Manufacturers stay ahead of deadlines for WEEE, RoHS

July 21, 2005
Manufacturing companies that sell products in Europe are keeping a close watch on the calendar, making sure their goods meet environmental mandates on recycling

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) and hazardous materials RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Waste Directive). Here's a snapshot of what some companies are doing.

  • Vicor Corp., an electronics manufacture in Andover, Mass., says all its devices will meet RoHS requirements by the end of this year. Vicor will use components with different lead finishes and encapsulants and lead-free assembly materials and techniques. And once the company has confirmed a family of devices meets RoHS, it will post testing and reliability data on its Web site (vicorpower.com).
  • Goal Semiconductor, Montreal, says all of its Flash 8051-based microcontrollers meet RoHS requirements. Its Versa families of microcontrollers, low-cost drop-in replacements for industry-standard MCUs pass RoHS mandates as well.
  • LightPath Technologies, Orlando, Fla., makes lenses and aspheric optics for bar-code scanners, endoscopes and fiber-optic systems. It's developed ECO550, a lead-free glass that delivers the same performance as leaded glass. Certain lenses now come in ECO550, and more 350XXX standard lenses will be available by September.
  • Analog Devices Inc., Norwood, Mass., a maker of electronic components, is getting the lead out of all its products. For example, terminal connections will be matte tin and solder balls will be a tin/silver/copper alloy. ADI developed a molding compound and die-attach epoxy that withstands the 255°C reflow temperature needed by some lead-free solder paste and terminal finishes.
  • ITT Industries, which includes Cannon Connectors, is now using matte tin over nickel as the standard finish. The material reduced the risk of whiskers over bright pure tin. Connectors will also carry a "GP" (for green product) next to a printed date code. The company is still working on recycling plans for keypads and interface controls that fall under WEEE.
  • Phoenix Contact. the industrial automation in Middletown, Pa., says 98% of its PCB-mounted Combicon line meets RoHS and are lead-free according to the definition in the RoHS Directive. Many newer products (launched since 2003) have met RoHS directives since inception. The company has set up a Web site (http://www.phoenixcon.com/ROHS/) to show companies what must be done to manufacture RoHS-compliant products. For example, lead-free solder joints are duller, so inspection and quality teams must know these visual differences. And lead-free printed-circuit boards will have a white, tin (or other alloy) finish.
  • Hitachi, the Japanese electronics manufacturer says it will eliminate the six restricted RoHS substances from about 70 products by the end of fiscal 2004. The company has developed and been selling three RoHS-compliant straightfluorescent-tube lamps in Europe, U.S., Asia, and Japan. The company also added indium to solder comprised of tin, silver and copper to improve reliability and workability.

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