Talk to suppliers about RoHS compliance

End-users and system integrators should talk to their suppliers about compliance with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS).

By Control Engineering Staff March 3, 2005

End-users and system integrators should talk to their suppliers about compliance with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS).

“As the rapid deployment of standards mirroring the EU’s RoHS… legislation marches across the globe, compliance concerns are adding to the general anxiety that already exists in our industry regarding these requirements and timelines,” according to Tom Valliere, senior VP, Design Chain Associates LLC , an electronics industry design chain consulting firm, at the recent National Electronic Distributors Association (NEDA) RoHS/Lead-Free Summit, in Dallas, TX. NEDA explained that EU RoHS directive, also know as the “lead-free” directive, identifies six materials that must be virtually eliminated from a great deal of electronic equipment before it’s shipped into the EU after July 1, 2006.

Materials include lead (Pb), hexavalent chromium (chromium IV), cadmium, mercury, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). These may be contained in semiconductors, package lead finishes, cables, switches, relays, plastic housings, CRTs, hardware (screws, nuts), lamps, PCBs, and other places. Other requirements, NEDA says, such as the Japanese electronics industry’s Japan Green Procurement Survey Standardization Initiative (JGPSSI) restrict additional materials.

For more Control Engineering coverage about RoHS compliance, see “ System integration challenge: new, lead-free part numbers ” and “ Lifecycle Environmentalism .”

Separate announcements on compliance include Dalsa , Erni , Lambda , and Pulse .

Dalsa Corp . expects its phase-out plan to be completed by April 1, 2006—well in advance of the RoHS directive deadline of July 1, 2006. Beginning in 2005, all new Dalsa Imaging products will be designed to be RoHS-compliant. Customer demand and technical feasibility will determine which existing products will be adapted to meet the directive and when such adaptations will occur. Information will be published on Dalsa’s Web site as available. The final list of RoHS-compliant products and market introduction dates will be available June 1, 2005. For more, click here .

Erni has prepared a RoHS roadmap. All new connector developments from Erni are implemented in lead-free connecting technology (pure tin). This affects all types of connections, such as SMT, THR and press-fit technology. The material used for the insulating body for SMT and THR connectors is designed to be suitable for the higher temperatures used in lead-free soldering processes, and it contains none of the forbidden substances. Consequently, the connectors comply with the RoHS directive.

As a rule, the contact surfaces are gold-plated. For the terminal connections, a matte surface of pure tin is employed. Erni generally uses a nickel barrier layer between the base material and the top coating. The terminal connection surface features backward compatibility, which means that solders containing lead can be used as well as lead-free solders, such as SnCu, SnAg, or SnCuAg. For press-fit technology, no limitations arise with regard to function or processing. All other standard connector series will also be available for delivery in lead-free versions. As for the insulation body (LCP or PA, for example), many of Erni’s connectors are already configured for higher temperatures that can arise during reflow soldering (up to 260 °C). Tests have shown that connectors with insulating bodies made of PBT can also be wave soldered without the use of lead. For lead-free reflow soldering, these connectors are available in THR variants with high-temperature material. For more, click here .

Lambda’s PAE family of high-efficiency eighth-brick dc-dc converters is RoHS-compliant.

Lambda RoHS-compliant products include the PAE family of high-efficiency eighth-brick dc-dc converters. The new converters reportedly are ideal for telecommunications and data communications systems, or for systems using distributed power architectures that need to comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. PAE50 and PAE100 series are rated up to 20 and 30 amps, respectively, and both series are available with 1.8-, 2.5-, 3.3-, and 5-volt outputs. Features include over-current and over-voltage protection, remote sensing, output adjustment trim, and remote on/off capability. Units measure 0.9 x 2.28 x 0.33 inches and share the industry-standard eighth-brick pin-out. The converters also are CE marked and safety approved to UL60950, CSA60950, and EN60950 specifications. Prices start at $38 in 1,000-unit quantities. More information can be obtained at Lambda’s Web site .

Pulse, a Technitrol Co. , announced a plan for compliance with the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) European Union Directive. Pulse has started implementing the legislation’s requirements in products it develops and manufactures. Conversion of Pulse production operations is in process and will be completed during 2005. Customer requirements are being given top priority in conversion of current products and production operations. Products that qualify for the directive’s exemption, including those used in network infrastructure applications, will be converted to RoHS compliance only by customer request. For more on the six major elements of the plan, see the RoHS White Paper G029 on the Pulse Web site .

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