What is RoHS? Why RoHS Compliance Testing is important?



What is RoHS? Why RoHS Compliance Testing is important?

Let us first try to understand what is RoHS and why is it considered to be important. RoHS initially stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. It is also known as the Directive 2002/95/EC. It originates directly from the European Union and is framed solely to restrict the application of some hazardous and dangerous that is found in most electrical and electronic products. The RoHS testing is considered to be important because some restricted materials about which this article has mentioned below are hazardous to the environment. They are mostly known to pollute landfills badly and they are even considered dangerous in regard to the occupational exposure happening around manufacturing and disposal. The RoHS Compliance Testing is now considered to be one of the most important standard procedure for mainly big or budding manufacturers, sellers, distributors as well as also the recyclers of electrical and electronic components. It even includes the equipment sold as well as used in the European Union.

The EU RoHS Directives are set up basically to restrict or limit the use of dangerous and hazardous substances primarily in all the electrical and electronic materials. They also include medical devices as well as control and monitoring equipment. This directive also acts as a safeguard by providing substitution and safer/ preserved alternatives. This directive is designed to be applied to the equipment which operates or function from as much as up to 1000 VAC and 1500 VAC. It also contains a series of eleven sections which comprises electric bulbs, household luminaries, medical devices and control and monitoring equipment.

Hence there are some laboratories set up which helps in assisting the customers to make sure about the RoHS compliance. They specialize in carrying out quick, trustworthy and reliable RoHS testing. On top of that, they also analyze the component materials so that the different varying levels of the restricted substances are verified. Most of these laboratories are equipped with technologies to test RoHS in case of lead, mercury, and cadmium as well as hexavalent chromium. They also have the responsibility to try and determine whether the total quantity of Bromine is less as compared to the highest limit for the compound which is the richest in Bromine or vice versa. Hence, it helps to determine whether the material meets RoHS requirements or not.

Some of the capabilities of laboratories doing RoHS Compliance Testing are

  • Testing products – the major component materials in products are tested.
  • Evaluation of some hazardous chemicals – these chemicals could include lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium as well as bromine.
  • Various improved testing methods.

Few of the most common methods that testing labs use to determine the concentrations of restricted RoHS samples inside test tubes are – spectroscopy as well as wet chemistry methods.

RoHS usually has locked aside some set quantity of the maximum concentration values for the restricted substances of each. These values are usually fixed at 0.1 per cent however excluding cadmium which has a limit of around 0.01 per cent

RoHS Directive

The reason why there is a need to do RoHS compliance testing is due to the fact that several directives have been made. Hence, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive or simply the RoHS Directive came into effect from the 1st of July in the year 2006.

This set of directives was initially drafted in the European Union with the aim that it would ensure and protect the health of humans as well as the environmental conditions from hazardous substances. This is done by restricting the application of mainly six poisonous and dangerous chemicals in basically the electrical and electronic products.

These hazardous chemicals that are kept in check are –

Mercury (Hg): 100ppm

Hexavalent Chromium (Cr (VI)): 1000 ppm

Cadmium (Cd): 100ppm

Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): 1000 ppm

Lead (Pb) : 1000ppm

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): 1000 ppm

Bis(2- Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): 1000ppm

Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): 1000ppm

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): 1000ppm

Disobutyl phthalate (DIBP): 1000ppm

To declare that any product is RoHS compliant, several RoHS compliance testing is done to detect the presence of some certain elements. Apart from that, the levels and quantities of the above hazardous chemical species are checked in the homogenous ingredients of the product. To a great degree, these test labs are expected to perform an initial screen test of RoHS with a view to examine if there are supposedly any considerable amounts of the above substances if required.

Usually, these lab tests use a combination of XRF, FTIR, SEM/EDX as well as sometimes AAS to check out whether the product is RoHS compliant or not

The Update in RoHS Directive

There was an update made to the initial RoHS directive after which the RoHS2 came into effect from the month of July in the year 2011. This new set of directives now let off a number of materials along with some products from the conditions that were laid forward in the earlier directive. The RoHS2 also incorporate some additional restrictions which were launched on December 31st in the same year 2011. The official name of these new directives RoHS2 is titled Directive 2011/65/EU.

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