Electronics Production | November 30, 2010

Timeline for HFR/PVC-free computers

New report clarifies remaining issues to be resolved and defines a timeline for eliminating HFRs and PVC from desktop and notebook computers.
The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) has published a whitepaper that reports progress made by its members toward removing halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) and PVC from desktop and laptop computers. The paper also clarifies remaining issues to be resolved and defines a timeline for eliminating HFRs and PVC from these products.

“We worked closely with our computer OEM members and key suppliers to track the advancements made to date, and found that there has been significant progress,” said Bill Bader, CEO of iNEMI. “All reported that they had started shipping products in the second half of 2010 in which most of the major components were HFR-free. In addition, connectors and sockets are expected to be PVC-free in products shipping in the first quarter of 2011.
“There are some key challenges remaining before we can get to the point that notebook and desktop products are free of HFRs,” continued Bader, “but our OEM members have committed to a date to make that happen, and iNEMI is supporting their efforts with several project activities.”

Bader says iNEMI’s primary focus is on developing — through lifecycle analysis and performance testing — an understanding of the electrical, mechanical and safety aspects of HFR and PVC alternatives.

“Dell is committed to phasing out HFRs and PVC as part of our drive toward adopting environmentally preferable materials in our products,” said Albert Tsang, Dell environmental affairs. “The work and interactions invested by iNEMI and the project members clearly demonstrate the importance of working together to decrease the impact on our environment.”

“With the transition to low-halogen components and assemblies in our products, we needed to assure we maintained quality, safety and performance,” said Rob J. Taylor, director of environmental affairs at Lenovo. “During 2010, Lenovo has made a lot of progress and will have a significant number of low-halogen offerings to announce in the 2011 timeframe. iNEMI, along with many OEMs and their partners, have worked together to develop best practices as well as to identify many technical challenges with the transition to low-halogen.”

“Sustainability is a core value of DSM, the global chemical leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index,” said Dr. Tamim Sidiki, global marketing manager, DSM Engineering Plastics. “The elimination of hazardous substances is high on our agenda, along with our newly introduced bio-based performance materials, recycling programs and eco-efficiency solutions. DSM offers entirely halogen and red phosphorous free solutions for connectors and sockets as well as cable and wires. We strongly believe that the conversion to halogen-free electronics is of comparable dimension and complexity as the previous switch to lead-free soldering; and the platform offered by iNEMI enables a further industry alignment.”


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