UL 969 (sometimes referred to as ANSI 969) is one of the most common things I’m asked about.
A lot of specifications make reference to it, but few people understand what it actually signifies. So what does it mean? UL 969 is the designation for the ANSI / UL standard that covers Marking and Labeling Systems. In fact there are many other UL standards out there, each with their own designation. For example UL 94 is the standard for Flammability and UL 1598 is the standard for Luminaries. UL 969 just happens to cover labels.
Labels and markings produced under this standard are pre-qualified and tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for their durability. The certification steps roughly break out as follows:
- A label manufacturer would send a prospective label construction which may include some or all of the following: adhesive, substrate, ink, ribbon system, and/or lamination.
- UL would then perform series of tests including weathering and peel tests.
- Constructions that meet the standard are then certified to various conditions such as application surface (wood, polycarbonate, powder coated metal, etc.), temperatures (e.g. -20 to 150 C), and exposure (e.g. occasional gasoline splash, indoor use only).
- Production of certified constructions are then evaluated annually by an onsite UL inspector as well as sent to the lab for testing.
It’s worth noting that printers are not allowed to freely substitute materials nor printing method. This ensures the integrity of the certified label.
Within the UL 969 standard, labels and markings are broken out into the follow categories:
Marking & Labeling Systems
Marking & Labeling Systems – Printing Materials
Marking & Labeling Systems – In-Mold
Marking & Labeling Systems – Materials
Marking & Labeling Systems – Limited Use
Labels produced under the ANSI / UL 969 standard are considered UL Recognized Components. As such they require special core labels to signify compliance for any UL inspection.