With increasing concerns on the overuse of hazardous materials in the electronic and electrical products and their environmental impact, several stricter regulations are being imposed by leading governmental organizations across the world. The RoHS compliance is one such important regulation that is being imposed on the utilization of hazardous materials in the electronics and electrical products. Are you intrigued to know how this compliance works or what are its benefits? This post discusses them in detail.
A Brief Introduction to RoHS Compliance
Originally developed in European Union, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, strictly prohibits the use of hazardous materials in the electronic products. This directive is applicable for all electronics products being sold in EU countries after July 1, 2006. Any OEM who manufacturers and sells electronic products or components such as printed circuit boards (PCBs) directly to European clients or support the EU-based integrators, distributors, and resellers must adhere to this compliance.
Know About the Materials Restricted Under RoHS Compliance
The RoHS compliance has restricted the use of six materials in the PCBs and electronic items. They are Mercury (Hg), Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and phthalates such as BBP, DEHP, BBP, and DIBP.
The compliance also specifies the maximum levels of these restricted materials in the PCBs and other electronics items.
1. Mercury (Hg): < 100 ppm
2. Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm
3. Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm
4. Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm
5. Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm
6. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm
7. Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm
8. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm
9. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm
10. Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm
Features of RoHS-Compliant Assembly Services
Today, many PCB assembly services are utilizing processes and technologies that help them manufacture RoHS-compliant PCB assemblies. The following are a few features that help distinguish these services from others.
• Lead-free Surface Finishes: Many manufacturers are nowadays using lead-free surface finishes such as lead-free HASL, ENIG, Electroplated Nickel and Soft (Bondable), Hard Gold Immersion Tin (White Tin), and Organic Solderability Preservatives (OSP).
• RoHS Compliant Substrate Materials: The choice of RoHS material depends on the requirement of the application. There are materials such as Isola IS410, and Polyclad 370HR that assure standard electrical performance; however, materials such as Isola FR415 and Polyclad Getek assure high electrical performance at low loss.
• Primary and Secondary Services: It has been observed that many RoHS PCB assembly service providers specialized in primary and secondary services such as lead trimming, lead-free wave soldering, and many more.
What are the Benefits of Using RoHS-Compliant PCBs?
The benefits offered by lead-free and RoHS-compliant PCBs are various. The following are a few of them:
• Helps Reduce Metal Poisoning: As the technology landscape is fast evolving, many customers are discarding their obsolete electronic equipment in landfills. Equipped with various hazardous materials, these equipment lead to severe poisoning. Although recycling is being performed, still the equipment may have hazardous substances in them. The RoHS directive has forced OEMs reduce their dependence on hazardous substances. This has helped reduce the impact of these materials on the environment, and people working with them.
• Improved Product Safety: With RoHS compliance being adopted by many prominent electronics manufacturers in EU and the US, now users can be assured that the product they are using is lead and mercury free. As a result, the sales and popularity of the products from these manufacturers has tremendously increased.
• Improved Thermal Properties: It is proven that lead-free PCBs have excellent thermal properties than their leaded counterparts. They can easily withstand temperatures between -45°C to 145°C. Nowadays, PCB manufacturers are using specialized halogen-free laminates that have further helped improve their thermal stability up to 300 °C.
The benefits of RoHS-compliant PCBs symbolize a green future. Thus, it is important that you approach a trusted RoHS-compliant assembly services provider such as Accelerated Assemblies. The company follows processes that are audited regularly and certified as chemical free.