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The EU RoHS directive – a worldwide issue

The RoHS compliance laws apply to all products entering the EU, and thus affect component engineering companies worldwide. The US is a major exporter of electronic products to Europe, and anyone producing components, embedded firmware etc. for this market have to abide by the EU rules.

Although the EU RoHS directive does not apply to products manufactured for the home market, some US states have launched their own environmental compliance laws in line with EU legislation. But it isn’t just RoHS compliance that component manufacturers have to be aware of. There are other EU rulings which affect us too, such as the ELV, WEEE and REACH directives.

The environmental compliance laws in North America vary enormously between states, as do those in countries outside the EU and USA. In addition, the EU is constantly updating and modifying its RoHS/WEEE directives. This all makes environmental compliance management extremely complex for COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) manufacturers.

Rather than customizing, say, a PCB design to fit round individual compliance laws, it makes sense to have just a single bill of materials which fits all criteria worldwide. With an eye to the future, several large manufacturers have developed their own standards, some of which are even stricter than those laid down by the EU. IBM, for example, banned DecaBDE as part of its environmental compliance management program, even though it was RoHS-exempt. Later, however, it became a RoHS target. This was overturned by the European Court in 2008, but at least IBM was covered in the interim.

For all issues concerning BOM management, you can rely upon us at Enventure Technologies to come up with the right solutions – however draconian the environmental compliance laws become.

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