By July 2006, all manufacturers of electronic and electrical equipment sold in Europe must comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive of the European Union (EU) that mandates the reduction of six hazardous substances. The immediate repercussions of non-compliance include serious fines and damaged brand reputations.
“Companies that fail to comply with RoHS may face severe consequences,” said Paul Chan, regional manager, RSCS, UL Asia Pacific. “Aside from the potential loss of sales resulting from non-compliant products, these companies may also face criminal and civil penalties. Perhaps even more significant is the potential impact on brand and corporate image for those companies found to be non-compliant.”
UL's RSCS Program tests and monitors six substances targeted by the RoHS directive, including lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (Cr+6), polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). UL's RSCS Program helps companies self-declare compliance with the RoHS Directive.
The UL RSCS Program is designed to help companies from a number of industries impacted by RoHS, including appliances, components, consumer electronics, information technology equipment, telecommunications, plastics, and wire and cable.
Key elements of the UL RSCS program are:
Testing of Homogeneous Products - UL provides global testing of elements in the RoHS directive through a combination of UL facilities, UL qualified laboratories and UL qualified customer labs.
RCSC Database - UL offers companies a password-protected database to help them manage their restricted substances test data. The database is comprised of specific manufacturer-supplied parts numbers and the corresponding test data.
Surveillance of Global Supply Partners - UL's periodic testing of all products in the restricted substances database gives OEMs confidence in their ability to identify unauthorized substitutions.
In addition, UL provides surveillance audits of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and supplier quality management systems as a further quality check. RSCS gives suppliers an efficient way to self-declare compliance by testing samples with a respected third party and by providing the documentation to satisfy the requirements of multiple OEM customers. Suppliers participating in the UL RSCS Program are more attractive to OEMs by demonstrating their proactive commitment to manage compliance efforts.
“The EU RoHS Directive marks the first wave of the global trend towards regulating the use of restricted substances. OEMs and components suppliers are faced with many and more diverse compliance requirements. UL is well-positioned to assist them not only in understanding and meeting today's requirements but also in planning and building compliance in their processes for the future,” added Paul.
UL's technical competencies for restricted substances testing
Why more and more manufacturers are joining the UL RSCS program