IPC Concerned about ECHA’s Draft Guidance on Substances in Articles

On September 22, 2016, IPC submitted comments to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) highlighting our concerns with the draft guidance on requirements for substances in articles, version 4.0.

In the comments, IPC highlights concerns that guidance is confusing and lengthy and suggests specific changes.

On July 27, 2016 ECHA published draft guidance on the application of REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) to substances in articles.

The court ruling directly affects the disclosures required of articles manufacturers. The new guidance addresses the EU Court of Justice ruling on September 10, 2015 on the that levels of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) must be calculate at the level of the “simple” article, not over the weight of the entire article as imported or as provided to the customer as stated in ECHA’s 2011 guidance.

A final guide is expected by the end of 2016 or early 2017 and the EU member states are planning a six- month enforcement pilot in early 2017.

EPA Extends Deadline for TSCA CDR Reporting

by Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs and government relations

On September 19, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a notice on the Chemical Data Reporting website that it has amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule to extend the 2016 submission deadline from September 30, 2016, to October 31, 2016.

Under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, printed circuit board manufacturers who send byproducts, such as wastewater treatment sludge, spent etchant or spent baths, for recycling may be required to report under the CDR. Recently, IPC achieved a long-sought goal with the inclusion of a requirement for EPA to reexamine this rule passage as part of the of The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amending TSCA.

According to the pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice for the final rulemaking, EPA granted the extension because of problems with certain the electronic reporting system that impact a business’s ability to submit within the required timeframe.

For more information, please review our CDR guidance and TSCA CDR website or contact me at FernAbrams@ipc.org or +1 (202) 661-8092.

 

March 10, 2016 blog posting on TSCA CDR reporting: IPC Concerned by EPA Fact Sheet on TSCA CDR Reporting.

Fern Abrams to Present on U.S. Chemicals Regulation at Prestigious Electronics Goes Green Conference

On September 7, Fern Abrams, IPC’s director of regulatory affairs and government relations, will present at Electronics Goes Green 2016+ Conference in Berlin, Germany. Her presentation, “Evolution of U.S. Chemicals Regulation: Updating the Toxic Substances Control Act for the 21st Century” will provide an overview of the main U.S. Chemicals Regulation, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the long road to reform, final legislation and the key issues for the electronics industry.

In addition, Abrams will highlight the “whys” of TSCA reform, and main provisions within the final legislation, including preemption of U.S. state laws and regulation of substances in articles, and the U.S. EPA’s implementation plan for the next several years.

IPC supported the bipartisan efforts to reform TSCA because a strong, cost-effective, science-based federal chemical regulatory program is important to our members, who use chemicals to manufacture electronics for the nation’s defense, aerospace, automotive, consumer and other industries

For more information on TSCA, visit IPC’s Toxic Substances Control Act webpage or contact Abrams at FernAbrams@ipc.org.

 

IPC Releases Annual Electronics Assembly Industry Quality

IPC’s Study of Quality Benchmarks for Electronics Assembly 2016 is now available. The annual study provides valuable benchmarking data to electronics assembly companies interested in comparing quality measurements to industry averages.

The quality control measurements covered by the study include first-pass yields for various test methods in use as well as the percent of products subjected to these tests. Yields and defect rates at final inspection, internal yields of key processes, and DPMO and yield targets are also covered. Average cost of poor quality as a percentage of sales for rework, scrap and labor time for touch-up after wave soldering are reported. The study also reports on the use of various quality control methods.

Customer satisfaction and supplier performance metrics are covered in the study, as well as the industry’s adoption of major quality certifications.

The data — in averages, medians and percentiles — are segmented by company size tier, by region, and by type of production including rigid PCBs, flexible circuits, end products, mechanical assembly, cable and harness, discrete wiring terminal and connectors, and rigid back planes.

The aggregate data represent 94 electronics assembly companies of all sizes from North America, Europe and Asia.

The 150-page report is free to companies that participated in the survey. It is available for sale to IPC members for $675 and to nonmembers for $1,350. For more information or to purchase the report, visit www.ipc.org/AssemblyBenchmark2016 or contact IPC’s market research department at marketresearch@ipc.org.

For information on all of IPC’s market research programs, visit www.ipc.org/IndustryData.

IPC Releases New Topic Brief on International Trade Agreements

topicbriefTrade Agreements’ Impact on the Electronics Industry, released last week by IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries®, is a topic brief that explores the details of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). In particular, the brief addresses the potential impacts of these trade agreements on the various segments and regions of the global electronics industry.

Trade Agreements’ Impact on the Electronics Industry is designed to help the reader best comprehend the information included in the trade agreements. The topic brief provides a historical perspective of U.S. trade agreements while summarizing complex issues and topics. In addition, actionable content is included in a way to improve organizations within the electronics industry, as well as increase the efficiency of their employees.

“We are very excited to assist the electronics industry with this complex and multifaceted issue,” said John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO and primary author of the topic brief. “Good or bad, these international trade agreements will have an impact on many of our members’ businesses. As an association, it is our job to help the electronics industry understand how international trade and in this instance TPP and T-TIP could potentially affect their organizations.”

The topic brief is currently available for purchase from the IPC Online Store.

IPC Gives the Electronics Industry a New Edge

IPC President and CEO John Mitchell discusses the importance of education in the electronics industry and reveals IPC’s new online learning platform—IPC EDGE.

 

IPC Concerned by EU Consultant Recommendations on RoHS Exemptions

IPC’s RoHS Exemptions workgroup and other industry members are deeply concerned that the recommendations recently provided to the EU Commission by their consultants will have a significant negative impact on the industry.  Many of the recommendations provide for only a two-year renewal and reword the current exemptions in ways that will lead to increase in complexity and burden.

On July 19, 2016, IPC and other members of the cross-industry Strategic Management Team sent a letter to Mr. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General for the Environment at the European Commission highlighting industry concerns.

Under the EU RoHS2, all existing exemptions were set to expire by July 21, 2016. However, all exemptions for which industry submitted a renewal application will not expire until the EU Commission completes the current ongoing review of the applications, likely in late 2016 or early 2017.

IPC and its RoHS Exemptions Workgroup will continue our advocacy, which may include lobbying the Commission.

Get Involved: Help Improve the Electronics Industry

John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, wants to make sure that your questions about legislation affecting our industry are answered, and your concerns are addressed.

 

New Electronics Industry Market Data Now Available by Subscription

IPC is introducing three new quarterly subscription reports. These exclusive reports provide electronics manufacturers a competitive edge that comes from having solid, timely and reliable market research data. Reports include:

  • Global Solder Market Report  – The report covers trends in solder and flux consumption, including growth rates, tin/lead vs. lead-free ratios, and industry growth outlook for coming year. It will also be available soon in Mandarin Chinese.
  • PCB Assembly Equipment Market Report  – The report includes trends in the equipment market, growth rates, and industry outlook for the coming year.
  • Global Process Consumables Market Report  – The report shows growth rates in the wet chemistry market and industry growth outlook for the coming year.

These reports are based on IPC’s current industry surveys. This means the information subscribers receive is built on reliable data gathered from representative samples of companies. Combining the latest data with insightful graphs, these special reports help electronics industry executives identify opportunities, understand trends, and plan for changes in the business environment.

“The value of these reports is the unique quality of the data, which is collected directly from the industry by IPC and is not available from any other source,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research.

The three quarterly reports are in addition to PCB and EMS reports based on statistical program data from North American companies that manufacture and assemble PCBs: the monthly North American EMS Market Report, the monthly North American PCB Market Report and the quarterly North American EMS Business Performance Report. Annual subscription prices for a one-year single-user subscription are $600 (IPC members) and $1,200 (nonmembers) for most of these reports.

More information on these and other IPC reports can be found at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports or by contacting the IPC market research team at marketresearch@ipc.org or +1 847-597-2868.

Consultants to EU Publish Recommendations on RoHS Exemptions

The Oeko-Institut e.V., Institute for Applied Ecology and Fraunhofer-Institut IZM for Environmental and Reliability Engineering, consultants to the European Union (EU) Commission (Commission) recently published their recommendations on 29 requested renewals of RoHS exemptions.

The report: “Assistance to the Commission on Technological Socio-Economic and Cost-Benefit Assessment Related to Exemptions from the Substance Restrictions in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive),” report summarizes the evaluation of the requests for the renewal of existing exemptions. In light of the length of the report, it has been divided into three parts:

  • Lamp exemptions (pdf)
  • Solder and electrical contact exemptions (pdf)
  • Alloy and miscellaneous exemptions (pdf)

IPC’s RoHS Exemptions Workgroup is reviewing the recommendations and will be working with the cross-industry Strategic Management Team (SMT) to coordinate an appropriate response, which may include lobbying the Commission, which under delegated powers, will make the final decision regarding the extension of exemptions.

IPC members are welcome to provide any comments or inputs to the workgroup by contacting Fern Abrams at FernAbrams@ipc.org.