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Impact of RoHS

April 18, 2007

If any one of you has had the opportunity of attending any major electronics trade show across the Asia Pacific region, you cannot remain untouched by the impact that the RoHS (removal of hazardous substances) directive has had on suppliers.

The RoHS directive, which aims to restrict the level of hazardous substances used within new electronic and electrical equipment in the European Union (EU), is said to have had a “huge effect” on the industry so far, according to an expert.

It reminds me of a discussion I had with Man Yue, said to the seventh largest supplier of aluminum electrolytic capacitors late last year. Now Man Yue is huge and has the capability to invest in the expensive machinery required for RoHS.

Man Yue’s competitive edge is strengthened by its compliance with RoHS. It has been RoHS compliant since Q2-2004. The supplier had placed orders for ICPE-9000 machine, which was scheduled for delivery by end of 2006. This machine grinds the capacitor into powder and checks for banned substances.

The spokesman told me Man Yue has a RoHS lab as well. Man Yue has four XRF machines. It was planning to purchase the GCMS-QP2010 Plus, another high-end testing machine, which checks for banned substances. It will purchase the UVmini-1240 machine as well.

Now, I understand that investing in such machinery needs substantial amount of capital. Having seen suppliers across Asia Pac at close up, I hope many have managed to make the transition to buying and maintaining expensive machinery to check for banned substances.

I haven’t seen any leading articles on RoHS in India so far. However, I’m sure that the Indian manufacturers of electronics products have also made the shift.

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