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Saturday, March 27, 2010

RoHS


RoHS CE Mark on its way!?

It is looking likely that RoHS will become a "CE Mark Directive" over the coming months. This could have a massive, resource sapping, impact on manufacturers, importers and distributors, regardless of size.

While the proposed introduction of new product categories and restricted substances will no doubt grab the headlines the requirements of the RoHS CE Mark will have a massive impact on industry.

For example:

  • Manufacturers (and this includes anyone who sells RoHS products under their own brand, even if they did not actually manufacture them) will be obliged to draw up technical documents and carry out internal production controls toensure that what they place on the market does not contain any of the hazardous substances

  • Manufacturers will have to provide a declaration of conformity using the wording set out in the directive - this is an absolute statement of compliance, with no "so far as we are aware" or similar caveats allowed!

  • The technical documents and declarations of conformity will have to be kept for 10 years after a product has been placed on the market

  • Manufacturers will have to apply the CE mark to their products and ensure that the products are clearly marked to identify them as the manufacturer, giving a "single point" at which they can be contacted

  • Importers of products into the EU will have to ensure that the conformity assessment process has been carried out by the manufacturer, including checking that the required technical documents have been prepared and the product is appropriately marked

  • Importers will also have to include their details on the products and provide a contact address

  • In some circumstances, importers may also be required to carry out sample testing and keep a register of complaints and product recalls

  • Importers also have to keep copies of declarations of conformity for 10 years

  • Distributors (even of products where the manufacturer is in the EU) are also obliged to verify that the CE marking has been applied; that the required documents accompanying the product are in local languages and that the manufacturer and / or importer of the products have complied with their RoHS obligations (including collecting and keeping the declarations of conformity for 10 years).

It is clear that if, or when, these proposals are adopted RoHS compliance is potentially going to become a much more detailed and resource-intensive activity for everyone in the supply chain. While many manufacturers and distributors have put in place processes to achieve RoHS compliance under the current legislation, the way in which they have done this has largely been a matter of individual choice, with each company only needing to satisfy itself that its processes are sufficiently robust. In the future, the way compliance is achieved will be more closely prescribed and uniform as manufacturers, importers and distributors follow the rules set out in the new RoHS directive.

A significant feature of this new regime will be the need to provide declarations of conformity in a single, standard format - a huge shift from the myriad of different certificates, statements and compliance documents that abound under the existing legislation. While this will make life much more straightforward in one way, the required format imposes a higher standard than many of the documents that are provided today. The core statement of the declaration of conformity is that "the object of the declaration described above is in conformity with Directive...on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment" with no scope for qualifying statements such as "so far as we are aware", "to the best of our knowledge", "to the extent manufactured by us and not sub-contracted" and the like.

Manufacturers will need to re-visit their own production processes and those of any sub-contractors so that they can confidently provide the confirmatory declarations and apply the CE mark to their products and importers and distributors will have to check what manufacturers have done.

Yes, this will have a huge impact on industry!

Directive Decoder

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ABOUT

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 18, 2010 9:26 AM.

The previous post in this blog wasWEEE collection rate - still much to be done.

The next post in this blog is MEPs frustrated by slow progress on SVHCs.

Many more can be found on themain index page or by looking through the archives.





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