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An Apogee® Spin Developer undergoing NRTL inspection.

NRTL! What is it good for?

TL;DR Summary

NRTL certification is becoming crucial for semiconductor equipment manufacturers as it ensures compliance with safety standards set by regulatory bodies like OSHA and ANSI. It also facilitates market access, instills customer confidence, provides liability protection, and encourages continuous improvement in safety and quality practices. For custom equipment, additional evaluations may be required. In years to come, NRTL certification will become essential for ensuring safety and reliability in the semiconductor industry.

What is NRTL?

In the realm of semiconductor equipment manufacturing, precision, reliability, and safety are paramount. The semiconductor industry operates in an environment where even the slightest deviation from standards can have far-reaching consequences. One critical aspect of ensuring safety in this industry is obtaining NRTL certification. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what NRTL is, its significance, and why it’s crucial for semiconductor equipment manufacturers.

NRTL, which stands for Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, is a designation granted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States to organizations meeting specific qualifications for testing and certifying products. These independent organizations have demonstrated proficiency in evaluating products for compliance with established safety standards. Once a product and its manufacturer pass all required tests, the manufacturer receives Authorization to Mark (ATM). This allows them to affix the designated NRTL label to the product. Subsequently, the product is subject to strict control, prohibiting the substitution of unauthorized components or any variance in construction.

Importance of NRTL Certification in Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturing:

Compliance with Safety Standards

NRTL certification ensures that semiconductor equipment meets rigorous safety standards set by regulatory bodies such OSHA, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and UL. This includes standards for electrical safety, fire resistance, mechanical integrity, and other critical safety parameters. Compliance with these standards not only ensures the safety of workers but also minimizes the risk of equipment malfunction or accidents in semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

Market Access

Many countries around the world recognize NRTL certification as a benchmark for product safety. This opens doors to global markets, enabling manufacturers to expand their reach and compete more effectively on a global scale.

Customer Confidence

NRTL certification serves as a hallmark of safety for semiconductor equipment. Customers, including semiconductor manufacturers and facilities utilizing semiconductor processes, prioritize products certified by reputable testing laboratories for their safety assurance. It cultivates trust between manufacturers and customers, ensuring the equipment’s safety in operation.

Liability Protection

Obtaining NRTL certification can also offer liability protection for semiconductor equipment manufacturers. In the event of an accident or malfunction, having certified equipment demonstrates that the manufacturer took necessary precautions to ensure safety and compliance with standards. This may help mitigate legal risks and potential liabilities associated with product-related incidents.

Continuous Improvement

NRTL certification is not a one-time achievement; it requires ongoing adherence to standards and periodic audits by the certifying body. This encourages semiconductor equipment manufacturers to maintain a culture of continuous improvement in safety and quality practices. By staying up to date with evolving standards and best practices, manufacturers can enhance the safety, performance, and reliability of their products over time.

Custom Equipment Considerations:

While standardized equipment may undergo a streamlined certification process, custom equipment introduces variability that may necessitate additional evaluations. Manufacturers developing custom solutions should be aware that deviations from standard designs could impact safety and regulatory compliance. In such cases, obtaining Limited Production Certification or undergoing supplementary evaluations becomes imperative to validate the safety of custom equipment. As a best practice, manufacturers should be familiar with, and integrate these standards into their equipment design practices.


In the dynamic and high-stakes environment of semiconductor equipment manufacturing, NRTL certification will become crucial for prioritizing safety and adherence to industry standards. Through collaboration with accredited testing laboratories and obtaining NRTL certification, semiconductor equipment manufacturers showcase their dedication to safety standards. In an industry where safety is paramount, NRTL certification serves as a key assurance for manufacturers, customers, and stakeholders alike.

Did You Know?

Beginning in June 2024, all standard Cee® Apogee® Bake Plates will feature the TÜV SÜD NRTL mark, showcasing our compliance with applicable US and Canadian safety standards. This latest development follows our recent authorization to apply the Intertek cETLus mark to all standard Cee® Apogee® Spin Coater and Developer models. These certifications underscore our proactive stance and unwavering commitment to safety across our entire product range. As Cee® continues to pursue NRTL listing for all standard products, we remain dedicated to consistently exceeding expectations in providing top-tier semiconductor processing equipment to our esteemed customers.

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Cost Effective Equipment has been an industry benchmark since 1987 when we produced the world’s first semiconductor-grade benchtop bake plate for silicon wafer processing. In 1992 we launched another industry first with the Cee® Model 100 spin coater.

In the decades since, our product line has expanded to include spin-develop and spin-clean systems as well as wafer chill-plates, large area panel processing tools, and a complete line of temporary wafer bonders and debonders for laboratory and small volume production.

Headquartered in Saint James, Missouri USA, we're pleased to work through a network of trained international distributors to supply and support your needs.