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UL opens lab in Abu Dhabi

The UL Middle East Electrical laboratory is its first industrial lab in the region, providing safety tests to help deliver a sustainable future

| | Nov 13, 2016 | 6:54 pm
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Abu Dhabi, UAE: Global testing and certification organisation, UL, on October 30, officially opened its new laboratory in Abu Dhabi. The company’s SVP & President (International), Gitte Schjotz inaugurated the facility.

According to UL, the laboratory spans over 850 square metres and will specialise in testing electrical equipment to ensure it is able to withstand the various climatic and industrial conditions encountered in the Middle East.

The purpose-built laboratory, UL said, has been split into four testing zones – Environmental, Dust, Aqua and Heat, which, according to the company, also boasts the region’s largest temperature rise test facility. One of its key purposes will be to minimise the risk of fires in the region by expertly testing electric panel boards being used in numerous hospitals, schools, commercial and residential buildings, UL added.

As a body involved in safety testing, UL said it works with various government authorities in the GCC region to promote safe living and working environments. With construction continuing at pace across the region, UL added, the new laboratory will offer a trusted source of testing and reassurance to its corporate and government clients, which have employed its services to ensure the end consumers are protected.

Hamid Syed, Vice President and GM, UL, said: “The opening of UL Middle East Electrical laboratory is not just a major milestone for UL, but also for the UAE and the wider region.

“The power sector in the Middle East has seen rapid growth in recent years, driven by huge industrialisation and increased energy consumption. This has led to a huge increase in the supply chain with both locally manufactured products and imports comprising various electrical items found in most building, such as switchgears, circuit breakers, cable management systems, transformers and distribution accessories.

“Many authorities have introduced strict pre-qualification requirements to ensure public safety and set a benchmark of quality. Therefore, these various vital products and components must undergo the right level of testing to ensure they reach these levels of quality and protect the public from risks such as fires.

“There have been some devastating fires in the Middle East in recent years, and we will be working with key authorities to minimise this risk in the years to come.”

According to UL, the fully automated and remotely accessible Heat Zone in the Mussafah-based laboratory has a capacity to pump currents up to 20kA and reach a heat of 70 degrees Celsius in a room that spans over 100 square metres in area, while the Environmental Zone offers multiple mechanical and environmental tests for extreme corrosion, damp heat, humidity, UV and thermal stability.

The Dust Zone, UL said, consists of one of the world’s largest chambers for ‘ingress protection’ testing to ensure various kinds of electrical equipment will not be affected by sand and other fine dust particles. It is complimented by the Aqua Zone’s water ingress protection tests, which includes a  rotating and inclinable table that can bear a load of up to four tonnes.

Regulators, such as Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), Distribution Review Code Panel (Oman) and the Saudi Electricity Company are advocating robust regulatory frameworks to control supply chains and ensure safe and reliable products are entering the markets. UL said it has been at the forefront of the regulations, playing the role of adviser to the regulators and utilities in the region. The testing capability was conceived and invested in Abu Dhabi in the UAE following the close working relationship with ADDC, which is part of ADWEA (Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority).

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