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Managing and Qualifying RoHS and REACH suppliers

REACH Compliance

The aim of RoHS is to reduce the waste produced by electronic devices and the electronic sector, it is not limited only to that.

RoHS and REACH regulations apply to businesses that produce equipment or consumer parts that use hazardous materials in the process of manufacturing. RoHS and REACH Compliance are two rules that companies should follow if they choose to sell in China, European Union, Korea, and cities in the United States and Canada. As a consequence, it’s important to determine which suppliers are compliant.
REACH Compliance
Importance of REACH Compliance

What do RoHS and REACH mean?

RoHS is an acronym for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. Its objective is to address the worldwide issue of discarded consumer electronics. Many electronic types of equipment are destroyed and wind up in landfills, creating threats to the environment. This directive covers the production of different devices without the use of six dangerous chemicals:

Lead, cadmium and mercury, hexavalent chromium that is used in Chrome plating, chromate coatings, and primers, PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls). And PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), flame retardants in plastic.

REACH is an acronym for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals.

Chemical manufacturers should record all safety information for all chemicals they produce.

Safety information for larger volume substances and other chemicals of significance are examined by professionals from member countries and the European Agencies.

Authorization: Chemicals considered to be of “extremely serious importance” would be removed in favour of safer options.

Chemical Restrictions: Compounds may be completely prohibited or their use prohibited in other aspects.

This is a law of the European Union. REACH’s primary goal is to address chemical substance manufacturing and consumption, along with their potential consequences on health and the environment. All businesses that produce or import chemical substances into the European Union in amounts of one tonne or more per year are obliged under REACH to register these chemicals with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA). Producers, distributors, and consumers are all required to communicate chemical information throughout the distribution chain so everyone is aware of the health hazards associated with the products they supply.

Carcinogens, reproductive poisons, mutagens, bio-accumulative, and harmful chemicals are some of the substances of “very high concern.”

The difference between RoHS and REACH

The main difference between RoHS and REACH is that RoHS restricts substances found in electronics and REACH is restricted to the six dangerous chemicals. REACH, on the other side, refers to all chemicals, including those used in the manufacturing of the product. Materials, paints, solvents, chemicals, and other materials fit into that category.

How they work together

RoHS and REACH have a complicated and supportive relationship. It’s possible that RoHS-compliant equipment is really not REACH-compliant, and vice – versa. It’s possible that a product would be obligated to comply with both standards. RoHS is focused on the electronics industry, while REACH is similar in design concept but has a broader spectrum.

Supplier management and qualification

Qualification of the vendor

It’s hard to tell which suppliers are actually in compliance with all these regulations, and which ones do not have to be. Smaller vendors might lack quality management and have a limited understanding of RoHS and Reach. It’s probable they have had no clue of what it is. Without verification, vendors might claim that almost all of the components they receive from their suppliers are compliant. Instead, they may claim that since they are REACH compliant, they also are RoHS compliant.

TIP: To ensure RoHS and REACH compliance, each supplier must provide a Confirmation of Compliance (CoC) stating that the products in concern are RoHS and REACH compliant. A certificate of compliance (CoC) is a written document, a sign, or a general affirmation of conformance with a company’s product category, materials, or methodology.

No Confirmation of Conformity

If a CoC isn’t provided, inspecting a supplier or reviewing previous inspections is yet another way to make sure they’re abiding by the rules.

Another approach is to obtain the material disclosure from the supplier. A material statement is a list of all substances found in a component, item, or method. This list could be matched to the RoHS and REACH standards. The product could be considered compliant if no banned substances are detected.

It’s essential that the vendor provide a written statement explaining how each item complies with the ROHS or REACH standards. When the product is delivered, this should be subjected to a first item inspection (FAI) to ensure it meets the standards. An FAI is being used to evaluate a product’s unique features or attributes. It’s being used to check for the presence of hazardous materials in this scenario.

Some vendors think that REACH and ROHS are exclusively relevant to electronics.

One common misconception is that RoHS and REACH only pertain to electronics. Although it is accurate that the aim of RoHS is to reduce the waste produced by electronic devices and the electronic sector, it is not limited to that. Paints and pigments, glassware in television, PVC (Vinyl) cables and photographic products, and other metal components in electronics all should comply with RoHS standards. RoHS compliance is defined by the presence of the six dangerous chemicals.

Some items may not be subjected to the RoHS and REACH acceptance tests. Non-parts like digital copies (code, text, art, and photos, etc.) and space holders fall in that category. All these also reserve space in 3D modeling services and other CAD models for cable entry. 

To sell items in China, the European Union, Korea, and parts of the United States and Canada, RoHS and REACH compliance is essential. It’s important to know which vendors are compliant. Confirm that both you and your suppliers are aware of the rules and all components that are in compliance.

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