I’ve started to receive my parcels, and it is becoming increasingly important that I check the components for any expected RoHS compliance so that I can separate the compliant stock.
This is sometimes made easy, as the manufacturer has a different part number for the RoHS compliant part to that of the non-compliant part. But when the manufacturer uses the same part number, you have to read the specifications more closely to see if they use marks of any sort or simple statements. Some distributors have different part numbers for RoHS compliant parts to assist with this, including Certificates of Compliance.
RoHS is a European Union (EU) directive and came into effect on 1 July 2006. The EU has banned the use of six environmentally unfriendly materials from nearly all new electrical and electronics products developed for the European market.
In August last year, I presented a talk on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive to my Science Communication colleagues at UWA. My talk was from the point of view of my company, a manufacturer of electronics products, and from the point of view of the audience and myself as consumers of electrical and electronics products.
During prototyping, mixed components are not a problem. But I will need to keep track of any components that will be used for design for manufacture and production. This means ensuring that I have a paper trail from the manufacturer, through any distributors and suppliers, to us.
Fortunately, this latest BOM for the prototype only has approximately 30 unique parts. Once all the sample quantities are delivered for the prototypes, I will need to look to purchasing all RoHS compliant components in manufacturing quantities.
Different countries are imposing their own version of the EU’s RoHS Directive, and others are waiting to see what other countries will do. If we wish to export to many different countries, RoHS (and WEEE) will be another stream of knowledge that we will need to be aware of and continue to research.