Companies May Not be Included in New Manufacturing Contracts if Their Employees Don't Know What RoHS and WEEE Stand For

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The deadline is staring us straight in the face and what is being done about it? Not enough, soon enough.

The upcoming deadline (July 1, 2006) for RoHS is upon us and what seems to be the response? There are plenty of people that don't even know what these acronyms mean. RoHS is a new European restriction on six hazardous substances.

The substances are Mercury, Cadmium, Lead, Chromium VI, Polybrominated Biphenyls,Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers. The other directive WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. This is a directive to mandate proper disposal of electronics equipment.These materials are common in the electronics industry. There is preparation by raw material vendors such as Kester, and Indium http://www.indium.com http://www.kester.com . There are supplies available for the transition. On the manufacturing end is there preparation? Precision Assemblies is one company that has prepared for the transition http://www.precisionassmblies.com.

But the problem is very few customers have even mentioned the deadline. Precision Assemblies can produce lead free assemblies, but that is not enough if no one is ordering them. If OEM companies do not start executing a plan the result is going to be disaster. According to Mr. Lasky's blog (http://www.indium.com/drlasky/entry.php?id=375)there is some evidence of this ignorance in the industry. A writer a popular PC Magazine was unaware of this issue.

The leaders of the industry should be more aware of issues than the general public. This is scary evidence that this event is going to cause some major upset. Billions of dollars of electronics are purchased by foreign countries. Companies are going to lose a lot of orders. There is going to be chaos if they do not prepare. This is not a simple issue where a hasty solution can be used. The high temperatures used to solder these parts can have devastating effects. (http://www.pbfree.com/pdf/ica_authored_papers/changing_to_pbfree.pdf).

As with any new procedure much care must be taken to assure no damage is being caused. Companies in the U.S. need to have the ability to manufacture RoHS compliant products. The world is a more competitive place as it gets smaller. Companies cannot afford to pass up contracts due to lack of preparation. Most foreign counties are adopting a similar policy to the European Union. China for instance is implementing a policy that has the same restrictions. Please prepare yourself if you want your company to survive. If you wish to educate yourself on these directives click on these links http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2003/l_037/l_03720030213en00190023.pdf and http://www.dti.gov.uk/sustainability/pdfs/finalweee.pdf

Best regards, Nathan Warren

Owner, Precision Assemblies

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