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© farnell element14 Electronics Production | January 19, 2015

Europe and Electronics: a roundup of legislation in 2014

In terms of new legislative measures and regulative initiatives that impact - and will continue to impact - the electronics industry, 2014 has been an interesting year.
While Conflict Minerals legislation and RoHS2 (Recast) are amongst the more well known ones, other decrees were modified over the course of 2014, including those relating to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and batteries. However, legislation officers aren’t quite settling in for a quiet year in 2015 - recasts remain imminent for EMC, LVD and other New Legislation Frameworks (NLF).

With regards to WEE2, how to define dual use continues to be a topic of heightened interest and, as such, the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills is aiming to publish its guidelines early this year. WEE2 itself has updated its list of Frequently Asked Questions to also cover issues relating treatment facilities, monitoring, inspection stands, options, definitions and collection.

Two new categories have been introduced to RoHS2 (2011/65/EU): eight, which includes medical devices; and nine for monitoring and control instruments, with a heavy focus on consumer products. Any products introduced to the market after this takes effect will need to include comprehensive technical information and a signed declaration of conformity.

These regulatory methods, implemented on January 2nd 2013, only applied to those products that were put on the market after July 22nd 2014, not those that were already available. Meanwhile industrial, monitoring and control instruments for professional use will have to comply with the new rules from 22nd July 2017.

The main discussions around the Conflict Minerals legislation have focused on whether or not it should take an obligatory or voluntary approach to solving the issue - the most commonly requested document still remains the Conflict Mineral Reporting Template (CMRT). Although this regulation is currently behind schedule in Europe, it is likely to be confirmed in 2015.

The Battery Directive, meanwhile, will finally permit the use of cadmium in cordless power tools by 2017 - and mercury in button cells from 2015.

Finally, REACH has predicted that there could be 440 SVHCs (Substances of Very High Concern) by 2020 - a significant increase from the 155 listed today. This reaffirms the importance of ensuring a comprehensive package of safety measures is in place, with all relevant legislations being implemented as rapidly and efficiently as possible.

By Gary Nevison, Head of Legislation and Compliance at Farnell element14.

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