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Abu Dhabi lab to test safety of construction components

Facility opened by global safety science organisation UL offers facilities to test electrical and other equipment

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A new laboratory has been officially opened in Abu Dhabi by global safety science organisation UL, which will specialise in testing electrical and other components used in the construction sector to ensure they can withstand the Middle East’s conditions.

The laboratory spans over 850 square metres and is split into four testing zones – environmental, dust, aqua and heat, which also boasts the region’s largest temperature-rise test facility. According to UL, one of its key purposes will be to minimise the risk of fires in the region by testing electric panel boards being used in numerous hospitals, schools, commercial and residential buildings.

“The opening of UL Middle East Electrical laboratory is not just a major milestone for UL, but also for the UAE and the wider region. The power sector in the Middle East has seen rapid growth in recent years driven by huge industrialisation and increased energy consumption. This has led to a big increase in the supply chain, with both locally manufactured products and imports comprising various electrical items – such as switchgears, circuit breakers, cable management systems, transformers and distribution accessories – found in most buildings,” said Hamid Syed, vice president and GM of UL, which works with various government authorities in the GCC to promote safe living and working environments.

“Many authorities have introduced strict pre-qualification requirements to ensure public safety and set a benchmark of quality. Therefore, these various vital products and components must undergo the right level of testing to ensure they reach these levels of quality and protect the public from risks such as fires. There have been some devastating fires in the Middle East in recent years and we will be working with key authorities to minimise this risk in the years to come.”

According to a statement from UL, the fully automated and remotely accessible heat zone in the Mussafah-based laboratory has a capacity to pump currents up to 20kA and reach temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius in a room that spans over 100sqm in area. The environmental zone offers multiple mechanical and environmental tests for extreme corrosion, damp heat, humidity, UV and thermal stability, it added.

The dust zone consists of one the world’s largest chambers for ‘ingress protection’ testing to ensure various kinds of electrical equipment will not be affected by sand and other fine dust particles, and is complimented by the aqua zone’s water ingress protection tests, which includes a rotating and inclinable table that can bear a load of up to 4t.

The facility was conceived in Abu Dhabi with the collaboration of the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, a part of the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), the statement added. UL has a network of laboratories around the world offering various specialist tests to ensure the safety of household products from kitchen appliances and children’s toys to large industrial appliances.

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