Proposed IEC Standard on Halogen Free Raises Concerns

Like the game of whack-a-mole, the idea of a standard for low halogen electronics keeps popping up. Originally, proposed as an IPC specification of chlorine and bromine in copper-clad laminates, IEC 61249-2-21 was established many years ago to define FR-4 products for halogen-free.

Then about a decade ago, concerns about certain toxic Br containing flame retardants (Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and concerns regarding incomplete combustion of PVC and Br containing plastics in electronics that lead to the passage of the EU WEEE Regulation and RoHS Directive which banned the toxic substances and mandated appropriate handling of waste electronics.

Despite the removal of any toxic halogen-containing compounds from the electronics supply chain, IPC and JEDEC members began discussions about the development of a standard for low halogen electronics. IPC, with its broad membership and open voting processes, never approved the low halogen standard, which was deemed to be a marketing tool posing as an environmental standard. JEDEC, with its narrower membership, went ahead and passed and published Definition of “Low Halogen” for Electronic Products” in 2015.

In 2016, the JEDEC standard was temporarily (up to six years) approved by IEC TC 111 (environmental standardization committee) as an IEC publicly available specification (PAS), despite the broad questions that were raised regarding technical validity. Revision and permanent adoption of the standard is now being considered by TC 111. The proposed revision would define electronics as “Low Halogen” when they “contain less than 0,9% (by mass) total elemental halogen content (F+Cl+Br+I) and meet the thresholds of all halogenated substances in IEC 91 62474 database. The proposed standard is concerning not just because of the content of the proposal, but by the labeling of low halogen as an environmental standard.

The standard is in the Committee Draft Phase which means it is being circulated for comments to all IEC TC111 member countries. The deadline for comment is September 15, 2017. If you are concerned, contact your country’s IEC National Committee and the IEC TC111 representatives.

 

Chinese Government Issues Draft List of Products Covered by China RoHS2

On June 29, 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a draft list of 12 consumer products that would be required to comply with hazardous substance restrictions under the country’s RoHS2 law, which is the same list of substances included under the European Union’s RoHS Directive. Feedback will be accepted until July 28.

Like EU RoHS, some applications are exempt from the substance restrictions, and non-listed products that contain certain hazardous substances exceeding the limits, can still be sold in China provided that they are marked according to regulations.

A brief article in ChemicalWatch’s AsiaHub lists the 12 types of products proposed to be included.

 

OSHA Proposes Delay in Injury and Illness Electronic Recordkeeping Rule; Asks for Comment

Last week, OSHA announced a proposed delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017. In this announcement, OSHA states “The proposed delay in the deadline for submission of 2016 Form 300A data will give the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation and allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, which will not be available until August 1.”

Additionally, OSHA plans to “issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise, or remove other provisions of the prior final rule. OSHA will seek comment on those provisions in that separate proposal.”

For more information, please see the news release and the public inspection version of the Federal Register Notice.

OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed deadline extension until July 13, 2017. IPC will be filing comments in support of the extension.

 

 

 

 

 

EPA Publishes Chemical Safety Framework Rules

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released three final rules as required under the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA) passed one year ago to reform and update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The rules establish EPA’s procedures for evaluating and regulating chemicals in commerce. The new rules and other documents will affect not only chemical manufacturers but also airplane, auto, electronic parts, paint, and other manufacturers and their suppliers and customers.

The three final rules set the procedures by which the EPA — working with information and perspectives provided by interested and affected parties — will:

Additionally, the agency released strategies, or “scoping documents,” for the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated under LCSA, some of which are used by the electronics manufacturing industry. The EPA invited all interested parties to submit information about those chemicals to help it evaluate their risks.

IPC has been actively engaged during the passage of LCSA and will continue to advocating for our member’s concerns during implementation.

REACH Substance in Articles Guidance Revision Published

On June 28, 2017, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a comprehensive update to its Guidance on requirements for substances in articles. The guidance is intended to provide clarity on the communication and notification obligations of companies when substances of very high concern (SVHCs) are contained in articles.

The updated guidance includes new examples in line with the judgement of the Court of Justice of 10 September 2015, which further clarified the scope of the obligations. According to the ruling, the legal obligations also apply to articles that are present in complex products – for example, a component of a car or a washing machine. It also updates and improves the existing examples, thanks to experience gained and questions received.

Following the Court of Justice’s judgement, ECHA published a quick update of this guidance in December 2015 to correct the parts that were not consistent with the conclusions of the judgement.

This substantial update has been the subject of the normal guidance consultation process, which included a consultation with Member States, the European Commission and ECHA’s accredited stakeholders. IPC filed comments on the draft guidance in 2016 and more recently hosted ECHA guidance project lead Peter Megaw in a series of conferences.

Connect to Business Opportunities in Southeast Europe

The markets of Southeast Europe are investing in infrastructure and market development.  They represent an opportunity for U.S. companies to increase sales and find a strategic foothold to grow in Europe.

Join Trade Winds – Southeast Europe to connect to potential partners, government decision-makers, market experts, and companies that have succeeded in the region.

Trade Winds, the largest annual U.S. government-led trade mission, will lead U.S. companies and organizations to Southeast European markets in 2017, to connect them to promising business opportunities.

In nine international Trade Winds events, the U.S. Commercial Service team has facilitated more than $240 million in export sales for U.S. companies.

Your company should join Trade Winds – Southeast Europe to take advantage of projected regional economic growth and to gain a strategic foothold to launch a larger European export strategy.

The region features strategic ports and bustling overland trade routes to established markets, and these individual markets are all heavily investing in infrastructure growth and market development.

For more information, visit http://2016.export.gov/tradewinds, email tradewinds@trade.gov or call Dorette Coetsee at the U.S. Commercial Service in Columbia, S.C., at +1 803-255-2623.

 

Electronics Industry Pioneer Jim Raby Passes Away

Long-time IPC member, industry leader and founder of STI Electronics Inc., Jim Raby, 82, passed away on Friday, June 16.  

For more than 40 years, Jim worked on industry standards, including IPC-J-STD-001, IPC-A-610 and standards for wire harnesses. He was also involved in research for lead-free solder processes and materials. His seminal paper, “Standardization of Military Specifications,” was the roadmap for reducing some 219 specifications into a single four-document set known as MIL-STD-2000, the precursor to J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610.

He worked on more than a dozen standards and training programs, and chaired or vice-chaired committees on soldering, rework and repair, component mounting, and product assurance. He wrote the curriculum and conducted beta testing for IPC training programs for IPC-J-STD-001, IPC-A-610D, IPC/WHMA-A-620, and IPC-7711/7721A, and received the IPC Presidents Award in 1984.

Jim will be missed by his fellow IPC committee members, staff and his colleagues in the electronics manufacturing industry.

In a statement, the company said, … Although Jim’s passing will leave a huge void in each of our lives, his legacy will live on. His love for family, friends, colleagues and country will remain in our hearts and memories for years to come.”

Funeral Arrangements:

Visitation and funeral to be held at Berryhill Funeral Home, 2305 North Memorial Pkwy, Huntsville, AL, 35810. Visitation will be Monday, June 19, 5-8 PM and the funeral Tuesday, June 20 at 2:00 PM.

STI will be closing at 11 AM Tuesday in honor of Jim and to allow employees to attend the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following:

1. Jim D. Raby/STI Scholarship Fund. Checks should be made payable to Calhoun Foundation and mailed to: Calhoun Foundation, Calhoun Community College; P. O. Box 2216, Decatur, AL 35609-2216. Please include a cover letter with the check or donation stating the check is for the Jim D. Raby/STI Scholarship Fund.

2. The Gideon’s International; P.O. Box 2091, Madison, AL 35758 in memory of Jim D. Raby.

3. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital; P. O. Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101.

4. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; P. O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014. Donations also can be made online in memory of Jim at the following link: https://www.michaeljfox.org/get-involved/donation2.php.

 

 

Three RoHS Exemption Extensions are Official

Earlier this week, the European Union (EU) officially published three RoHS exemption extensions.  The extensions, collectively known as Pack 7, concern the use of lead and cadmium in reflective and optical glass, and the use of lead in bearing shells and bushes for certain compressors.

IPC was an active member in the cross-industry association that supported these exemption extensions and a number of other exemption extensions, which are still under review by the EU Commission.  Publication of draft delegated acts, for public notice and review, or the remaining pending extension requests, known as Pack 9, is expected this summer or early fall of 2017.

IPC will continue to remain engaged in advocating for its members on RoHS extension requests, including a meeting with DG Environment later this month.

President Donald Trump Launches Workforce Development Week

By Julie Desisto, coordinator, government relations

Earlier this week President Donald Trump announced “Workforce Development Week.” As such, President Trump spent the last four days promoting job creation and even signed executive order expanding apprenticeship programs.

The Trump administration asked federal agencies to recommend new executive actions to promote apprenticeships and remove regulations that could be an obstacle to workforce development. Though Trump’s 2018 budget proposal cuts funding for job training programs by 40 percent, from $2.7 billion to $1.6 billion, the Administration hopes to foster “private-to-private partnerships” on job training through the executive order, Expanding Apprenticeships in America.

“We want to make sure that we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers,” said President Donald J. Trump.

This order would virtually eliminate oversight of government-subsidized apprenticeship programs and shift certification of federally funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to grant recipients. Additionally, the executive order:

• Responds to the desire of third-party groups to create more flexible apprenticeship programs and directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to allow companies, trade associations, and unions to develop their own “industry-recognized apprenticeship” guidelines, which the DOL will review for quality, and then approve.
• Directs the DOL to use available funding to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeships are not currently widespread.
• Creates a task force that will recommend ways to promote apprenticeships.
• Requires all Federal agencies to review and evaluate the effectiveness of their job training programs, and consider how to best consolidate certain programs for increased accountability.

Concurrently in Congress, a bipartisan Senate bill, The Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act, was introduced by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). This bill aims to use tax breaks to kick-start apprenticeship programs.

The legislation would create a $5,000 tax credit based on wages paid by companies that hire individuals enrolled in a federal or state registered apprentice program. The bill also provides a tax credit rate of $3 per hour per individual to employers participating in a multi-employer apprenticeship program. Senior employees nearing retirement can draw from their pensions earlier if they mentor new employees.

IPC will continue to monitor these initiatives. For more information on workforce development policy and resources, contact Julie Desisto, IPC government relations coordinator, at JulieDesisto@ipc.org.

 

 

 

Advancing U.S Manufacturing: A Focus on Federal Investment in R&D Infrastructure

In part two of IPC’s four-part video series, IPC President and CEO John Mitchell discusses how the Trump Administration and Congress could help advance the U.S. manufacturing industry by focusing on federal investment in research and development infrastructure.