RoHS Compliance Can Present Surprising Complications

by Joe Longo, on November 27, 2017

Material restrictions in electronics remain important - and varied.
Material restrictions in electronics remain important - and varied.

Ensuring that electronics products are free of hazardous materials - and providing the proper documentation and labeling to authorities - is one of today's major manufacturing priorities. The penalties that come with any failure regarding component sourcing can be a setback to any company, which means that compliance is a business priority. The following are a few points for manufacturers to focus on when getting their processes in order.

Watch out for International Rule Differences
As EPS News contributor Mike Kirschner recently pointed out, the most commonly used restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) rules, those from the European Union, aren't the only laws of their kind. Around the world, there are a variety of similar regulations to comply with, each with unique wrinkles.

Due to the fact that countries are free to set their own limits for substance exposure, inconsistency persists between nations that are theoretically aiming for the same health and environmental outcomes. Kirschner added that some governments differ from the EU baseline because they have brought some of the European regulations into an existing framework, creating a hybrid regulation. Companies have to be aware of the distinct rules in their target markets.

Lead Exemption Comment Sought
RoHS exemptions are another concept for electronics manufacturers to focus on. Chemical Watch noted that the comment period is now open for seven potential situations in which lead use would be permissible. These range from conductivity measurement in platinized electrodes to thermal cut-off fuses used in monitoring and control systems. This is the second recent round of proposed exemptions, and shows that RoHS rules can and do evolve.

Labeling Suited to the Industry
Electronics manufacturers can't fall out of compliance with the complex web of material limitations imposed by RoHS, and they have to stay on top of disclosure. This calls for accurate and consistent labeling fed by a centralized source of data truth.

For more on Electronics Labeling check out our report on the topic.