It may seem like RoHS is old news by now but the story is far from over. China, California and a number of other jurisdictions are nearing enaction of their own versions of lead-free legislation. The big news, however, is the recent announcement of RoHS II out of Europe. With the success of the original RoHS directive, the European Parliament & The Council of the European Union has just approved Directive 2007/172/EC, the Elimination of Metalic Substances (EoMS), also referred to as RoHS II.
EoMS will maintain the prohibition of the original six hazardous substances and will further ban all metals in electronic devices imported into and or sold in the European Union. The ban includes all ferrous metals, such as iron and steel as well as all non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, gold, silver, copper and others. The prohibition covers the elemental metals and any mixtures, alloys or compounds containing metals. The one exception is sodium (Na) in its elemental form and in certain salt compounds.
While the original RoHS legislation caused many changes in the electronics industry, EoMS is expected to have a slightly greater impact. Wally Manyon, a local designer noted: "It's one thing to get rid of lead, you know, change one alloy for another, but to get rid of metal all together, I'm not sure I buy into the concept."
Without metals available, electronic circuit materials will be limited to graphite, solutions of salts and low to medium temperature plasmas. Screaming Circuits is developing processes to assist our customers in converting from metallic-based circuitry to EoMS compliant circuitry. For those that have chosen graphite, we can peel the copper layer from existing PC boards with an X-acto brand knife and draw replacement trace lines with a number 2 pencil. For those preferring salt-water circuitry, we can re-purpose aquatic fish tank tubing into a patent-pending form of salinitic-aqueous point-to-point plumbing. The salt water connections have the added benefit of delivering a secondary cooling effect when used in high-current applications.
Wally and his fellow designers have just a year to adapt. The legislation goes into effect April 1, 2008