What Is NRTL and Why Does it Matter?

August 30, 2021

So, you’re browsing through catalogs of systems and machinery — perhaps industrial vacuums for manufacturing — and you stumble across the term “NRTL-certified.” You’ve probably seen it before. Perhaps you’ve even sought out NRTL-certified products for your business. But you may not know the full scope of the purpose behind this law-enforced certification, or even what “NRTL” stands for.

At Delfin, we specialize in industrial vacuums, dust collection systems and pneumatic conveyors that are built to meet the demands of both industry-related housekeeping and federal safety compliance measures. We’ve put together this post to help you better understand the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program and why it’s so important to obtain certified machinery.

Delfin industrial vacuum DGVL75 with hopper - centralized vacuum system

How Businesses Obtain an NRTL Certification

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has product standards that general industry businesses must meet to protect workers and consumers. How machines become “certified” in meeting these standards is by submitting the product to an OSHA-recognized NRTL that has the resources necessary for testing the product type; note that there are currently 39 product types that fall under these standards.

One of the more extensive categories under which products are held to the NRTL standard is electrical equipment. We’re talking about products like appliances, various electrostatic apparatuses, and, of course, industrial vacuums. Delfin, for example, has numerous electrical industrial vacuum models which have been put to the test and received NRTL certification

To get an electronic product certified, businesses with these products must reach out to official NRTLs directly, from whom the business will receive instruction for documentation and necessary samples the NRTL will use upon testing.

The NRTL then performs the tests required to affirm safety compliance with OSHA standards and, if the product passes, the business will receive certification. This is, of course, a simplified outline. The extensiveness of product testing and the standards associated with the product will naturally vary case by case.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

In addition to OSHA, another organization implementing standards for manufacturers and general industry operations: the NFPA. The NFPA is a North American monitoring program that works to ensure maximum possible safety measures are in place for all persons involved in the facility’s production.

One of the NFPA’s major concerns in manufacturing is combustible dust. When a product like an industrial vacuum cleaner isn’t NRTL certified, and therefore is not meeting OSHA and NFPA standards, operations run the risk of facility explosions via unkempt combustible dust. NFPA compliant vacuums will have antistatic filters, proper earth grounding, motor protection, stainless steel collection bin, and more. The Difference Between NRTL Recognized and NRTL Certified

The Difference Between NFPA Compliant vs. NRTL Certified

You may, in your searching, come across terms like “NFPA Compliant” and “NRTL certified.” Note the important difference between these two terms. OSHA may officially recognize an NRTL as having met the legal requirements for testing, but that doesn’t mean that any products associated with the NRTL are therefore certified. “NRTL certified” refers to the fact that the testing and evaluating has proven that the product meets OSHA standards for safety.  An NFPA compliant system may simply mean that the manufacturer of the equipment is simply stating that their own equipment meets the requirements of a specific NFPA code.  What it may not mean is that it is acceptable for use in your application, and it most likely does not mean that it is certified by a third party NRTL.  So while it may be compliant, it’s often best to search for NRTL certified equipment for use in your specific application.

How Do I Know If a Product Is NRTL Certified?

It’s also worth knowing that OSHA holds no requirement for manufacturers and distributors to mark or label their product with the acronym “NRTL.” Of course, they would probably be wise to at least acknowledge the certification. That said, potential buyers should be vigilant in their research before making a purchase or they risk obtaining a product that is unfit for their environment.

On our product listings, we acknowledge the NRTL certification in the vacuum descriptions for buyer convenience as they are ETL Intertek listed. After all, this is one of the first factors you should seek in your considerations – there’s no sense in getting excited over product specs only to find that the product doesn’t meet the standards of compliance and industry regulations.

NRTL Certified Industrial Vacuum Systems

At Delfin, our certified industrial vacuums come ready for light and heavy-duty uses across a wide range of industries. Take, for example, our Mistral 300, 301, and 202 vacuums. These portable, lightweight vacuum cleaners are all NRTL certified and designed for performance and flexibility for a variety of applications.

For pharmaceutical manufacturing needs, there’s also the Mistral Pharma 30 D2, which is a Class II, Division 2, Groups F & G vacuum cleaner that is not only NRTL certified but also comes with a Certified H14 HEPA filter for fine dust extraction – helping you collect hazardous dust safely and easily while eliminating all health risks for your employees.

Dust and Chip Extraction from Surfaces, Suspended in the Air, and Directly from Machines

From dust collection systems built for 24-hour use to portable vacuums perfect for everyday housekeeping needs, Delfin offers a wide selection of material and dust collection solutions fit for the demands of your industry.

Some industries we serve include (but aren’t limited to) metal manufacturing, construction, food and beverage, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and chemical processing. To get more details about our range of NRTL-certified industrial vacuums, or to discuss a custom order, reach out by calling or using the online contact form.

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