For global manufacturing businesses to thrive, it’s critical to meet the ever-evolving Design for Environment (DfE) regulations that help reduce the overall impact electronic products have on human health and the environment.
Failure to comply with environmental regulations can have a detrimental effect on a manufacturer’s bottom line due to costly scrap and frequent redesigns, which can result in poor customer satisfaction and even bans on selling products into regulated markets.
To avoid these expensive problems and enable responsible product stewardship, manufacturers and their supply chain partners need to precisely identify, track and control a growing list of high-risk substances. Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is a law that originated in the European Union (EU) in 2002 restricting the use of six specific dangerous and hazardous substances in consumer electronic products. RoHS has had two updates since its introduction.
RoHS 2 was introduced in 2013 and covered the same six substances but created additional clarity around the legal definitions and improved regulatory control. The latest update, RoHS 3, goes into effect in July of 2019 and bans the use of chemicals called phthalates that soften plastics in all electrical and electronic equipment, cables, and spare parts that may come in contact with humans.
As component distributors race to address the new restrictions, their customers (manufacturers) must have access to material declaration information to ensure they can source and buy parts that are compliant with RoHS 3. With large distributed supply chains, U.S. manufacturers must prepare to meet the new regulations. Here are a few key tips to help manufacturers meet the challenge:
Many global manufacturers use a wide variety of siloed tools to manage product information, but cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) systems are designed to aggregate the entire design, automate supply chain collaboration and provide secure access anytime and anywhere around the world. Additionally, PLM systems are connected to online component distributor databases, which speeds the process of identifying and sourcing environmentally compliant parts based on current market availability.
These connections to component databases provide engineering and purchasing teams with the latest compliance details to prevent sourcing issues during the early design and prototyping stages.
For manufacturers that have yet to finish preparing for RoHS, the three tips will help provide a quick assessment. This assessment will help impacted companies and teams determine the necessary actions to ensure compliance.
With a single system to manage and track all parts and assemblies, manufacturers can stay ahead of their competitors and deliver compliant products fast, effectively and safely.
Antony John is director of product management for Arena Solutions.
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