You may have heard a lot about RoHS compliance but have been unsure of its ramifications to your line of work. This post will walk you through what RoHS is, what you need to do to become compliant and what effects this regulation has on power supply manufacturers worldwide.

What is RoHS Compliance? 

RoHS is an acronym that stands for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances.

RoHS legislation originally developed in the EU, restricts the use of hazardous materials commonly found in electrical and electronic products. Since July 1, 2006 all applicable products that are manufactured in, sold to or distributed in the EU must pass RoHS compliance. Since products are commonly sold or distributed to the EU or any other nation recognizing RoHS compliance, staying on top of the regulatory requirements is critical.

RoHS Compliance Categories

These are the current product categories that are impacted by RoHS legislation:

  • Category 1: Large household appliances: refrigerators, washers, stoves, air conditioner
  • Category 2: Small household appliances: vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, coffee makers, irons
  • Category 3: Computing & communications equipment: computers, printers, copiers, phones
  • Category 4: Consumer electronics: TVs, DVD players, stereos, video cameras
  • Category 5: Lighting: lamps, lighting fixtures, light bulbs
  • Category 6: Power tools: drills, saws, nail guns, sprayers, lathes, trimmers, blowers
  • Category 7: Toys and sports equipment: videogames, electric trains, treadmills
  • Category 10: Automatic dispensers: vending machines, ATM machines

Product categories 8 and 9 (which encompass medical devices as well as control and monitoring equipment) are not impacted by RoHS compliance requirements, however, there are currently discussions underway to include product categories 8 and 9 in the next round of RoHS reforms.

Hazardous Materials Included in RoHS Compliance

Below is a breakdown of the hazardous materials included in RoHS legislation, along with the maximum allowed levels for each:

  • Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm
  • Mercury (Hg): < 100 ppm
  • Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm
  • Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm
  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm
  • Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm

The Role of RoHS Compliance in Power Supply Manufacturing

As you can see from the above list, household appliances and consumer electronics are squarely in this legislation’s purview and virtually all electronics have power cords, batteries or some other power supply attached to them (such as a switch mode power supply). This means practically any power supply component could end up in the EU or another RoHS compliant nation and thus these standards need to be taken into account when assessing manufacturing processes. 

While there is no required labeling needed to differentiate RoHS compliant products from non-RoHS compliant products, many companies have taken it upon themselves to label their products as RoHS compliant and tout the fact that they are RoHS certified. 

China, Japan, Sweden, Turkey, South Korea and Ireland all have their own RoHS legislation in place and more countries are debating the implementation of their own RoHS legislation every year. 

From a logistical standpoint, as the number of RoHS countries increases and the global economy becomes more fluid, compliance becomes more economical as well. Instead of manufacturing RoHS compliant parts for countries that have RoHS legislation or segmenting supply chains to only distribute to non-RoHS countries, it is more feasible to only manufacture RoHS compliant products.

All catalog products manufactured by Pulse Electronics Power BU are RoHS compliant.