When a company is dealing with very strict environmental regulations and compliance, there is no better substitute to complying very strictly rather than having very thorough knowledge of the rules. For example, the European Union has implemented very strict environmental standards because of the start of industrialization. This is called RoHS or the Restriction on Hazardous Substances.
This policy or directive was first passed last 2003. It is now updated with very new restrictions and it on several occasions since, it requires electronics manufacturers to verify that their products or devices are free from very harmful chemical substances.
Many customers asking electronics enclosure companies about this restriction because they too are electronics manufacturers. The enclosure manufacturing companies knows how crucial it is for the companies to comply with the RoHS compliance for businesses. Especially for ones who are competing in international market for electronics.
To help the electronics company (the consumers of electrical boxes) to learn and be more knowledgeable about this compliance, we will discuss in this article what are the questions that is commonly asked about this strict compliance.
1. What does “RoHS compliance” mean?
This only means that the product has undergone testing for screening of 10 banned substances (that are deemed harmful to human health) by an independent authority conducting studies about harmful chemicals. These tests should confirm the existence of these substances should be below the RoHS threshold. Under RoHS 3, the latest version of the RoHS directive, the 10 substances restricted are:
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)
All of the mentioned chemicals above should only be limited to 1,000 ppm except for cadmium. This has the lowest minimum which is 100 ppm.
2. Is RoHS mandatory in European Countries?
Yes! All the electrical devices and electronic equipment (acronym for EEE) should be able to pass a RoHS inspection for them to be sold in European countries or even internationally. In addition to this, each European member implements this regulation differently. With this in mind, the companies or manufacturers who are planning to import their electronic products to EU should be mindful and familiar with not only this directive, but also with how each member of the EU handles this regulation for each country.
3. What is WEEE and how it is directly related to RoHS?
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) is one of the EU directive that requires all of the EEE manufacturers who import or sell their products in any EU countries should be able to take certain responsibilities when it comes to disposal process of the electronic waste being generated by their manufacturing processes.
Both of the directives should apply to many of the same products under this category, but each of the EU member has their own restrictions and rules, as well as there are differences in the country-by-country differences when it comes to implementation.
4. Are there exemptions of rules in RoHS?
There are certain product categories which applications are currently exempted from this very strict compliance. The stated exemptions are usually used to cover various types of military, medical equipment, industrial, and scientific equipment uses. The spare parts for the equipment being sold in the market before July 1, 2006 is also excepted form RoHS. Except for the spare parts for the newer or latest equipment being produced.
If companies think that their products might qualify for the stated exemptions, check the EU’s RoHS website to learn about the different exemptions and learn about their renewal status. Always take in mind that the exemptions are always subjected to possible changes, so if possible, always check the website of RoHS regularly. Just make sure that the stated exemptions should be relevant to the products that are being applied.
5. Does RoHS apply to plastics devices/equipment?
If your products are made of plastic and it is being utilized in electrical or electronic equipment, it is still subject to RoHS-compliant unless it falls on stated exemptions.
6. Does this compliance apply to products other than electronics/devices?
Basically speaking, this is not possible. However, the manufacturing processes of each product should fully comply to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) of European Countries.
7. Do other countries also have RoHS laws?
With the technological advancement of manufacturing companies today, there are several companies who already comply to this strict regulation such as China, Japan, and South Korea. Any of the EEE businesses considering to expand their market to other countries should be able to take care and be knowledgeable about the international country’s laws about electronic waste and other hazardous substances.
However, the United States of America does not have currently have federal laws that are similar to RoHS. However, there are states in US that has somewhat similar law to this restriction such as California.
8. Is stainless steel sheet metal RoHS compliant?
Absolutely yes. Although the chromium content is always present in stainless steel, it is not the type of chemical being restricted by RoHS. There are some other restricted materials (lead and cadmium) that is also present in visible and traceable amounts. However, the testing were consistently confirmed that the several concentrations present in stainless steel are below the stated RoHS threshold.
9. How long is a RoHS certificate valid?
An RoHS certification is just valid for the next five years. In addition to this, an early re-certification can be required once a product will undergo significant changes in terms of design, raw materials being used or has undergone different sourcing procedures.
10. Are all enclosure products RoHS compliant?
With this in mind, all equipment and devices are not guaranteed to be RoHS compliant. It is still best to inquire with your prefer enclosure manufacturing company if their products strictly follow this regulation. It is always better to ask especially if you have plans to sell your products internationally.