SMTA International Conference Proceedings

European Union RoHS Recast – Implication For Exemption And Substance Review

Authors: Adam Wheeler, Jackie Adams, Marie Cole, Curtis Grosskopf, Jeff Lagler, Sophia Lau, Dale Wilhite, and Kurt Van der Herten
Company: IBM Corporation
Date Published: 10/13/2013   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: The European Union’s (EU) Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS) [1] took effect on July 1, 2006 and restricted the use of six hazardous substances in the manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market in the EU. When the Directive was first announced in 2003 there were permitted exemptions to allow the use of these otherwise restricted substances in certain product applications. The RoHS Directive then required the EU Commission to review allowed exemptions at least every four years to determine whether a suitable replacement substance or alternative technology had been developed that would allow the EU Commission to phase-out and eliminate the allowed exemptions.

When the RoHS Recast (EU Directive 2011/65/EU) [2] took effect on July 21, 2011, there were numerous changes in content and procedure critical to the electronics industry. In terms of content, the substance restrictions will be gradually expanded to cover additional types of EEE. One significant change in procedure is related to the extension of substance exemptions. Under the original directive, exemptions remained available until a review determined that viable replacement technologies could justify their elimination. The Recast states that exemptions are now granted for a maximum validity period. The validity period established for those exemptions without existing expiration dates is five years from the entry into force of the Recast, concluding on July 21, 2016. These exemptions may be renewed only upon timely request, and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Industry must submit technologically valid requests by January 2015 for all applications of all exemptions that require an extension past July 2016. Even if a petition is submitted for an exemption, any possibly granted extension would only cover those applications under that exemption for which supporting data has been provided.

This paper will discuss the strategy employed in assessing key remaining exemptions affecting server and storage business along with the viability of replacement materials. This paper will take into consideration the capabilities of the electronics supply chain partners and the capability of transitioning to eliminate the need for those corresponding exemptions. For those exemptions that do not have viable replacement materials, partnering with the supply chain and industry organizations will be critical to present sufficient evidence for their extension and to ensure that all applications of an exemption requiring an extension are covered. Due to the broad nature of certain exemptions, it can also be expected that they may be subdivided to revise their scope. This paper will also include lessons learned from the previous elimination of exemptions as it will be critical to apply those learned strategies as additional exemptions are sure to expire.

Key Words: 

RoHS, exemptions, Recast, environmental regulations

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