ROHS Certification

 

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive is a set of criteria formulated by the European Union (EU) to regulate the use of toxic materials in electrical and electronic devices, systems, and toys. The Directive, also known as 2002/95/EC, is effective July 1, 2006.

The RoHS Directive applies to six specific substances:
Lead Mercury Cadmium Hexavalent chromium Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs) Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

Lead is found in solder, in the platings for electronic component wires and printed-circuit foil, and in lead-acid rechargeable cells and batteries. Mercury is found in some high-intensity light bulbs and ultraviolet (UV) lamps, and was once common in cells, batteries and high-voltage rectifier tubes. Cadmium is found in older rechargeable batteries for small appliances and devices such as electric razors, cell phones and handheld radio transceivers. Hexavalent chromium exists in a wide variety of electronic components. PBBs and PBDEs are flame retardants used in plastics and in the manufacture of fabric coatings.

The RoHS Directive does not apply to batteries, tools, high-melting-point solders, the glass used in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and fluorescent tubes, mercury-vapor light bulbs, ceramic components, and certain alloys for specialized applications. While 2002/95/EC applies specifically to the nations in the EU, similar measures have been proposed or adopted in several other countries.

Benefits of ROHS Certification

Health benefits
  • RoHS helps reduce damage to people and the environment in third-generation countries where much of today's "high-tech trash" ends up.
  • The use of lead-free solders and components has provided immediate health benefits to electronics industry workers in prototype and manufacturing operations. Contact with solder paste no longer represents the same health-hazard it did before.
Reliability concerns
  • Contrary to the predictions of widespread component failure and reduced reliability, RoHS's first anniversary (July 2007) passed with little fanfare.
  • RoHS printed circuit board finishing technologies are surpassing traditional formulations in fabrication thermal shock, solder paste printability, contact resistance, and aluminum wire bonding performance and nearing their performance in other attributes.
Flow properties and assembly
  • One of the major differences between lead-containing and lead-free solder pastes is the "flow" of the solder in its liquid state. Lead-containing solder has higher surface tension, and tends to move slightly to attach itself to exposed metal surfaces that touch any part of the liquid solder. Lead-free solder conversely tends to stay in place where it is in its liquid state, and attaches itself to exposed metal surfaces only where the liquid solder touches it.

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