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RoHS Directive Requirements
The RoHS mark on our site: for the products that meet the RoHS Directive requirements the label RoHS symbol will appear in the column. All the information concerning the conformity with the RoHS Directive is presented on the basis of data received from our suppliers.
The continuous advancement in technology and know-how in the field of electrical and electronic equipment causes the faster and faster invention of new-generation devices, which, in turn, leads to the production of considerable amounts of waste, because the time of using such a device as an active product is being shortened. There are many hazardous substances in such products, for example heavy metals, especially mercury, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium, flame retardants and this fact causes that waste is environmentally hazardous. For that reason the European Union has taken legislature measures leading to the minimization of the risk caused by such waste. To achieve it, the RoHS Directive on the restriction of use of certain hazardous substances in some electrical and electronic products has been adopted.
We continued to conduct intensive research and has carried out projects to be prepared for adopting the new Directive and to introduce in its offer products that meet the RoHS Directive requirements. Our intention is to provide the customers with full availability of environment-friendly components. However, this aim depends on the electrical and electronic components manufacturers' capability. To make an effort to meet our customer needs the TME Company has introduced the control system checking the conformity of components production with the Directive. It will allow us to cooperate without problems with our customers in the period of this directive implementation.
Below we show the interpretation of legal situation related to the RoHS Directive.
The RoHS Directive ĘC introduction
On 1 July 2006 the RoHS (Restriction of Use of Certain Hazardous Substances) Directive of the European Comunity concerning the environment protection came into force. The Directive prohibits using in electrical and electronic products six dangerous substances (above the permissible maximum values) such as:
◾Flame retardants PBB and PBDE.
The RoHS Directive derives directly from the WEEE (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive of the European Community known as "Waste Directive" and is tightly linked with it. The aim of both directives is to reduce the electric and electronic products waste and to eliminate the risk of polluting the environment.
The maximal values of concentration
The maximal concentration of 0,1% of the weight of homogenous material is allowed for every substance, apart from cadmium, for which the maximal concentration amounts to 0,01%. At the same time, these concentration values do not apply to the end product or a single component, but only to the weight of a homogenous material ĘC homogenous substance, which theoretically can be mechanically separated from other substances. This is the clear EU definition.
The groups of products included in the Directive
The RoHS Directive includes groups of products, such as:
◾large-size household equipment,
◾small-size household equipment,
◾IT and telecommunication equipment,
◾electrical and electronic devices (except for large-size stationary industrial devices),
◾toys, recreational and sports equipment,
The territorial range
The RoHS Directive concerns the EU markets, however, it has quickly become a standard on the international markets because of the globalisation process of the electronic industry. Similar actions, as these determined in the Directive, take place in many non-European Union countries.
After the 1 July 2006 every end product, falling under the Directive and introduced in the EU market will have to meet the requirements of the RoHS Directive. This concerns products imported to the European Union as well as those intended for sale and produced in the EU. The RoHS Directive concerns finished products, it does not concern the components and half-finished products constituting the end product. In reality the manufacturers will need components that are conformed with the Directive in order to make the end product that meets the Directive requirements.
The correct implementation of the RoHS Directive is under control of an executive body, which can take actions, needed to state the correctness of the process of meeting the Directive requirements by the manufacturers. Any inconsistency can lead to the fines, as well as to the complete withdrawal of the product from the EU market.
The substances conditionally allowed for the production purposes
The Directive includes few concessions from the restrictions of using hazardous substances, because of lack of technical possibilities to substitute these substances.
The major exceptions are: lead and mercury. The lead can be used:
◾in solder alloys with high melting temperature (>85% lead content),
◾in piezoelectric materials,
◾in glass for picture tubes,
◾in metal alloys defined in the Directive.
As far as the mercury is concerned, it can be used in fluorescent tubes and in other types of lamps. The Directive also allows, on special conditions, using cadmium plating and hexavalent chromium. On the basis of specific applications the European Union can conditionally allow other harmful substances, however, it will be only a temporary permission.
The manufacturers' labelling
Products provided for in the Directive (with the exception of components) must meet CE marking requirements. Additionally, the manufacturers themselves have introduced their own marking systems to facilitate the identification of such products.
The impact of the Directive on the EU and global markets
The Directive has a considerable impact not only directly on the manufacturers and supplying companies, but also on the logistics, the quality control, warehouse stocks, supplies and also on the final customer. The RoHS Directive has also impact on products, which are not directly included in it, since the manufacturers should anticipate various usages of their products by the final customer, whose interest is protected by the Directive.
The declaration of conformity with the RoHS Directive
The European Union requires all the products provided for in the Directive (with the exception of components) to comply with the RoHS Directive. Moreover, the customers may demand to review full documentation certifying such compliance. It is common to indicate the RoHS elements on collective packages and unit packages, on invoices or shipping lists.
The green and PB free labels
There are also used by the manufacturers such labels as green and PB free. These labels are not in conformity with the RoHS Directive. The first means only the reduction of using harmful substances, not adapted to the process of lead-free soldering, (higher temperature of soldering), the second means a product without lead.
The increased costs of products being in conformity with the RoHS Directive
The restrictions of using harmful substances causes the necessity of introducing new, more expensive metals and its compounds in the production process. The process itself will be also subject to changes to make products in conformity with the RoHS Directive. All these changes will provoke quite considerable increase in the production costs of the components meeting the Directive requirements.
The new solder alloys
The so-far solder alloys should be eliminated from the production processes. The most important component prohibited in the Directive is the lead. However, the European Union has not selected any unequivocal alternative in this field. The most popular lead-free alloy, which can substitute the lead alloys, is the alloy made on the base of tin, silver and copper (SAC). However, it is characterized by higher melting temperature.
The complete conformity with the RoHS Directive
The total conformity with the RoHS Directive requires not only the reduction of prohibited in the Directive substances, but also the components adaptation to the free-lead soldering process, that is, to make the component resistant to the higher temperature of soldering. Unfortunately, free-lead solder alloys melt in temperatures higher by about 400C than lead alloys. The soldering time also increases, which has a negative impact on the quality of the soldered connections. The electro-conductive adhesives can be a possible alternative in this field, however, nowadays they are not commonly used.
The above information does not exhaust the subject of the RoHS Directive. We do hope that it will help you to become familiar with the problems and the possible solution measures.