2013 Rings in New RoHS Recast Rules

December 18, 2012. As 2012 comes to a close, Premier Farnell advised electronics organizations this week to be aware of the new obligations of RoHS legislation that comes into force on January 2, 2013, for any global companies shipping equipment into Europe.

Premier Farnell, a global distributor of electronic components and parent company of Newark element14 and the element14 engineering community, advised that the scope of the new legislation, called RoHS Recast 2011/65/EU, now covers items dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields to fulfill at least one intended function. For example, the legislation now captures gas cookers with an electric clock and petrol lawn mowers with an electric ignition, which will need to comply as of July 2019.

The responsibility for ensuring these new items comply and meet the CE obligations can sit with the manufacturer, importer, or distributor. Depending on where a company sits in the supply chain, there will be obligations around the provision of many new documents, including a technical file and declaration-of-compliance.

Components that do not fall within the scope of RoHS will have to be compliant if used in the manufacture of equipment that is within the scope. As with RoHS1, a certificate-of-compliance will be required.

Member states had 18 months to transpose the new requirements into national law, and the directive becomes effective on January 2, 2013. Further product categories will be phased in, including medical devices and monitoring and control instruments in July 2014, in vitro diagnostics in July 2016, industrial monitoring and control instruments in July 2017, and all EEE not captured in categories 1 to 10 (classed as category 11) in July 2019.

As for test-and-measurement equipment, Gary Nevison, head of legislation and compliance at Premier Farnell, said, “In my opinion, oscilloscopes and multimeters are in category 9; therefore they need to comply [as of] 22 July 2014, unless they are designed exclusively for professional/industrial use, in which case, [they will need to comply as of] 22 July 2017.”

Of immediate concern, however, are development kits. Nevison said, “We are keenly watching semiconductor development kits, the impact of the RoHS Recast 2011/65/EU, and, in particular, the implications of the CE mark. Development boards are clearly finished products according to the Blue Guide’s definition, the European Commission’s guidance on how to implement new approach directives, as they are simply plugged in to other equipment to make them work. All Member State enforcement authorities consider them in scope.

“Many manufacturers of development boards make them RoHS compliant, but there are several notable exceptions that now need to work on ensuring their products are compliant and, from January, actively provide all the necessary documentation as part of their CE obligations.”

Premier Farnell has offered guidance and support to its customers since the RoHS inception. The element14 community now holds information and resources on all areas of relevant industry legislation including a revised FAQ document on the new RoHS legislation from the EC.—by Rick Nelson, Executive Editor

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