The new added-value service by FAET aims at evolving its interaction with customers, mainly OEM. It is the new laboratory set up inside its Milanese headquarters, which takes part in UL DAP Program, able to execute the Sealed Tube Test for the UL Electrical Insulation System Modify
FAET’s strategic investment for the establishment of this new forefront laboratory and the participation in the Third Party Test Data Program actually offer an added-value service, in addition to core business ones. Targets are essentially two: in-house providing for the quality control of incoming materials, to achieve higher reliability certainty, and playing a protagonist role for the UL certification.
UL Third Party Test Data Program
When it comes to UL, Underwriters Laboratories Inc, the independent American organization for safety certifications that develops standards and tests for products, materials and components, often it is not clear how to operate and there is a lot of confusion on this side of the ocean. The American market is ruled by very severe regulations and any accident connected with insulation systems has a high cost for companies. In the United States, due to a matter of protection and safety, but also to stress safety in all markets worldwide, the UL certification is called to certify the compliance with strict rules.
Today FAET’s mission is simplifying the daily routine of OEM, including the manufacturers of electric motors or of other plants that need a certified Electrical insulation system in their inside: «After a certification course lasted one year, now we are a third party test Data program participant. – explained us Dario Ferrigato, Marketing Manager of FAET – It is a programme that allows us to carry out the Sealed Tube Chemical Compatibility Test per UL 1446 Standard for Systems of Insulating Materials”.
The participation in such programme allows FAET to execute tests on customers’ behalf and results are accepted by UL as if UL itself had directly obtained them, certifying the conformity to the UL 1446 standard. The successive step is the certification that UL will issue after test results. «This laboratory – added Ferrigato – joins the very few other structures in the world not owned by UL able to perform the test. It is a precious opportunity for FAET, today able to provide the market with a very high added-value service allowing the company to become a reference reality in Europe and to rise exponentially the brand recognisability».
Whoever needs to interface with UL to modify an insulation system and to test it according to their standards, can then exploit the competences, the specific know-how of FAET, its rapidity and its laboratory, yearly subjected to a re-certification audit.
Why executing the test at faet’s? Here are the advantages
The laboratory headquartered at Rozzano is unique of its kind in the SEMEA area, then the relative proximity to the structure, especially for the South area of Europe, is a logistic plus that allows avoiding travels overseas. Highlights include the possibility of interfacing with a single partner in the process of modification and adoption of the insulation system, with specific advisor skills in design choices. Besides, the availability of the materials to be tested or their easier provisioning are benefits that add to the others, permitting a saving of the time needed for the test execution.
The soup metaphor
Insulation systems inside a motor are safety systems that prevent the risk of electric shock and fire during the normal operation of the motor itself. To comply with determinate severe safety standards, the various components in its inside must have determinate chemical, physical and electric characteristics and conform to different parameters depending on the used materials.
Silvio Cattinzoli, engineer and Quality System & Technical Manager of FAET, explained us the insulation system with a metaphor that compares it to a “soup”, then a recipe that contains a multiplicity of ingredients “mixed” one another and expected to have some determinate features, both individually and in combination. The manufacturers that need to change and to add ingredients to such dish must previously carry out a test that certifies the new mix of components.
It is called precisely Sealed Tube Chemical Compatibility Test per UL 1446 Standard for Systems of Insulating Materials and consists in the comparison between an original insulation system called “Reference” and one or more systems customized by the customer and called “Candidate”, carried out in compliance with the provisions of the Standard UL 1446 seventh edition. «It is a comparison between something existing and something new or modified and it aims at assessing whether a determinate material added to the material already tested is compatible or not at chemical level. Actually, it is an electric test that ascertains the chemical compatibility». The test provides for the insertion of all components into two glass tubes, one containing the components of the original system and one with the components of the new system. The inserted elements concern the primary insulation, which divides the copper conductor with all other live electric parts, and all those components that are not specifically needed for the insulation but are present for the motor implementation. Those auxiliary components that do not constitute the real insulation must be tested to conform to determinate parameters, too. «Components –Mr Cattinzoli explained us in detail – are introduced into tubes together with copper twisted pairs that are manufactured according to specific standards and can be both coated or not coated with electro-insulating resins or varnishes. Afterwards, tubes are closed with specific flanges and stored in a oven for 14 days, at a temperature exceeding by 25° the one of the system under testing. After opening them, the electric discharge test is executed on twisted pairs, at least 10 per tube. Therefore, 10 results per tube are achieved and averaged out, the average value of the “candidate” tube is compared with the average value of the “Reference” tube. If the average calculated for the modified system is within 50% of the original one’s value, the test is passed and then that new “recipe” can be used for manufacturing the electrical insulation system under construction». It is a propaedeutic test to achieve the certification of the final product. Recalling our metaphor, the single vegetables composing it must be certified, the soup in its whole must be certified and then the entire laid table, too. What is brewing …
If with the Sealed Tube Chemical Compatibility Test per UL 1446 Standard for Systems of Insulating Materials we “modify the soup recipe cooked by uncle Tom in America”, to start instead from scratch and to create a new insulation system ex-novo, it is necessary to carry out other tests, like the full thermal aging. To create this new original recipe, the test is much more challenging, also in terms of investment, and it can last even one year and a half. «We are evaluating – the Marketing Manager ended – a further growth in next years and the unceasing innovation and evolution that will involve the new FAET laboratory, likely to result in the introduction of other tests».
«The possibility of executing the Sealed Tube Chemical Compatibility Test per UL 1446 Standard for Systems of Insulating Materials inside FAET is very advantageous because the company can rely on a very broad availability of insulation products and it is much easier to find the ideal solution for each manufacturer. Continuing the metaphor, we can compare FAET to the biggest vegetable garden in Europe to cook the perfect soup».
Established in 1965, today FAET is one of the leader European realities in the electro-mechanical market, with the primary core business consisting of insulation systems for electric motors. The company can supply any processing on insulating materials, needed for the manufacturing of windings for electric motors, pumps, generators and transformers in all insulation classes and proposes also a broad range of electromechanical components for their repair and finishing. Currently, the Group’s turnover exceeds 20 million Euros, the company exports in over 50 Countries, manages about 10,000 stocked references and in-house performs all production processes, to assure the highest quality of its products.
However, advantages go far beyond thanks to such a wide warehouse and the privileged ranking held by FAET today in Europe and in the world. «The thousands of contacts we entertain with manufacturers on a world scale – stated the technical manager of FAET – allow our customers to simplify the research of the products to be inserted, often mandatorily used in the reference insulation system, for instance because it was manufactured in the Sixties in the United States with now unavailable products in Europe and hardly found even in the United States. Relying on a partner like us, able to interface on their behalf, is then an advantageous key factor».