Wake up to RoHS

ES Oct15 Pg04 VftT Esprit 1As the deadline for industrial category nine products looms, managing director of Esprit Electronics, Laurie Sigournay, advises manufacturers of industrial monitoring and control instrumentation to address compliance now.

It seems like a long time ago now, but in July 2006 Europe’s directive on the restriction of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS), was required to be enforced by law. The move, which was closely aligned to the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive (WEEE), became a major game changer for electrical and electronic product manufacturers and is reputed to have cost the global industry over £20 billion in initial compliance.

With the revision of the original directives and the introduction of ‘RoHS-2’ and ‘WEEE-2,’ a new set of deadlines for exemptions was introduced. RoHS-2’s phased process has brought a lot more product types within its scope. By 2019, unless the directive explicitly excludes your product, or a valid application specific exemption is in place, then almost all electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) will fall within scope.

Category nine industrial monitoring and control instrumentation was brought within scope as of July 2014 however, category nine products for industrial use have been given an extension until 22nd July 2017.

Don’t cut it fine

Judging by the introduction of the original directives, some organisations will go right up to the wire when it comes to compliance, but it really is time to wake up and start preparing for the removal of the last few exemptions now. This means that manufactures of products as diverse as x-ray imaging, smoke detectors, fire alarms and even traffic signals, need to start thinking about how they will convert in order to become compliant.

Many manufacturers believe that the process is routine and easy, but this is far from the truth. It is not always straightforward, often-requiring significant investigative resource and time. Companies need to think about many factors such as redesign costs and the possibility of component obsolescence, which may result in the phasing out of a product line or the birth of a next generation.

Working with a partner who can provide strong project management skills, together with guidance on regulatory requirements may be a key consideration. Other services that can prove vital include fast and accurate bill of materials (BoM) ‘scrubbing’ and extensive analysis of any given component’s RoHS, ‘conflict mineral’ and lifecycle status.

Esprit advises the importance of planning for RoHS well in advance. Its dedicated project management and in-house capability is combined with a range of systems including software that contains information on over 300 million semiconductors, passive and electromechanical components. This can go a long way to reassure those who become lost in the maze of compliance.

So, the message is simple. If you manufacture industrial monitoring and control instrumentation then you need to be acting now.