RoHS (Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
On 2 January 2013 the new recast version of the RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU will enter into force. The existing RoHS Directive of 2002/95/EC will be repealed on 3 January 2013. The new RoHS Directive will apply to all electrical and electronic equipment. The new revised Directive will extend the scope of the old Directive to cover all electrical and electronic devices which generate, transfer or are dependent on electricity or electromagnetic fields in order to achieve at least one of their intended functions.
Eleven categories of equipment are covered by the new RoHS Directive (previously 10 categories). The 11th category covers equipment not covered by the other categories. The new Directive also makes it clear that certain so-called grey zone products such as cables and spare parts are also covered.
This Directive applies to electrical and electronic equipment falling into categories 1–7 and 10 set out in Annex IA to Directive No 2002/96/EC (WEEE), and to light bulbs and luminaires in households.
- Large household appliances
- Small household appliances
- IT and telecommunications equipment
- Consumer equipment
- Lighting equipment
- Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary tools)
- Toys, leisure and sports equipment
- Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)
- Monitoring and control instruments
- Automatic dispensers
The RoHS Directive forbids the use of mercury, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium and the flame retardants PBB and PBDE in new electrical and electronic products released onto the market after 1 July 2006. The RoHS limits are 0.1 per cent by weight in homogeneous materials. For cadmium, the limit is 0.01 per cent by weight in homogeneous materials.
Further information regarding RoHS limits and WEEE can be found below.
Phased RoHS compliance:
2014 – Medical devices and monitoring and control instruments
2016 – In-vitro diagnostic medical devices
2017 – Industrial monitoring and control instruments
2019 – Electrical and electronic equipment in the new category 11
Equipment not covered by the new RoHS Directive:
- Equipment for the protection of the member states’ prime interests within the security area
- Equipment designed to be sent out into space
- Equipment which is specifically designed, and is to be installed, as part of another type of equipment that is excluded or does not fall within the scope of this Directive, which can fulfil its function only if it is part of that equipment, and which can be replaced only by the same specifically designed equipment
- Large-scale stationary industrial tools
- Large-scale fixed installations
- Means of transport for persons or goods, excluding electric two- wheeled vehicles which are not type-approved
- Non-road mobile machinery made available exclusively for professional use
- Active implantable medical devices
- Photovoltaic panels
- Equipment specifically designed solely for the purposes of research and development only made available on a business-to-business basis
The list of restricted substances and their maximum concentrations in homogenous material, as per the new Directive is listed in Annex II. The revision of the RoHS Directive has not introduced restrictions on any new substances in electrical or electronic equipment. The Directive does limit the use of mercury, cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium and the flame retardants PBB and PBDE. The maximum concentrations are 0.1% by weight in homogeneous materials. For cadmium, the limit is 0.01% by weight in homogeneous materials.
As the new Directive comes into force several of the previous exemptions will be revoked. It is very important to keep track of the when these exemptions cease to be valid.
The recast of the RoHS Directive has introduced compulsory CE marking on all electrical and electronic equipment to demonstrate compliance with the legislation. Each product released onto the market must be equipped with an EU compliance assurance and an explanation of which legislative demands the CE marking refers to.
The EU compliance assurance should describe the product, the manufacturer/importer and the release date. Manufacturers and importers may use harmonized standards to ensure that the products comply with the RoHS Directive. The technical documentation must be made available as soon as the product has been put on the market and be kept available for 10 years.