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RoHS Compliance for Circuit Board Manufacturing

RoHS Compliance for Circuit Board Manufacturing

Table of Contents

What is RoHS Compliance?

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is a product-level compliance regulation that prohibits the use of certain harmful components found in electronic and electrical appliances developed in the European Union.

The History of RoHS

On July 1, 2006, the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC started in effect. 2002/95/EC was adopted in February 2003 by the European Union. It applies to a wide range of products, including appliances, printed circuit boards, electronic components, tools, toys, IT and lighting equipment, and prohibits the use of hazardous materials. After some time, the regulation was updated, resulting in RoHS 2 in 2011, which had stronger compliance standards and broadened the scope to encompass more types of equipment. In 2019, RoHS 3 was implemented, adding four more prohibited compounds to the list.

RoHS 1 (Directive)

RoHS1 restricts the use of six harmful materials in the manufacturing of various electronic products and circuit boards, including:

  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Mercury (Hg)
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)
  • Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI)

RoHS 2

RoHS 2, also known as Directive 2011/65/EU, is an EU legislation that aims to restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). The six restricted substances under RoHS 2 are limited in terms of their maximum concentration in homogeneous materials, typically expressed in PPM (parts per million) or weight percent (%).

  • Cadmium (Cd): <100 ppm (0.01%)
  • Lead (Pb): <1000 ppm (0.1%)
  • Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI): <1000 ppm (0.1%)
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): <1000 ppm (0.1%)
  • Mercury (Hg): <1000 ppm (0.1%)
  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): <1000 ppm (0.1%)

PPM stands for “parts per million.” It is a unit of measurement used to express the concentration of a substance in a solution or mixture. PPM represents the number of units of a particular substance per one million units of the solution or mixture.

PPM is commonly used in various fields, including chemistry, environmental science, manufacturing, and quality control. It allows for precise measurement and comparison of trace amounts of substances in a given context. The PPM unit is especially useful when dealing with very low concentrations or when high accuracy is required.

To calculate PPM, you divide the amount of the substance (in mass, volume, or count) by the total amount of the solution or mixture and multiply by one million. The formula can be expressed as:
PPM = (Amount of Substance / Total Amount) x 1,000,000

For example, if you have 5 milligrams of a particular chemical dissolved in 10 liters of water, the PPM concentration of that chemical would be:
PPM = (5 mg / 10,000,000 mg) x 1,000,000 = 500 PPM

This means there are 500 units of the chemical per one million units of the water solution.

RoHS 3

It restricts the use of the following four more substances:

Bis(2-Ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP): <1000 ppm
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): <1000 ppm
Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): <1000 ppm
Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): <1000 ppm

Who Must Comply With RoHS?

RoHS compliance for circuit board manufacturing

Manufacturers, importers, and distributors of RoHS-compliant electronic and electrical goods (EEE) have to stick to its standards while exporting their products to the European Union (EU).

Manufacturers: Companies that create EEE for the EU market must guarantee that their products comply with RoHS. They have to test their products, keep records, and show compliance.

Importers: Enterprises that bring EEE into the EU from other countries must observe RoHS regulations. Importers must guarantee that the products meet RoHS specifications, including boundaries on harmful substances and adequate paperwork.

Distributors: Distributors in the EU must ensure RoHS compliance for their products. They must ensure that items have the CE marking and the important documentation, but their responsibility in assessing compliance is less involved than that of producers or importers.

What If a Product is not RoHS-Compliant?

Imagine a product that is not RoHS-compliant and is placed on the European Union (EU) market. Here are a few potential consequences of a violation:

  • Market Access Restrictions
  • Fines and punishments.
  • Legal Action
  • Refund and withdrawal
  • Brand Damage
  • Costs of compliance and lost sales opportunities.
  • Environmental effects

RoHS and Non-RoHS

RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)-compliant electronics follow rules that prohibit using specified hazardous materials, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, in electronic and electrical gadgets, making them safer for human health and the environment. Non-RoHS items do not fulfill these regulations and may contain higher quantities of these hazardous compounds, offering greater dangers to both humans and the environment, throughout the manufacture.

RoHS Requirements in PCB Manufacturing

All PCB manufacturing machinery and methods have been designed to completely comply with RoHS requirements by removing restricted heavy metals and flame retardants containing bromine from the manufacturing process while maintaining quality.

Material Selection

Material selection for RoHS compliance entails selecting materials that do not include any restricted hazardous compounds, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, or specific flame retardants.

This procedure begins with identifying and buying components and essentials from providers that have certified that their goods meet RoHS requirements. Producers must guarantee that all parts of the circuit board, comprising base materials, solder, coatings, and parts, are free of these prohibited compounds.

Adopting Lead-Free Solder

Changing to lead-free solder is one of the major RoHS-related turns in PCB manufacturing. Substitutes for traditional tin-lead solder include tin-silver-copper (SAC) alloys. This change necessitates changes to the soldering procedure, including higher melting points, which may alter heating profiles during PCB manufacturing.

RoHS Lead Free

Removing Other Hazardous Substances

As well as lead, RoHS prohibits mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium. Exporters must guarantee that none of these hazardous compounds are present in any PCB components, such as laminated material, connections, or wires.

Component Sourcing and Verification

Ensure RoHS compliance by sourcing components. Companies must collaborate with manufacturers to get RoHS-compliant items and supplies. This usually requires thorough testing and paperwork to ensure compliance. Furthermore, manufacturers must install tracking mechanisms to check the degree of compliance of every part used in their PCBs.

Compliance, Certification, and Labeling

Producers should comply with RoHS regulations and verify compliance through accurate paperwork and labeling. PCBs that complete RoHS criteria are usually tagged with the RoHS compliance marking. Also, producers must keep data and submit paperwork, such as a Certificate of Conformity, to prove compliance during auditing or visits.

Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation

The RoHS directive is open to modifications and revisions, and manufacturers must stay aware of these changes to remain compliant. This includes keeping track of new forbidden chemicals, alterations to limit values, and any new permits. Continuous monitoring and adaptation to these laws are required for PCB producers to remain safe and competitive in the global market.

Identification for RoHS Circuit Boards

RoHS compliant

RoHS compliance markings: Products are labeled with particular symbols. These marks say RoHS compliance.
Documents and Certificates of Compliance: Detailed records that prove compliance. These certificates are granted after lengthy evaluations.
Supplier Declarations: Suppliers provide a documented confirmation. The declarations state that the materials meet the RoHS requirements.
Material testing and analysis.: Components are scientifically analyzed. Investigations confirm the absence of banned chemicals.
Traceability Systems: Systems monitor the compliance status of each component and provide transparency in sourcing.


RoHS compliance is required when constructing electrical and electronic equipment, including circuit boards. It reduces toxic pollutants, improving the environment and safeguarding human health. Compliance necessitates considerable modifications in materials, techniques, and paperwork, but results in healthier goods. Manufacturers must conduct rigorous inspections and continuously adapt to changing rules. Companies that adhere to RoHS regulations can gain access to worldwide markets, avoid legal concerns, strengthen their brand, and contribute to a healthier world.

FAQs about RoHS

Q1: How can I make my product RoHS-Compliant?

Identify and delete any RoHS-restricted materials from your product. Hire an experienced testing lab to check whether your product satisfies RoHS criteria. Gather any essential paperwork, such as test reports and technical files. Put the CE mark on equipment that meets RoHS requirements.

Q2: Why is RoHS important in PCB manufacturing?

RoHS compliance is critical in the PCB business for encouraging sustainable manufacturing. RoHS restricts the use of hazardous compounds typically found in electronic components, guaranteeing that PCBs are environmentally safe.

Q3: Are PCBs RoHS-compliant?

Yes, PCB is completely compliant with RoHS requirements in ELEPCB. RoHS 2/3 also applies to the metal sector, specifically metal plating and other coatings on EEE electronics. These processes are often part of PCB manufacturing.

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About the Author
With a wealth of experience in PCB, PCBA, and PCB design, I am dedicated to delivering informative and engaging content that empowers readers in the electronics field.
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