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ROHS: Compliance & Guidance

The ROHS came into effect on 1 July 2006. In the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment this Directive controls the use of six hazardous materials which are available in the product. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive which is the part of the EU legislative initiative to solve the problem of huge amount of toxic e-waste. The point of ROHS is to reduce the amount of toxic waste produced by electronics post use. ROHS can also be introduced as the ‘lead-free directive’. Use of following six substances is restricted:

  1. Lead (Pb)
  2. Mercury (Hg)
  3. Cadmium (Cd)
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated biphenyl ether (PBDE)

Once the packaging of equipment is discarded after its purchase it is not considered as a part of EEE and does not fall within the scope of the ROHS regulations. Manufacturers, owners, retailers, and importers need to make sure that their products comply in order to be distributed and sold in the EU.

Under the ROHS Directives following product categories are impacted:

  • Large household appliances ( refrigerators, washers, stoves, air conditioners)
  • Consumer electronics ( TVs, DVD players, stereos, video cameras)
  • Lighting ( lamps, lighting fixtures, light bulbs)
  • Power tools (drills, saws, nail guns, sprayers, lathes, trimmers, blowers)
  • Toys and sports equipments ( video games, electric trains, treadmills)
  • Automatic dispensers ( vending machines, ATM Machines)
  • Small household appliances ( vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, coffee makers, irons)
  • Computing and communications equipments (computers, printers, copiers, phones)

Damage to people and environment is reduced with the help of ROHS. Electronics industry workers in prototype and manufacturing operations get health benefit by ROHS because of the use of lead-free solders and components.
During the factory assessment the defects which are identified should be corrected by the applicant as soon as possible. Companies which are ROHS certified have the permission to use ROHS mark on their products, within the user’s manual and on all the packaging of the products. Products must conform to strict standards and should also provide extensive compliance documentation. Economical advantages are offered by the “lead free packaging technology” in relation to process of traditional move such as reduction of soldier waste, use of bulk alloys, quicker time to market for products and lower chemical usage rate. Despite of exemption of national instruments category from the ROHS directive this category has also started to produce ROHS –compliant products. Criticism of this directive is adverse effects on product quality and reliability, plus high cost of compliance (especially to small business).

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