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UL certification

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by James Chrimes, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    I live in a area that does not allow a ton of lit signs so I stay away from them for the most part. I have a good customer opening a new location an hour from here and the plaza owner requires the sign to be UL approved. Not the parts, but the kit assembled. I am puzzled as to what the UL certification does that my master electrician I hire can not do. I am having trouble finding a company that will certify it for me.
     
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  2. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    really? we get fabbed channels, boxes, etc. that are UL approved from many manufacturers...
     
  3. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    or are you saying you aren't UL certified, but still want to fab it in-house?
     
  4. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    You have an electrician assemble your electric sign kits?
    Or you have an electrician do the hook up after installation?
    In any case buy a UL certified assembled box wholesale.
    I use these guys
    http://www.signcabinetsinc.com/contacts.html
     
  5. signguy 55

    signguy 55 Member

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    There are many shops that custom build UL listed cabinets for the trade. For the price that you can get a stock size you wouldn't be able to even buy the materials. These guys build dozens in a week. The UL listing is icing on the cake.

    Here in Georgia there are UL police that travel around checking on that sticker, kind of like OSHA showing up on a job and writing you up.

    If you let your licensed electrician do the final hookup you should be OK. Don't let the customer try to get you to do it any other way.
     
  6. Perks

    Perks Member

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    Good question. Why are the kits even called signs when they are more closely associated as being fixtures. Does'nt it cost a pretty penny for a UL license too? I guess the idea of signage is something not exclusive to just the traditional sign industry. Tin Knockers Union and Electricians Union make a lot of channel letters.
     
  7. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    I get Signcomp kits from New England sign supply and pay an Electrician to wire it up for me so there won't be any issues. A nother electrician does the final hook up to the building and checks that wiring. Signcomp says they do not do the certification. I will check out Bills source. Thanks. Glad i did not order the kit yet.
     
  8. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

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    yeah it has to be wired by a UL cert. manufacturer - find one that uses signcomp kits if they have something you NEED
     
  9. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    I am busting a nut over this one. Still have not figured what the certification does that my Master electrician does other than make sure the parts that are used are UL approved, ( which is fine by me) I just think it is a way they keep money flowing back thru them.
     
  10. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    what does Underwriters do? It ensures that the product is built to a safe & professional standard ,using safe components by a company who has proven they have the ability,license(s) & insurance to do so...versus taking a shot in the dark with a company who may or may not have the ability,license(s),insurance & no guarantee what you are receiving is safe,etc & built utilizing appropriate components.

    I have literally seen sign cabinets constructed using pressure treated lumber & flourescent shop lighting for illumination...no thanks,i will spend my money with a certified reputable company...i like to sleep @ night & not worry about the safety & security of what I am selling,installing,etc.
     
  11. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    I saw where a guy stuffed a bunch of transformers up in a little cove of some roofing with no air circulation and they overheated and caught fire after a few months. All the stores in that strip went up in flames except the last one. Had so much smoke and water damage it might as well have burned down, too.

    The store was a bunch of Vietnamese nail saloners and their chemicals literally blew up and the hair dresser two doors down exploded. Of course, they had no insurance. Got around this somehow by lying when signing the lease.

    The installers were also Vietnamese but from New York and never took out a single permit and nothing looked legit.

    The fire Marshal had called me in to overlook proper procedures, under rated amperage and all kinds of things. The biggest culprit was no ventilation for 5 transformers up there and they just did their thing.
     
  12. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    Nothing wrong with making sure a company has insurance and that they use proper ul approved parts. You are right that some people try to cheat and still call themselves proffessionala, but I don't see how the same kit with the sticker can cost over 2,000.00 more than the kit without. That differance must pay for a pretty special company. I have no problem with anyone having the certification. I't just doesn't add up to me.
     
  13. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    I am not looking to just stuff a sign up and half *** it. Like I said I hire a master electrician and follow all the guidlines on building the kits.
    No crap shop here....
     
  14. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    So the kit costs one thing. The assembled cabinet costs another and to have it U/L stamped costs $2,000. more no matter how you get the components ??

    To my knowledge, the parts should be U/L and built in a U/L approved shop or by someone who is, but the stamp shouldn't cost much more than $200 or $250 in addition.

    Years ago, before I knew, I had a guy stamp my boxes after we built them. We built them according to code, cause my guy was certified, but didn't renew his stamp availability one time and therefore, we had to pay for someone else to stamp it for us. Probably wouldn't fly today anymore, so I think your electrician needs to become certified.

    It's the can that needs to be stamped, but the installation has to be by a licensed or U/L shop to be legal~legal.
     
  15. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    That price was my complete cost with electrician compaired to kit built by Bills source. I have tried to find someone in state to hire and inspect what me and my electrician will do. I have no problem spending a few hundred dollars for this service. I don't see thousands. Just can't find anyone willing to do it yet, most won't answer their phones or give me at least a call back. Hope that ain't the type of proffessionalism UL expects.
     
  16. cgsigns_jamie

    cgsigns_jamie Very Active Member

    If you're hoping for someone with a UL certification to just put one of their stickers on your box, you may find that won't happen. I certainly wouldn't put one of my stickers on anyone else's box. Once I place my label on your product I'm now liable for the safety of that sign. If something were to happen and that sign caused a building fire, they'd sue me because I'm the one who said it was safe.

    I'm not saying you do shoddy work, I'm just letting you know the type of liability that's involved with that little sticker.

    It costs me thousand of dollars to maintain my ETL listing. (ETL is a competing laboratory that cost less than UL but still requires that I adhear to UL 48). In fact, next month I have to build a free sample sign to ship to them to be tested. Then pay them $2,800 for the test.

    This is all just the cost of being an electric sign manufacture and why it's hard for legitimate manufacturers to compete with guys building signs in their garage.
     
  17. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    I don't even know how to respond to that one. That is nuts. You are sending them parts that they approve to begin with. They charge you money quartly to make sure you know how to assemble them, and still make you do this? At what point do you say what the heck. Guess they will do it as long as people keep forking out money. Kind of like our government.
     
  18. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    There is more to UL certification than just knowing how to wire it. An electrician knows the NEC but doesn't know the codes for manufacturing items, they know how to properly install them.
     
  19. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    Jim they will do it as long as the municipalities require it! This all boils down to just because a part is UL approved doesn't mean when it is installed in a piece of equipment/device that it was installed to the manufactures specifications. The wire that is used to connect to the various components could not be the correct type. I could go on for hours but do not have the time!
     
  20. James Chrimes

    James Chrimes Very Active Member

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    I get where you guys are coming from. And I will drop the subject at that. Not looking to get people wound up. Just stating my opinion and fustrations. Thanks
     

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