RoHS plays an extremely important role with manufacturers. Especially with those of us manufacturing products such as Ground Straps and Wire Harness Assemblies. Yet, we find many customers have questions regarding RoHS. However, searching for RoHS resources to clear up questions can be frustrating. Therefore, we compiled this blog post containing helpful information to explain RoHS.
For starters, we turn to the European Commission website for an explanation of RoHS:
EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and promoting the collection and recycling of such equipment has been in force since February 2003. The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used waste EEE free of charge. The objective of these schemes is to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products.
The legislation also requires certain hazardous substances (heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)) to be substituted by safer alternatives. Waste EEE poses environmental and health risks if inadequately treated. The RoHS and WEEE directives on electrical and electronic equipment were recast in 2011 and 2012 to tackle the fast increasing waste stream of such products.
The aim is to increase the amount of waste EEE that is appropriately treated and to reduce the volume that goes to disposal.
What does RoHS stand for?
RoHS = Restrictions of Hazardous Substances
Who is responsible for compliance according to RoHS resources?
The European Union restricts hazardous substances, specifically in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).
Compliance responsibility falls on the manufacturer. Yet, the importer of the electrical products also retains responsibility for products manufactured overseas. The actual distributor/retailer selling the electrical products is held responsible for this compliance as well.
When did RoHS begin?
RoHS went into force in February 2003:
In the beginning, RoHS was put in place, to restrict the use of certain materials in Europe. This was due to their hazardous nature. Therefore, the use of these restricted materials was regulated within electrical devices. Since July 1, 2006, every electrical device in the European Union must pass RoHS mandates.
How do RoHS resources define EEE?
Electrical and Electronic Equipment is defined as equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields. As a general rule of thumb, if it has a battery or needs a power supply to work properly, it is EEE and there are structures in place to reuse/recycle this equipment when it reaches end of life.
EEE includes 10 categories:
- Large household appliances
- As well as, small household appliances
- IT and telecommunications equipment
- Consumer equipment
- Lighting equipment
- Also, electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools)
- Toys, leisure as well as sports equipment
- Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)
- Monitoring and control instruments
- Finally, automatic dispensers
What type of materials have bans according to RoHS resources?
RoHS bans materials deemed hazardous. There is confirmation that these materials are harmful to the environment as well as people. In addition, these hazardous materials contribute to pollution. The following list consists of hazardous materials:
Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI)
Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)
Finally some Phthalates
What testing is done according to RoHS Resources?
When RoHS tests a product for compliance, they use two analyzers. These two analyzers check and confirm that products comply with restrictions.
The two types of testing analyzers for RoHS include:
- X-ray fluorescence
- Also, XRF metal analyzers
Additional RoHS Resources
Below includes a list of additional RoHS resources:
U.K. Government Website
RoHS Product Certification Services– Third party RoHS Certification provides sound trace-ability systems and strict enforcement of due diligence policies.
Wrapping It Up
Lastly, to learn more about Wire Harness Manufacturing, check out these helpful links:
- Falconer Electronics’ Instant Wire Harness Estimator
- Wire Harness Manufacturing Terms, Tools, and Tips of the Trade
- Wiring Harness Assembly: The Official Resource Guide
In addition, check out these helpful links on Ground Straps: