Electronics Manufacturing Companies, as well as other manufacturers, are worried about the environmental impact caused by the manufacturing process specifically as related to using toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury and others. These concerns have caused manufacturers to increase the care they take while producing manufactured products.
It has also led regulatory authorities try to improve ways of reducing the environmental impact caused by potentially hazardous wastes from electrical equipment and electronics. It is, therefore, important to provide lead-free and Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) electronics manufacturing services to OEM customers which are fully compliant. Offering these services has become commonplace to most manufacturing services companies.
Because of the risks associated with heavy metals in manufacturing, the RoHS restricts the use of cadmium, lead, mercury, Polybromiated Biphenyl (PBB), hexavalent chromium and Polybromiated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) flame retardants in both electronic and electrical equipment. This has been in effect since July 1, 2006 and continues today. The directive originally was mandatory only for electronic products being shipped to the European Union. The directive has increased in popularity and is now being adopted all over the world and includes some regions of the United States also choosing to adopt legislation that is similar.
Businesses selling electronics products, components or sub-assemblies directly to EU countries, or those those selling to resellers, integrators or distributors that sell to EU countries, will be impacted by the use of restricted materials. For the most part, at least in the assembly process, this means the manufacturer must use lead-free solder that is made with RoHS compliant materials.
Since the new RoHS directive has been put into place, the electronics manufacturing companies and other manufacturers, are spending time reviewing existing products they manufacture as well as newer product designs. They are also reviewing manufacturing processes such as PCB assembly to ensure they are in RoHS compliance. Because RoHS affects the entire supply chain and manufacturing process, many manufacturers, including those providing components, are doing all they can to ensure their parts are made with lead-free materials.
It has become common practice to move toward green practices, not only to become lead-free RoHS compliant, but also to reduce the electronics manufacturing company’s carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency. These changes, as well as enabling companies to be RoHS compliant, also improve the company’s brand image. Also, end users often become more energy and environmentally aware as the company develops green practices.