29 Mar
RoHS, WEEE and how it relates to PCB design

Environmental compliance is essential in all areas of engineering these days, and that includes the manufacture of printed circuit boards.

With complicated RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) rules now governing everything from torch batteries to obsolete semiconductors, component engineering is no longer a simple matter of sitting down and doing the job. Engineering companies large and small find themselves buried under reams of bureaucratic paperwork – with heavy penalties if they trip up.

Environmental compliance is defined as performing your job without harming the environment in or around your workplace. However, this is generally extended this to include the national and international directives as laid down by government and environmental bodies, such as RoHS/ WEEE directives.

The RoHS directive was set up by the EU in 2006, in line with Waste and Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation which ruled that companies producing electrical and electronic components, such as printed circuit boards, must take responsibility for the disposal and recycling of their products. Related components, such as obsolete semiconductors, were also included.

RoHS/WEEE compliance are largely interchangeable. However, whereas RoHS compliance governs disposal and recycling of electronic products, the WEEE directive also covers their manufacture, ensuring electronic and electrical products entering or being sold in the EU are free of hazardous chemicals. Because PCB designers often use recycled products to create new printed circuit boards, WEEE is usually considered part of RoHS.
With so much complex red tape, many small engineering companies have turned to us at Enventure Technologies for help. We offer a range of environmental compliance solutions, including issues raised by RoHS and WEEE legislation.

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