Restriction of Hazardous Substances
The word RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances, which has a great impact on the electronics industry. It is a directive that became European law in 2003 in an attempt to prevent hazardous materials from entering landfill sites. This directive (EU Directive 2002/95/EC) places a restriction on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical or electronic equipment sold or used. These substances are lead, mercury, cadmium,hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.
Why to do this?
The answer is to protect our environment for future generations. As our technology advancements increase and product costs come down, it becomes much easier to be a disposable society. The EU RoHS Directive is based on toxicological evidence of harm caused by the six banned substances. Regardless of the efforts & headaches along the way, Mother Nature stands to gain with compliance of RoHS norms. In addition to the high-tech trash problem, RoHS reflects contemporary research over the past 50 years in biological toxicology that acknowledges the long-term effects of low-level chemical exposure on populations. New testing is capable of detecting much smaller concentrations of environmental toxicants. Researchers are associating these exposures with neurological, developmental, and reproductive changes. So in order to protect future generations & provide them a healthy life, it is becoming essential to control the activities which affect the environment.EU directive 2002/95/EC of European Parliament & of the council on RoHS aims for this. The use of lead-free solders and components reduces risks to electronics industry workers in prototype and manufacturing operations. Contact with solder paste no longer represents the same health hazard as it used to.
RoHS project execution in RISHABH –How the team did this ?
The RoHS project team of Rishabh Instruments limited consisted of members from the departments of Purchase & stores, R&D, Engineering, Production & Quality Assurance.The main objective was to achieve the target of “All Rishabh products to be RoHS compliant in the year 2017-18”. The first step to achieve RoHS compliance was to move forward by passing compliance down to our supply chain. However, tha key challenge was to get assurance from the supply chain. We not only require suppliers to provide certificates of compliance but also to show supporting evidence such as test reports to prove that our products meet RoHS requirements. From the time raw materials are received until the time final products are distributed, both procurement and manufacturing has the potential to introduce non-compliances. The only complete way to know the product is compliant is to understand the composition of each part or component and thereby the materials used to manufacture these parts. RoHS project team identified 7003 number of components/raw materials under the scope of RoHS. These were needed to be evaluated & worked upon with suppliers to ensure compliance to the standard. Lot of hard work was done by the team first to understand the standard requirements, getting trained from authorities like SGS, meetings with seniors for understanding the expectations & then contacting the suppliers, evaluating their supply chain, obtaining the test certificates & validating the same. For this the team members worked together with defined project time chart detailed to the required activities & they fixed up the accountability for each team member for specific task. Regular reviews at defined time intervals & internal audits facilitated the activities to move in right direction. In case of doubt, team took an approach to get the parts validated from outside authorised certifying body. Challenge of creating awareness was handled by conducting training programs for concerned employees by the team. While the new material which is being procured is enforced to be RoHS compliant , all materials available in stores then were physically checked by the team to segregated for RoHS- Non RoHS status. The same is being consumed in a planned manner to reduce the obsolescence value. Post completion of all these activities was thorough audit, conducted in 2 phases in which the documents were verified, stores items were checked for their status & certificates were cross verified. The critical parts which were reported by auditors for probable risk of non compliance were sent to authorised certification body for certification. All these efforts resulted in timely completion of project & this was the big milestone for Rishabh which will be remembered as an example of excellent team work within the organisation. RISHABH is not only RoHS compliant but is best to sustain RoHS monitoring and control which is needed to be implemented to control risk in the supply chain. One time compliance is not the panacea for brand protection. RoHS compliance is a continuous process & periodic validation is the key to success.