Advancing Silicon Valley Innovation: Q&A with UL Global Vice President Ghislain Devouge
Silicon Valley companies now have a powerful resource in their backyard to help them navigate local, national, and global regulatory policies, as well as risk management and safety issues.
Global safety science company UL recently opened its newly expanded Silicon Valley laboratory for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and wireless testing in Fremont. This facility is the largest of its type in North America and a significant addition to the region’s innovation ecosystem.
We spoke with Ghislain Devouge, global vice president and general manager, consumer technology at UL, about the critical challenges entrepreneurs and engineers face, and what UL’s new facility brings to the table.
Q: What are some of the challenges that manufacturers face in terms of product safety testing and certification?
Technology regulations change frequently, meaning that manufacturers may have to conduct new testing even if their products are already on the market. Additionally, manufacturers who add wireless capability to existing products for IoT and medical applications have to meet the complex and varied wireless regulatory requirements in their intended markets.
Q: How does UL help Silicon Valley companies tackle those challenges?
In a nutshell, UL addresses safety testing and certification for our clients in the automotive, medical device, lighting, appliance, information technology equipment, and IoT device sectors. We apply state-of-the-art testing technology and objective authority to help engineers and entrepreneurs determine that their products comply with safety requirements established in the applicable standards.
Q: How does the new facility fit into the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem?
The innovation happening here in Silicon Valley is unlike any other place in the world. Companies are continually inventing world-changing products and solutions. They want to make sure these innovations are safe and can fulfill their market promise. That’s where we come in—the expanded facility equips us to better support Silicon Valley companies, fast-track their project fulfillment, and allows us to service a more diverse range of products.
For example, the multi-million dollar expansion adds a 39,000-square-foot building to the existing campus. The facility now spans a total of 178,900 square feet, representing one of the largest EMC testing footprints in North America, and featuring 16 specific absorption rate (SAR) systems, 10 3-meter chambers, two 5-meter chambers, and an advanced 10-meter chamber that allows the lab to test very large equipment, including automotive technologies, medical devices, such as a CT scanner, and big gaming components.
Q: UL is a global company serving a diverse customer base in more than 100 countries with offices in 46 countries. What made Fremont the city of choice for this new facility?
UL’s Fremont campus specializes in helping manufacturers prepare their product for testing and understanding and meeting the necessary regulatory requirements for EMC and wireless, radio performance, radio frequency (RF) exposure and safety, including 5G.
As demand increases for testing and certification services, we want to provide customers with advanced testing technology and capabilities, automated data collection and immediate access to knowledgeable experts. Fremont’s highly skilled talent pool with roles ranging from electrical engineering and lab technicians to security offers exactly that. Now employing more than 300 UL team members, we’re thrilled to help Silicon Valley clients go to market in compliance, on time, and in a cost-effective manner.