RoHS and WEEE environmental directives: learn to comply

Several seminar series are being offered on aspects of complying with EU [European Union] Reduction of Hazardous Materials (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directives, while several companies are offering products said to conform to the regulations.


Several seminar series are being offered on aspects of complying with EU [European Union] Reduction of Hazardous Materials (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directives, while several companies are offering products said to conform to the regulations.

For more about RoHS and WEEE from Control Engineering , and efforts to reduce use of lead, cadmium, and other substances deemed hazardous, read " Lifecycle Environmentalism ."

Design Chain Associates LLC and EPTAC Corp . have been conducting seminars on RoHS and WEEE directives, which take effect as early as August, 2005. "You cannot wait until 2006 to get started. Your materials suppliers are shipping lead-free and RoHS-compliant products today and your competitors are preparing for the transition today," warn the companies. Seminar locations, September through November 2004, include Boston, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Dallas. Check the company sites for updates/more information

In Europe, a separate seminar series on similar topics stops in 23 cities, also September to November 2004, based on Vitronics Soltec 's "5 Steps to Lead-Free Soldering" program. It’s said to address lead-free options for all three automated soldering processes: reflow, wave, and selective soldering. The company says, "With the July 1, 2006, deadline for conversion to lead-free solder-ing rapidly approaching in Europe, this tour is designed to help electronics assemblers accelerate their conversion efforts to be ready and compliant on time."

In addition to reducing use of lead in manufacturing processes, companies are beginning to tout compliant control-related products and components. While compliance isn’t a laughing matter, looking at these product descriptions makes me smile a bit. I wonder if any of these are the metal-lurgical equivalent of "fat-free" pretzels? (Weren’t pretzels always fat-free?) That couldn’t be the case with these, however—why would anyone want to talk about hexavalent chromium or poly-brominated diphenyl ethers, if they didn’t have very good reasons? As mentioned, here are some products said to help.

Thermo-O-Disc E-Series Microtemp thermal cutoff contains no cadmium.

Emerson subsidiary Therm-O-Disc introduced E-Series Microtemp thermal cutoff (TCO) with a cadmium-free, RoHS-compliant design. It provides electrical and electronic equipment upper limit temperature protection and complies with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) in Electrical and Electronic Equipment. This directive mandates that new electrical equipment introduced to the European market after June 30, 2006, may not contain certain elements including cadmium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium. E-Series TCO has earned all agency recognitions equivalent to the G-Series, and maintains one-shot operation, low resistance, and compact size. Multiple sizes and configurations offer exclusive current interrupt capacity up to 25 A at 250 V ac.

Royal Philips Electronics announced availability of all small-signal, discrete plastic surface mount devices (SMDs) in lead-free packaging. In these devices, the tin-lead-plating is replaced by pure matte tin (100% Sn). Conversion of its entire product portfolio of glass and ceramic products to lead-free is to follow. This change takes place well in advance of new legislation mandating the manufacture of only lead-free products beginning July 2006, the company noted, giving customers time to plan and test the new products accordingly.

Click here for more on availability of Philips lead-free products and the conversion roadmap .

Pulse, a Technitrol Co., introduced PG0155 Series low profile, surface mount inductors for high-power applications. Compact footprint of 11 x 10.4 mm max, low profile of 3.7 mm max, and operating temperature up to 150 deg C are said to make this product series ideally suited for notebook computer CPUs. It has self-terminating leads and a current rating up to 24 A with an inductance range of 0.30 to 2.30 microhenries. DC resistance range is from 2.2 to 16.5 milliohms. Parts in this series are available in tape-and-reel packaging, with prices averaging $0.30 per unit for quantities above 100,000 units. RoHS-compliant parts are available upon request. Individual part pricing may vary due to volume, configuration, and shipping destination. Detailed technical specifications are available from Pulse on a PDF datasheet .

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering,

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