[tinwhiskers] RoHS2 is coming - will it work better than RoHS?

Oh ohh...

Bob Landman
H&L Instruments,LLC

http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2009/01/08/45225/rohs2-is-coming-will-it-work-better-than-rohs.htm

RoHS2 is coming - will it work better than RoHS?

by Paul Chinery
Thursday 8 January 2009


Nearly two and a half years on from the introduction of the RoHS Directive, it 
may be an appropriate time to examine how did we all do?  

If  the National Weights and Measures Laboratories (NWML) experience is  
typical across Europe, then probably not very well.  In the early days  of 
transition, they claim "99% of products are 99% compliant".  Or, put  another 
way, only 1% of products complied fully.  

A 2008  Impact Assessment by the European Commission reveals we still have a  
long way to go, stating "Current Member States' checks revealed that up  to 44% 
of EEE 
checked were not fully compliant."
 
That's a  pretty poor return on what was a significant investment when one  
considers that initial compliance is estimated to have cost industry  $32bn, 
with a further $3bn needed annually to maintain compliance,  according to a 
study by researcher Technology Forecasters Inc (TFI).  The Commissions own 
study puts the average overall cost related to RoHS  at 1.9% of turnover.
 
In an attempt to reduce costs, resolve  uncertainties and to increase market 
surveillance and enforcement, the  European Commission revealed plans to recast 
the RoHS Directive in  December 2008- effectively creating RoHS2. They state 
the objective of  the proposed reform is "... to develop a better regulatory 
environment,  one that is simple, understandable, effective and enforceable."

So, will we do any better second time around? Will RoHS2 really be simple, 
understandable, effective and enforceable?
 
On  first reading, the recast appears significantly larger than the  original 
RoHS Directive, running to some 46 pages compared to the  original 5.  In 
reality, both are of a similar size when the  introductory memorandum is 
removed and one considers seven Commission  Decisions have been integrated into 
what will be (at least initially)  one all 
encompassing Directive, defining its own scope, definitions and exemptions.  

So  is this proposal simply a housekeeping exercise, removing the need for  
various legislative 'add-ons' that co-exist alongside the current  Directive?  
Is it actually that 
different from what we have today?

Whilst  a lot of what is proposed has already been published in one form or  
another, there are a few significant changes that will affect everyone  that 
currently falls within the scope, and most of those who are  currently fall 
outside the scope.

In terms of scope, RoHS2 now  has its own, no longer relying on the annex of 
its sister legislation,  the WEEE Directive.  However, its scope is, to all 
intents and  purposes, 
identical to what we have today with the addition of  medical devices and 
monitoring and control instruments (category 8  & 9 equipment). This will be 
disappointing to many, as one of the  biggest challenges 'old' RoHS presented 
was that of grey area products  in relation to its scope.  Does a 'widget' fall 
within the scope or not?   
  













       

At present, this recast is simply a  proposal and isn't yet in force - the EU 
Parliament and the Council  must first formally agree its text before it enters 
the Official  Journal (OJ).  

However, as this is a Commission proposal based  on two (industry) stakeholder 
consultations and several expert studies,  it is highly likely it will be 
adopted in its entirety.
 
So, will RoHS2 be simple, understandable and effective?  That's for the global 
electronics industry to decide during 2009. 

Would  these proposals be enforceable?  Yes.  Bear in mind, with the  
introduction of compulsory CE marking for RoHS, another enforcement  agency, 
Trading Standards, is theoretically introduced. And, by having  a visible 
indicator for the first time, it would also be possible to  exclude products at 
a member state's border.
 
Paul Chinery is Principal RoHS Specialist at Agile Business Consultants, former 
Managing Director of Distributor Dionics plc

Other related posts:

  • » [tinwhiskers] RoHS2 is coming - will it work better than RoHS? - Bob Landman