International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
Programme
NERSA Enable interoperability -
Secure investment

Thembani Bukula
Regulator Member, NERSA
LSIS Strengthen IP - Increase revenue
Dr Ja-Kyun Koo
CEO, LSIS
Goldwind Shared knowledge -
Increasing trust

Gang Wu
Chairman & CEO, Goldwind
NIST Global strategy – Superior outcomes
George W. Arnold
Director, Standards
Coordination Office, NIST
Eaton From products to solutions – Ensuring compatibility
Thomas S. Gross
Chief Operating Officer, Eaton
Boulder Wind Power Increase bankability -
build markets and industries

Sandy Butterfield, Founding CEO
and CTO Boulder Wind Power
Haier Building trust -
Opening global markets

Dr Zida Yu, Senior Vice President and Corporate Technology Officer Haier Group
AIST-JISC Accelerating innovation –
Assessing competition

Dr Tamotsu Nomakuchi, President AIST and Chair of the
Technology Council of JISC
Mitsubishi Globally engineered quality –
Locally relevant

Dr Kazuo Kyuma, Executive Vice President and Group President Semiconductor & Device, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Intertek Group Adding agility –
Reducing complexity

Wolfhart Hauser, Chief Executive Officer, Intertek Group
Hitachi Globally concerted efforts –
Developing enterprise

Dr Naoya Takahashi,
President & CEO
Hitachi Systems Ltd.
Bosch Sustainable business –
And cost optimization

Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman,
Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH
Underwriters Laboratories Increased efficiency:
Global relevance

Keith Nosbusch, Chairman/CEO Rockwell Automation
Common platforms: the
basis for individual innovation

Matthias Kurth, President
Federal Network Agency
Underwriters Laboratories Green Safety:
Facilitating Global Trade

Keith E. Williams, Pres. & CEO
Underwriters Laboratories
Better Place The Energy Efficiency
Challenge

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, President & CEO, Schneider Electric
 

Green Safety: Facilitating Global Trade

Keith E. Williams, President & CEO, Underwriters Laboratories

Keith E. Williams, President & CEO, Underwriters Laboratories

Keith E. Williams, President & CEO,
Underwriters Laboratories

Interview

 

How does UL impact people's lives?

 

Williams: I think Underwriters Laboratories has had a dramatic impact over its more than a century of existence. UL started in 1894. Going back to the founding of the company, electricity was a very new thing at that time. People were frankly afraid of electricity. There were shocks and fires. Although today we take electricity for granted, in 1894 people were really reluctant to actually want to have it. I think the work that UL and other organizations such as the IEC did during that period brought a huge amount of confidence to the public about the safety and the safe use of electricity. I think we continue to do that today because new technologies always come along that people are concerned about. "Is this safe?" "Can I use that technology in my home or in my factory?" And I think that the things that we do help to bring that confidence to people, have actually helped since the very beginning of the company.

 

What are UL's main activities?

 

Williams: We started with just a handful of tests in the first year and today we perform something like 95 000 product tests a year. We issue something in the order of 20+ billion marks every year.

 

UL is active in four sectors today. First of all, we are a standards development organization. We manage more than a thousand standards. Our second area of activity is the conformity assessment of products against UL standards of course, but also against IEC International Standards and other standards. Thirdly we have a field service sector. We go into factories and help to verify that the product they manufacture is the same product that was submitted to UL for certification. Finally, we have a variety of activities that are related to anti-counterfeiting and to basic safety education and awareness.

 

Would you say that safety is at the core of UL's activities?

 

Williams: We do not ever want manufacturers to compromise safety in order to reduce the cost of a product simply to get it into the marketplace. I think that, essentially, standards and conformity assessment – they go hand in hand really – set a basic framework for competition. On the one hand, people can feel safe to trade products internationally, across boundaries; on the other, reliable, reputable manufacturers know that the products they are making will not ever have to face unfair competition from someone who doesn't care about quality and is willing to sacrifice public safety in order to make a cheaper product.

 

UL is actively involved in IEC work. Why?

 

Williams: The IEC to us represents the opportunity to harmonize standards globally so that manufacturers can make one product and serve all the world markets in a manner that will be safe. For us, the IEC is really one of the most important partners in the world. UL participates fully in all the activities of the IEC.

 

In particular, we participate with the management at all levels within the IEC. And we participate in technical working groups that work in new technology development, that work in new standards, that move the world forward.

 

The main way to get good standards in the IEC is to continue dialogue. It's a people process. And the way to make a people process work and to produce good results is to be part of the process all the time, to be a contributor, to put forward new ideas, to put forward new information, and also to listen to ideas and information from other people, searching for the best result. We think the IEC is essential.

 

How do you see the future for UL? How do you see the world in 2025?

 

Williams: We think UL will be, by 2020-2025, a fully global company where we will be able to provide global certification really for any market in the world. Secondly we think we will be a significant support to the world in terms of issues of environmental safety and energy efficiency. Green safety will be, already is, as important to the 21st century as electrical safety and fire safety were to the 20th century. And we have become very much more aware, as a society, that we have to be careful with the materials we use and the products we make. We have to make sure that those products are energy-efficient so that they are contributing less to the world's carbon footprint. We have to make sure that those products are recyclable. UL is developing programs and marks and other activities that will give manufacturers the kind of confidence where they can say: "Yes, this product is electrically safe, it's fire safe, it's also environmentally safe."