RoHS | March 18, 2006
Trade alliance launches RoHS/WEEE services
E-Certa (Environmentally Certified Electronic Resale Trade Alliance), comprised of a five-company consortium, has launched a series of environmental solutions that include component conversion, testing, recycling and sourcing services to help companies comply with the European Union's RoHS and WEEE directives.
E-Certa, formed in 2005 after more than two years of research, provides many of these RoHS and WEEE services through its consortium of companies that include Kentek Electronics,, YouPickYourPrice.com, Mil-Spec Components, New Way Technologies and Licensing, and Earth for the Humanities. There will be millions of dollars of surplus leaded (Pb) devices leftover in the supply chain including inventories in the OEM and franchised distribution channels, said Joel Deutsch, spokesperson for E-Certa and president of Kentek Electronics. OEMs and distributors as well as parts brokers are all facing inventories containing lead (Pb), said Deutsch, and by July 2006 these companies will need to have a no-lead operation, and a way to liquidate their inventories. With new restrictions coming from WEEE, RoHS, JEIDA, the next level of Green compliance, as well as the increasing number of environmental amendments, initiatives and exemptions, it is clear that there is an increasing need to have an environmental plan in place to meet regulatory concerns, Deutsch said. A key service provided by E-Certa, which is a bonded and full turnkey operation, is the capability to convert semiconductors that contain lead (Pb) to lead-free, RoHS-compliant devices. The company can handle a variety of packages including MLF, BGA, PGA, QFP, TSOP, SSOP, SOIC, PLCC, PDIP and CDIP. E-Certa is the first company to license the patent-pending conversion process technology from New Way Technologies and Licensing. This gives the engineer an entirely new capability, Deutsch said. However, because this is an expensive process, he suggests only using this service for high-end devices that are priced at least $5 to $10. "You don't want to use this process to convert leaded capacitors or resistors to lead-free or RoHS-compliant devices unless there is a shortage to justify the expense," he said. As an independent RoHS compliance service center, E-Certa provides customers with test results (X-ray fluorescence (XRF) screening on incoming product and conversion), a certificate of compliance, new package labeling, and a Material Composition Declaration form to ensure due diligence. The company also offers an optional laser-etched E-Certa logo on the part, and remarking to any customer specification. In addition, E-Certa has the capability to convert no-lead (Pb) to leaded (Pb) components for military and any other RoHS-exempted applications. Testing capabilities range from simple surface investigations to ppm level analysis. The company recently installed a state-of-the-art Fischer Instrumentation XAN XRF spectrometer, and now offers a screening service for components, boards, cables, screws, housings and electronic assemblies to help companies comply with the RoHS directive. The XRF instrument can be used for studies on the thickness of surface coatings and detection of impurities in solder bath samples. E-Certa also provides a host of recycling and reclamation services through its relationship with Kentek. The WEEE directive implies that any product in a manufacturing production facility that can be reused should have a plan in place to do so, Deutsch said. "In the transition to RoHS-compliant manufacturing it would be ideal if all non-compliant material would be exhausted, but it is highly unlikely and some non-conforming surplus components will remain in the supply chain," explained Deutsch. Deutsch expects that the value of non-compliant components will decrease as the RoHS deadline approaches, ultimately having little or no value. If a customer decides to liquidate its inventories, E-Certa has also formed a relationship with Earth for the Humanities as an option for donating materials and inventories. E-Certa has also collaborated with YouPickYourPrice.com, a semiconductor parts search database (by material content and part number) with an automated request for quote (RFQ) response, and Mil-Spec Components, a distributor of military and aerospace components. The company offers an exclusive program to franchised and independent distributors with a discounted price structure for most services.
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