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Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to U.S.

08/02/2017 7:29 PM

I'm starting up a business to import handmade chandeliers into the US and am interested in finding out how to meet UL requirements. Each chandelier is unique and I plan to sell to restaurants, hotels, businesses, and consumers. Are there certified parts that could be used to meet the requirements?

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#1

Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 7:38 PM
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#2
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Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 7:56 PM
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#3
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Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 8:20 PM

I had found this information but it doesn't tell me what I need to have in the lighting fixture in order to meet the requirements. These are individual chandeliers, not mass produced.

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#4
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Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 9:37 PM

The artistic part can take on any form.

The electrical part, wiring, switches, sockets should all be the same type. They will have to be tested and certified, by UL®, which is not cheap, but necessary.

Underwriters | Testing for Indoor use

The CE mark (another test) may also be a good investment. At one time you could"self certify" to the CE mark. Don't know about today.

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#6
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Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 9:52 PM

Yes I would buy ul certified parts for sockets, switches and cords....the laws vary from place to place, actually from inspector to inspector...There are a lot of people that do this...

https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/60593/how-to-get-ul-approval-for-lamps-and-pendants

https://www.electrical-contractor.net/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/15718/Handmade_Lamps_UL_Listing_and_.html

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#7
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Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 10:38 PM
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#5

Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/02/2017 9:41 PM

If possible, find a National Testing Lab (UL, ETL, some others) with a presence in your country, and arrange a preliminary consultation. There are too many variations and details to discuss easily in this type of forum.

For mass production, samples could be submitted for testing. But for one-off type of production, you will need to establish procedures to ensure safety of your product.

Two principal items you need to safeguard against are shock hazards (no easily reachable electrically live parts) and fire hazards (no excessive current in wiring or devices). There are multiple schemes for handling these--more than I can go into right now, but which might come up later in the discussion.

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#8

Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/03/2017 1:01 AM

Get contact info @ http://www.ul.com/code-authorities/keeping-in-touch/contact-us/

to get in touch with Underwriter's Laboratories to see what restrictions apply for where you are.

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#9

Re: Importing artisan chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/03/2017 3:42 AM

It may be better to ship the artistic part and have the wiring fitted in the US.
The only prob' I can see is flammability of materials, but that is probably less of an issue these days now that incandescent bulbs are no longer used.
A partnership with a US lighting company may save a lot of problems.
Del

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#10

Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/03/2017 9:25 AM

I just had a flashback to a question a student asked me back when I was a reference librarian. For a business school project, she was proposing to export some sort of lamps to Italy (hey, it was her project, regardless of the feasibility). She needed to know about the Italian electrical system. The first librarian who tried to help mis-heard the question and was instead answering the question "what is the Italian electoral system like."

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#11

Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/03/2017 2:10 PM

My uncle Lenny simply paid his nephews to carefully unpack and repack a couple thousand light fixtures adding the UL lable.

(True story)

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#12
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/03/2017 2:48 PM

Is your Uncle Lenny still available ?

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#13
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/03/2017 3:15 PM

Rest his soul.. you can be sure he's making a deal with his maker.

Otherwise he'd be after me for spilling the beans.

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#14
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 2:31 AM

Oh he probably had some "Good Man" stickers made up....

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#15
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 2:59 AM

Unless things have changed, there is no such thing as "UL Certified".

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#20
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 5:01 PM

FYI.,.. UL went from using the term "listed" to "certified" about 12-18 months ago.

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#21
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 5:54 PM

Well, then things have changed! Thanks for the update. Do they still do the Recognized Component scheme?

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#22
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 11:52 PM

Yup... I have all their labels at the office. I can post them.

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#23
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Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/08/2017 3:34 PM

And that actually makes sense, since the UL's "list" would probably include products tested that FAILED to meet the standards. They need to keep track of all tests, so everything tested gets an ID number, which technically means it's "on the list."

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#16

Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 10:05 AM

It seems that the better way to go about such a business venture is to create a certified and working prototype, then announce to the world that you plan to sell such product. Somebody with deeper pockets may grab and run with your idea and by the time you think your ready, they have already cornered the market.

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#17

Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 11:16 AM

The requirement for UL/ETL listing of a fixed, hardwired lighting fixture is driven by local code requirements. Most specify National Electrical Code which calls for UL/ETL listing of installed hardwired light fixtures. There is a dodge, and that is to supply chandeliers with a cord end plug. This doesn't remove the UL/ETL listing, but switches it to a different UL standard.

Next is to find the applicable UL standard that you will need to meet. Look here: https://standardscatalog.ul.com/. The overall fixture as well as the components you use will need to be UL/ETL listed as well. I work for a company that makes radiant floor heating mats for installation under tile floors and the certification calls for specific wire, splices, heat shrink and fabrication materials that must be used with no substitutions. We produce a variety of custom layouts, but must always stay within the limits specified in our certification test report.

Your situation sounds doable, but you need to be careful in selection of the configuration and associated UL standard to give you optimum flexibility in your final installed configuration.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 4:46 PM

Thank you - this is helpful. I am curious - when I go to install the chandelier (hardwired) at the site (say this is a restaurant or hotel) if the hardwired wiring, etc are purchased and installed here in the US, would that be sufficient? Some of the comments make it seem as if each chandelier would need a specific UL signoff. My assumption is that there is an inspector that comes and checks off the product after installation and that will be all that is needed. Would that be accurate?

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#18

Re: Importing Artisan Chandeliers from S. Africa to US

08/04/2017 11:32 AM

I would recommend starting out with UL 1598, which is the standard for safety for luminaires. There may also be some more specific standards to your applications, but from my experience, if you meet the 1598 standards, you will have no problem with certification.

Others have mentioned this too, but you will definitely want to use UL listed parts (wiring, electronics, etc.) for any retrofitting. This will make your certification much faster and cheaper.

UL also offers consulting prior to submitting your product, which will help to make sure you meet the standards the first time through. Of course, this route will require, as they put it, "a small, nominal fee."

Actually, now that I think of it, pretty much everything having to do with UL requires a "small, nominal fee."

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