficient and innovative products for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Our expanded facility does just that and equips us to better support manufacturers’ needs, facilitate a safe production process and, ultimately, a faster time to market.

“Navigating the complex landscape of global hazardous locations certifications is a challenge. UL is actively engaged in the global standards writing process and participates in more than 50 hazardous locations technical committees.”

The expanded facility now includes: an explosions area with automated test vessels that can handle samples up to 80 cubic feet; vertical test stations with automated electrical testing and featuring a load bank that can simulate loads up to 4500W; spark test station with automated spark ignition and intrinsic safety testing that includes gas pressure, spark-on-time and gas flow rates to assist with research and circuit design, and has nine chambers in total.