The recent Bus & Boards Conference offered up some interesting news, views, and occasional grumbling from industry pundits on the RoHS legislation. The ruling states that companies wishing to sell electronic products into Europe must comply with RoHS by mid-2006.
No one ever thought compliance was going to be easy with the challenges of cost, the administration of new product lines, as well as some technical issues concerning testing. Tin whiskering, as we know, is one such major technology challenge caused by the reduction of lead in solder. Happily, it now looks like some of the causal factors of this have been identified and dealt with to some extent.
So far so good, all except for one thing—the RoHS legislative demands do not stop in Europe. China and Japan are making even greater stipulations in this area than Europe. Whereas we in Europe are looking for reductions in hazardous substances, these two countries are looking for total elimination… EoHS, if you like.
China is implementing its own version of RoHS, calling it the Regulation for Pollution Control of Electronic Products. Although this legislation is not complete, it may be affecting companies—both in China as well as those selling into the country— by July 1, 2006. That happens to be the same day that RoHS kicks in.
In Japan, the situation is slightly different. Despite the fact the government has yet to issue regulations regarding the use of hazardous substances, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association is promoting the elimination of lead used in electronic products. The group offers a roadmap for lead-free manufacturing, as well as guidelines on how to mark lead-free components.
And it doesn’t stop there. Taiwan, Korea, Canada, and Australia are initiating their own versions of RoHS, too.
Environmentally, this is all good stuff, despite some of the sulking emanating from certain electronics companies. As for electronics designers and RoHS, well, what would life be without some tricky technical rapids to shoot?