Electronics Sourcing – View From the Top

It’s time to wake up to the next RoHS Deadlines

As the deadline for industrial category 9 products appears on the horizon Laurie Sigournay, Managing Director of Esprit Electronics, believes that with the gate finally closing on many exemptions, manufacturers of industrial monitoring and control instrumentation need to start acting now if they want to become compliant.

It seems like a long time ago now, but on the 1st July 2006 Europe’s Directive of the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment RoHS, RoSH, or even RoHaz as it is known by some 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 has been widely 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 and 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 9 Industrial Monitoring and Control Instrumentation was brought within scope as of 22nd July 2014 however, Category 9 products for industrial use have been given an extension until 22nd July 2017.

We know from experience following the introduction of the original Directives that some orgnisations will go right up to the wire. It really is time to wake up and start preparing for the removal of the last few exemptions. 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.

Manufacturers strive for compliance and many 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 not to mention 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 confidently provide strong project management skills together with guidance on regulatory requirements should be a key consideration. The provision of fast and accurate BoM ‘scrubbing’ and extensive analysis of any given components RoHS, “conflict mineral” and lifecycle statuses is also essential.

At Esprit we have learnt the importance of planning for RoHS well in advance. We combine dedicated project management and in-house capability with a range of systems including software that contains information on over 300 million semi- conductors, passive and electromechanical components. This goes 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.

Esprit Electronics was established in 1985, the privately owned business is part of the AEI Group, a UK provider of electronic manufacturing services, bespoke filtered connectors and OEM solutions to the building controls market.