UK manufacturers targeting new growth opportunities in North America are being urged to avoid costly mistakes when trying to meet specific technical standards for the territory.

PP Control & Automation (PP C&A), which provides strategic manufacturing outsourcing solutions for over 20 of the world’s largest machinery builders, has launched a new educational campaign on UL508a, a technical standard for industrial control panels in the US.

Working with specialist partners Rockwell Automation, Lutze and Product Approvals, the company is set to host a number of detailed virtual presentations that will be available to view or download, followed by an interactive Q&A platform.

These follow a series of blogs and short videos that have been viewed more than a thousand times by manufacturers keen to avoid the costly expense associated with rectifying machines to make them UL compliant and the subsequent disruption that could cause the customer.


“North America is a massive untapped market for UK firms, but they operate differently and have many technical certifications that are different to trading with the EU. It can be very costly if you get them wrong,” explained Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation.

“We have been working in this territory for more than a decade and have built up a great understanding of the complexities and how you can make sure you meet the guidelines when it comes to UL508a.”

He continued: “The certification provides the inspection authority and, importantly, your customer with the necessary evidence that the control panel complies with recognised safety standards, which ensure public safety and compliance with national and local electrical codes.

“Failure or lack of knowledge of the standard could mean the panel gets seized by US customs or, in some cases, get identified at your client’s site during one of many unannounced inspections by UL personnel. If you are serious about exporting there, you need to make sure the products you supply are fully compliant.

“One of the biggest mistakes companies make is believing that any control system – comprising a collection of individual components that individually meet UL standards – constitutes an overall solution. It doesn’t!”

The first three video blogs were created by PP C&A experts and covered ‘seizing the opportunity’, ‘business considerations and the importance of getting it right’ and ‘avoiding design pitfalls’.

These have been followed by supply chain partner insights from Rockwell Automation (a different conceptual approach), Lutze (the importance of cabling) and Product Approvals talking about inspection and evaluation.

Tony concluded: “With Brexit on the horizon, manufacturers are plotting potential export opportunities and North America will definitely be a future target for very good reason.

“This educational campaign places over a decade of operational experience and knowledge at the fingertips of companies keen to broaden their client portfolio by targeting new markets.”

PP Control & Automation, which employs over 220 people at its 5,500 sq metre facility, delivers added value design, engineering and complex assembly to clients involved in aerospace, food processing, machine tools, packaging, printing and advanced technologies.