I attended the IPC/Sodertec RoHS Conference in Malmo, Sweden on April 25-27. It was the last major European RoHS Conference before RoHS goes into effect on 1 July 2006. My workshop on Rapid WEEE/RoHS Compliance was well received. My paper The Procrastinator's Plan for WEEE and RoHS Compliance, was given the unofficial prize for most humorous title. However, all agreed that the subject addressed a crying need.
Interesting things I learned?
1. According to Keith Sweatman, > 100 PPM of lead in SAC alloy inhibits tin pest. Since tin alloy will usually have this much lead as a contaminant, tin pest in SAC may not be an issue. Daniel Vetter, did report tin pest in high purity SAC, however.
2. The category 8 (medical) and 9 (monitoring and control) RoHS exemptions were discussed by ERA, to company the EU has asked to review the exemptions. I was again struck by the fact that all exemptions exist for a reason. These two categories were exempted for safety concerns. The EU doesn't want mission critical medical or control instuments failing because of RoHS compliance. From the flavor of the talk on this topic, I expect the exemption will exist for some years yet.
I still believe strongly that those who have cavalierly interpreted category 9 to include non-mission critical devices like a hand-held volt meters are going to get stung.
3. The REACH Proposal
was discussed. This proposal gives greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. Manufacturers and importers will be required to gather information on the properties of their substances, which will help them manage them safely, and to register the information in a central database.
I expect REACH will be to materials suppliers what WEEE/RoHS is to product suppliers.
4. The Copenhagen-Malmo bridge (shown in photo) is one ofthe longest in the world.
5. Swedish and Danish are hard to learn to speak. I can usually make myself understood in simple French, German, Italian and Spanish phrases. So far my efforts in Scandinavian (inlcuding Finnish) languages would rank as one of the greatest linguistic disastors in history!