On 3rd January 2013 Directive 2002/95/EC (the original Restriction of Hazardous Substances legislation) will be repealed and so-called RoHS2, Directive 2011/65/EU, comes into full force to replace it.
The revised legislation, formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council in July 2011, tightens up the original directive, which identified six hazardous substances that were either banned or restricted within the production of electrical equipment: namely lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PBDE.
The new directive extends the legislation to cover not just products with a primary electronic function, such as televisions, computers or washing machines, but any product using an electric current. For example, a manufacturer of reclining chairs would previously not have had to conform to the original RoHS directive, since the primary function of its product was as a chair, and to work as a chair no electronic current is required. However, under RoHS 2, because one of the intended functions of the chair is for it to recline using an electronic motor, the motor will now need to be compliant in order for the chair to be approved for sale.
The scope of RoHS 2 has therefore radically changed. Distributors and wholesalers need to be aware that fasteners sold to what could previously be seen as non-electronic markets may now fall under the legislation.
One of the measures included in RoHS2 to ensure more effective policing is to include RoHS compliance as part of the CE marking requirement. As such a declaration of compliance has to be submitted by the OEM in accordance with Annex 2 of Directive 768/2008/EC – which details the requirements for CE marking.
Where conformity risk assessment documentation is not available or not considered adequate, batch testing may be required in order for the OEM to confidently apply the CE mark required to bring its product to the market. OEMs are required to and should inform the supply chain when a product needs to be RoHS compliant but, as the deadline for finished product to be CE marked, there is every probability some may turn to the supply chain seeking urgent evidence of component compliance.
RoHS 2 is legislation that has industry-wide ramifications along the whole supply chain. The time frame for participants to ensure processes comply with the directive is now becoming tight when it is finished products entering the market that must be compliant by early 2013.