IPC survey reveals electronics industry not prepared for reach

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 22 August 2008



(2008), "IPC survey reveals electronics industry not prepared for reach", Circuit World, Vol. 34 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/cw.2008.21734cab.006



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

IPC survey reveals electronics industry not prepared for reach

Article Type: Industry news From: Circuit World, Volume 34, Issue 3

Like a bolt of lightning, the results of IPC’s recent survey on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) preparedness in the North American and European Interconnect Industry are striking – revealing that more than 40 per cent of manufacturing and purchasing personnel have no understanding of the REACH regulation as it affects their companies. The same holds true for nearly one-third of senior management and 29 per cent of engineering personnel. Even 28 per cent of environment, health and safety personnel have no understanding of REACH’s impact.

The new European Union legislation concerning the REACH took effect on 1 June 2007. The REACH regulation gives greater responsibility to industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances.

In contrast to RoHS, which covers a narrow scope of substances in electronic products encompassing about 100 different chemicals, REACH covers substances in nearly all applications, totalling about 30,000 unique chemicals. While RoHS can address entire classes of substances at a time, REACH addresses them each individually. Where RoHS requires supplier-to-customer communications, the REACH regulation makes bidirectional communication throughout the supply chain imperative.

“REACH will have a far-reaching effect on any company that buys sells or uses chemicals,” said Tony Hilvers, vice president of industry programs for IPC. “Inevitably, all companies that use chemicals or make products that contain chemicals will be affected … and that pretty much sums up the entire electronics supply chain. The survey clearly indicates that our industry is woefully unprepared for the hit it’s about to take.”

The electronic survey, sent to executives throughout the electronic interconnect supply chain in North America and Europe, reveals that even with a deadline for pre-registration of substances quickly approaching, only 18.3 per cent of companies have identified and/or inventoried all substances in their products. In addition only 60.5 per cent of chemical supplier respondents are planning to register or pre-register substances at all.

Stepping up efforts to help electronics companies prepare for REACH, IPC has scheduled a number of programs in the coming months, including a REACH Critical Update Webcast on pre-registration issues for PCB and EMS suppliers, 18 September, 2008 1:30 pm-3:30 pm, Central time. A number of sessions and meetings on REACH and other environmental issues will also take place at IPC Midwest Conference & Exhibition, 21-25 September 2008, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Centre, Schaumburg, IL.

In addition, IPC has launched a REACH Supply Chain Task Force to help companies establish a path forward in addressing the impacts of REACH. Representatives from the OEM, EMS, PCB and supplier industries make up the task force. In a recent presentation to the task force, Design Chain Associates’ President Michael Kirschner reiterated a warning from a large computer manufacturer that electronics executives should, “As completely as possible, know what chemical substances your product is made of and with … You eventually will be held responsible for every molecule of your product.”

A full report on the results of IPC’s REACH preparedness survey is available on IPC’s web site at: www.ipc.org/REACHsurveyreport

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