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?