The RoHS directive (RoHS = Restriction of Hazardous Substances) defines provisions for restriction of the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic devices to protect human health and the environment, including the environmentally sound recycling and disposal of equipment. Germany has decoupled the RoHS directive from the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act and implemented it in the form of the Electrical Substances Ordinance (ElektroStoffV).
As of 22 July 2019, the so-called open scope of application of the RoHS directive will apply; this means that for the first time all electrical and electronic devices will fall within the RoHS scope of application unless explicitly excluded from the directive. Not only will the scope of application be extended as of 22 July; this also applies to the list of substances to be restricted. An overview of which devices fall within the scope of application and which do not is available here:
The RoHS scope of application includes
- electrical and electronic equipment dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields for its proper functioning, and
- equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields designed for operation with an alternating current no higher than 1,000 volts or a direct current no higher than 1,500 volts.
- It is important to note that electrical currents or electromagnetic fields are required to fulfil at least one of the intended functions. This also includes
- all cables with a rated voltage of less than 250 volts used as connecting or extension cables to connect electrical or electronic equipment to a wall outlet or to connect two or more pieces of electrical or electronic equipment.
RoHS does not apply, for example, to:
- arms, ammunition and war material
- space equipment
- large stationary industrial tools
- large-scale stationary plants
- means of transport for carriage of passengers or goods
- patially movable machinery
- active, implantable medical devices
- certain photovoltaic modules or
- equipment for research and development purposes.
RoHS is intended to ensure that electrical devices at the time of first sale, including cables and spare parts, do not contain any of the substances or do not contain more than the maximum concentration values in homogeneous materials listed in Annex II to the RoHS directive. This results, for instance, in the following
obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors (excerpt!):
- Manufacturers must ensure, inter alia, that their equipment has been designed and manufactured in conformity with RoHS. They prepare the necessary technical documents and carry out internal production controls. If the aforementioned procedures demonstrate that the equipment meets the relevant requirements, then the manufacturer is required to issue a EU conformity declaration and to affix the CE marking to the finished product. The technical documentation and EU declarations of conformity are required to be kept in custody for a period of 10 years from the date of first sale.
- Importers may only engage in first sale of RoHS compliant equipment in the European Union and are required to ensure in advance, inter alia, that the manufacturer has carried out appropriate conformity assessment procedures, affixed the CE marking to the equipment and provided the necessary accompanying documentation.
- Distributors must verify, inter alia, that the equipment bears the CE marking and is accompanied by the necessary documents in a language that is readily understandable by consumers and other end-users in the member state in which the equipment is first sold.
Depending on whether you are a manufacturer, importer or distributor, further obligations will arise particularly with regard to the information on the product, the packaging or in the documents, with regard to the withdrawal or recall of products if the latter are not RoHS-compliant or with regard to cooperation with public authorities or as far as your responsibility is concerned. In addition, fulfillment service providers and other intermediaries may also be affected by RoHS products if they assume the same obligations as the dealers. In Germany, the level of sanctions for non-compliance is based on the ElektroStoffV or the rates laid down in the Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz (Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act)/Product Safety Act.
take-e-way and TMK will assist you:
TMK Retail Service & Consulting GmbH, an affiliate of take-e-way, will advise you free of charge on the subject of RoHS and, in cooperation with accredited testing institutes, will offer you services specially tailored for dealers in three stages so that you can do justice to your responsibilities as a manufacturer, importer or distributor in business terms:
- Document check on the basis of component certificates, test reports and other evidence (quick check as to whether the certificates submitted to you are trustworthy and correspond to the products supplied)
- RoHS screening by accredited testing institutes (cost-effective RFA method provides clues as to whether and where pollutants are present in the product in accordance with RoHS)
- Chemical analysis (If conspicuous results of RoHS screening or near-limit values are obtained, this will be followed by precise chemical analyses to determine the actual substance concentrations)
If you have any questions, Boris Berndt of TMK will be pleased to assist you: call +49/40/54090410-8 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.