Considerations when exporting include making adaptions to products relating to cultural and consumer preferences. This exert discusses the fundamental changes that may need to be made to a product when exporting... such as the need to adapt to different electrical standards worldwide. This article is part of the U.S. Commercial Service's "A Basic Guide to Exporting".
Last Published: 10/20/2016
In addition to adaptations related to cultural and consumer preferences, your company should be aware that even fundamental aspects of products may require changing. For example, electrical standards in many foreign countries differ from those in the United States. It’s not unusual to find phases, cycles, or voltages (for both residential and commercial use) that would damage or impair the operating efficiency of equipment designed for use in the United States. Electrical standards sometimes vary even within the same country. Knowing the requirements, the manufacturer can determine whether a special motor must be substituted or if a different drive ratio can be achieved to meet the desired operating revolutions per minute.
Electrical standards can vary wildly between , and sometimes within,different international markets.
Similarly, many kinds of equipment must be engineered in the metric system for integration with other pieces of equipment or for compliance with the standards of a given country. The United States is virtually alone in its adherence to a non-metric system, and U.S. companies that compete successfully in the global market realize that conversion to metric measurement is an important detail in selling to overseas customers. Even instruction or maintenance manuals should provide dimensions in centimeters, weights in grams or kilos, and temperatures in degrees Celsius. Information on foreign standards and certification systems is available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology

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