ISO vs UL vs ETL – What Quality Standards Mean to You

Understanding Quality Requirements:

As we stated in previous blog posts, a data center is a complex, highly engineered structure designed to house multiple computer servers and data storage equipment, along with the requisite support systems for power distribution, cooling and critical backup power functions. A modular data center (MDC) is designed in prebuilt blocks or modules, which are easily deployable, so that capacity can be added commensurate with the compute requirements, thereby minimizing the initial capital investment and improving the power usage effectiveness (PUE).

Every MDC must meet relevant code requirements before it can be deployed. For example, a MDC must meet nationally accepted electrical and mechanical codes. As a result, each electrical and mechanical component within the finished unit must conform to stringent listing, recognition and classification requirements that are established by nationally recognized testing laboratories.

A MDC is a sizeable investment, so there should be nothing left to chance when it comes to ensuring its quality, reliability and compliance – not only in terms of each MDC component, but of the unit as a whole. Therefore, it is imperative that the MDC solutions provider meet the industry’s highest quality standards and offer a full range of nationally recognized listing, recognition and classification services.

This post is intended to provide a basic understanding of the quality standards, certifications and processes that help to ensure an efficient, reliable and cost-effective MDC.


What is ISO 9001?

The International Organization for Standardization is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. These are used by organizations to achieve standards of quality that are recognized and respected throughout the world. 

PCX Corporation’s Quality Management System, inclusive of design, is certified to ISO 9001:2015 standards. Certification of the PCX Corporation Quality Management System to ISO 9001:2015 standards formally recognizes the ability of the company to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

More specifically, an ISO 9001 certified organization, such as PCX Corporation, has implemented Quality Management System requirements for all relevant business areas, including facilities, people, training, equipment, and products and services.

ISO 9001 is technically called a quality management system, but in essence, it is a business management system. Achieving ISO 9001 certification is the first step of a process of continual improvement that provides an organization with the necessary management tools to improve working practices throughout the entire organization.


Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and Intertek (ETL)

At PCX Corporation, we utilize testing laboratories to ensure that our products are inspected to meet or exceed the standards to which we subscribe. Two prominent testing laboratories are identified below:

Underwriters Laboratory, or UL, is a U.S.-based worldwide safety consulting and certification company. UL is the most recognized of the national testing laboratories.

Intertek, also known as ETL, is another testing laboratory which also offers testing services. ETL can provide many of the same services as UL, but often at a lower cost.

Both UL and ETL offer three main types of services: listingrecognition and classification.

  • Listing Service: With a listing service, the laboratory determines that a manufacturer has demonstrated the ability to produce a product that complies with its requirements, specifically with respect to reasonably foreseeable risks associated with the product. This service is typically used for mass produced items, including consumer products.
  • Recognition Service: With a recognition service, the laboratory determines that a manufacturer has demonstrated the ability to produce a component for use in an end product that complies with its requirements. This is applied to components that are integrated into larger listed products.
  • Classification Service: With a classification service, the testing laboratory determines that a manufacturer has demonstrated the ability to produce a product that complies with its requirements for the purpose of classification or evaluation with respect to one or more of the following: (1) specific risks only, e.g., casualty, fire or shock; (2) performance under specified conditions; (3) regulatory codes; (4) other standards, including international standards; and (5) such other conditions that the testing laboratory may consider desirable. This service is typically used to certify that a product complies with the national electric code or other regulatory requirements.


To ensure that MDC projects run smoothly, and there are no quality or site inspection issues, we believe that customers should seek a MDC solutions provider that is ISO 9001-certified and can offer a full range of UL and/or ETL classification services.

At PCX Corporation, our mission is Delivering Predictive Profitability®. To achieve this, we have designed our business management system to ensure that we meet customer expectations, execute on-time delivery of our products and solutions, and continually improve our solutions, processes and operations to maximize quality and reduce customer costs.

For questions about modular data center solutions, or all other PCX solutions and services, please call us at 919.550.2800