RoHS: Will the electronic component industry be shaken again?

The RoHS directives may get a some revisions from the European Union principals that have put the directives into place. Some of the expected changes will come in the form of exclusions that were formerly allowed and additional banned substances. The EU’s Environment Committee and the Council of Ministers is expected to decide within the next 12 months what changes are made and the timetable for them to be put into place.

What does this mean to end users of electronic components? For now, not much – but expect to see changes in the way that RoHS compliant products are labeled in the future. One potential change would expand the use of the European mark of conformity (CE) to include RoHS compliant products. This one change would force the entire industry to adjust the markings on all components manufactured after the date required by the EU.

Many wonder why the directives that have been passed in the EU effect all components manufactured across the globe. The key reason is financial. It is easier to comply with the progressive EU requirements than to produce different versions of components for each region. It is also easier to produce one component for world-wide use than more than one for each region. Another reason is that while other regions have not passed their own RoHS initiatives, the consensus is that what is good for the EU is good enough for the rest of the world.

Now we wait for their decision.