Karl's Tech Talk: Green Legislation and the Impact on Electronic Materials and Processes


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In a previous Tech Talk, I pointed out that “green” and “environmentally friendly” are illdefined terms. In general, these terms refer to manufacturing that involves the replacement of toxic substances with less toxic materials, the elimination of materials or processing steps, less consumption of chemicals (i.e., more efficient or higher yield processing), reduction of water use, reduction of energy use, less space requirement (i.e., smaller equipment footprint), recycling, and on-site recovery of materials. The following list highlights critical regulations that impact electronic manufacturing. A. An overview of regulations that impact materials and processes used in the fabrication of electronic devices.

RoHS: The RoHS Directive stands for “the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.” This directive bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. Manufacturers need to understand the requirements of RoHS to ensure that their products, and their components, comply.

WEEE: Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This regulation addresses the disposal and recycling of electronic equipment.

REACH: Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18. December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine.

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