The proportionality and feasibility of EU regulations
The latest version 4.0 of the REACh Guide is now pending and is already a hot topic of discussion before it has even been published (as of mid of May). This is particularly the case, for example, among component distributors, whose status as importers of articles means that they must automatically accept the obligations and therefore the responsibilities of a manufacturer. The unique identification of substances is a precondition for the majority of procedures in accordance with REACh. This requires that the participants in the supply chain have sufficient information about the identity of their substances – so the theory goes. Ultimately, the right to information enables consumers to inform themselves about these types of substances when they make purchasing decisions.
As a general rule, Article 7 requires producers and importers to notify the ECHA of the presence of a SVHC in articles if this SVHC is present in those articles in quantities totalling over one tonne per producer or importer per year (as a total quantity in all imported individual articles). The question now arises as to what constitutes an article and when?
However, the new REACh Guide 4.0 is supposed to be able to answer this for us. In reality, as the draft already shows, it is not clearly understandable. And - to make matters worse - it contains regulations that are effectively impossible to implement! This was confirmed by ORGALIME (umbrella organisation of the European mechanical, electrical, electronic and metal articles industries) in Remark 578 (Appendix 5, Example 2) based on the example of PC boards, which states ‘not for discussion’.
Close examination of the proposed methodology shows – if every component of a complex object (e.g. PCB) must be broken down to its original article level – that a separate BOM is required for each level. For three levels, this therefore equates to three BOMs or a BOM-BOM-BOM list.
However, it should be noted that the new interpretation in the Guide renders the previous interpretation of the article (the component itself) no longer relevant. The article (e.g. a capacitor) is now a complex object that itself requires a BOM. As a result, articles valued at mere cents may under certain circumstances require several hundred hours of work in order to determine the basic information – the more there is, the more complex it becomes!
It is simply impossible to manage these volumes of data – although we would be delighted to see any representative of the ECHA attempt it. We would also be happy to lend him or her the FBDi Compass for assistance – provided that we receive a response to issue of proportionality.
Author: Jens Dorwarth, Manager E&C Hy-Line, Chairman of the WG Environment & Compliance at the FBDi
About Der FBDi e.V.
About FBDI e. V. (www.fbdi.de):
The FBDi e.V. – Fachverband der Bauelemente Distribution e.V. (Professional Association of Component Distribution), founded in 2003, is well-established in the German association community and represents a large portion of distributors of electronic components with operations in Germany. In addition to the preparation and advancement of numerical data and statistics concerning the German distribution market for electronic components, work group engagement and reporting on important industry themes (amongst others, education, liability and rights, traceability, and environmental themes) form essential pillars of the association’s work. The FBDi is a member of the International Distribution of Electronics Association (IDEA).
Member companies (as of January 2017):
Acal BFi Germany, Arrow Central Europe, Avnet EMG EMEA (Avnet Abacus, Avnet Silica, EBV, MSC Technologies), Beck Elektronische Bauelemente, Blume Elektronik Distribution, Bürklin Elektronik, CODICO, Conrad Electronic SE, ECOMAL Europe, Endrich Bauelemente, EVE, Farnell, Future Electronics Deutschland, Haug Components Holding, Glyn, Hy-Line Holding, JIT electronic, Kruse Electronic Components, MB Electronic, Memphis Electronic, MEV Elektronik Service, Mouser Electronics, pk components, RS Components, Rutronik Elektronische Bauelemente, Schukat electronic, Distrelec Schuricht, SHC, TTI Europe.
Supporting members: Amphenol FCI, elotronics, mewa electronic, TDK Europe.