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RoHS2 Deadline Upon Us

The deadline for RoHS2 has come and gone, and manufacturers are still working to get in step.

Two years ago, the European Union extended the timeline for the elimination and restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, which it had set more than a decade ago. At that time, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) was begun, with an eye toward full implementation in 2006. According to a statement by the Chemical Inspection Regulation Service:

This directive was brought into force in order to limit the component concentration of six hazardous substances found in EEE as they are harmful to the environment, mainly through the pollution of landfills. RoHS Directive covers a wide range of products, including not only integrated electrical and electronic products but also individual parts, raw materials and packing cases.

The list of restricted substances includes a variety of heavy metals used by the electronics industry, including four heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium) and two brominated flame retardants (polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers).

RoHS2 updates the original mandate, which went into effect on January 2, 2013. It phases in several product categories previously exempted, such as medical devices and monitoring and control instruments, and also works to capture “gray area” electrical equipment.

Today, the electronics industry has reached solid levels of compliance with the RoHS mandate. In fact, nearly three quarters of components comply with the standard, SiliconExpert Technologies estimates. However, there's still a gap to be closed, especially for capacitors and resistors. (See the infographic below.)

The shift created by RoHS2 aims to reduce confusion and increase compliance. However, critics claim that these restrictions may adversely affect product quality and reliability. Others are concerned with the high cost of compliance, which may hamstring smaller businesses.

What are your thoughts?

11 comments on “RoHS2 Deadline Upon Us

  1. apek
    August 6, 2013

    Hi Hailey,

                   ” may adversely affect product quality and reliability. Others are concerned with the high cost of compliance, which may hamstring smaller businesses.” I do not believe that Material scientists cannot research on better materials which are less hazardous. Cost of compliance can be higher but is in necessary for safety of consumers. Consumers would much prefer to pay a few dollars more for the equipment rather than risk life threatening cancers and of health hazards due to hazardous materials. Smaller businesses would always be hamstring if bigger businesses are allowed to monopolize the market 🙂 that has nothing to do with hazardous materials.

  2. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 6, 2013

    @Apek, at least initially, compliance is often a burden for smaller businesses that don't have the people power of larger counterparts. Often their systems are not as automated, and change takes longer. I agree, wholeheartedly, though, that the overall concern for the environment and the world needs to trump these more minor concerns.

  3. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 6, 2013

    One of the things that RoHS2 brings to the table is a much clearer standard for labelling compliant products. Until now, it's been pretty haphazard and confusing. I think this is a solid step forward.

  4. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 6, 2013

    @Rich, these are all good questions. Nothing is ever perfect. Perhaps that goes without saying. The fact that we have RoHS2 after RoHS proves that in spades, I guess. However, i do believe that the longer view has to be enforced whether not there are individuals and organizations who want to make quicker money at expense of the greater good. I don't think it's wise to abandon the attempt just becuase there are, admittedly, problems with teh system.

  5. Ariella
    August 7, 2013

    @Rich at the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

  6. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 8, 2013

    @Rich, it's important to keep talking about and please stay tuned because we will do more of it. In the meantime, i'm interested in this topic of compliance. Do you have any sense of what the rates are actually like? Are there certain substances where we are doing better or worse? What's behind teh non-compliance, ignorance or malice? Understanding these sorts of issues would be important ot moving ahead from our start.

  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 8, 2013

    Money does drive a lot of it… and it's a question of carrot or stick. Either we have to figure out how to make it profitable. Or we make it hugely expensive to be caught not complying–and make sure we have folks who actually go out and do the catching.

  8. SunitaT
    August 10, 2013

    Since a company is supported by many factions of the electronic society, manufacturing electronics with the tag of ''eco-friendly'' only earns more support; non compliance only means risking oneself to flaming by consumers, who woulf resort to companies following the guidelines.

  9. SunitaT
    August 10, 2013

     A large company that does not follow with electronics using eco friendly materials has to dedicate an entire panel of professionals, and also money and man-power, to manage the huge quantity of e-waste generated.

  10. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 18, 2013

    @tiarapur, and to your point i'm glad that the industry is moving toward a more standardized way of marking and recognizing products that are eco-friendly. Confusion only hurts everyone.

  11. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 18, 2013

    @tiriapur, it's an interesting point. It sounds like an expensive proposition. I'd be interested in seeing some sort of comparision between getting eco-friendly and managing e-waste. That would make for some interesting discussion!

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