Newark responds to UK’s RoHS interpretation

By Plant Engineering Staff January 31, 2006

Newark InOne, a subsidiary of global distributor Premier Farnell plc has implemented a comprehensive quality assurance policy to help its customers mitigate compliance risks associated with the European Union’s Restriction of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.

The RoHS Directive restricts the use of lead and five other substances in electrical and electronic products sold into all EU countries after July 1, 2006, but each country is left to decide how compliance should be demonstrated. In the UK, its appointed RoHS compliance enforcer, the National Weights and Measures Laboratory, has stated that a producer will need to show more than certificates of compliance if its product’s compliance status is contested. The producer will need to demonstrate that it has taken undefined “reasonable steps” to confirm the accuracy of the documentation it received for the parts that were designed in, or assembled into its finished product.

To meet this requirement from the UK, Newark InOne and its sister European distributor, Farnell InOne, have developed a 10-step quality assurance policy with due diligence procedures that serve to give their customers confidence in the RoHS compliance status of parts they purchase from them. At Newark InOne, the steps include: conducting a risk assessment process that evaluates the quality of the compliance information it receives from its 440+ suppliers, asking for additional conformance and testing information when risks are identified, inspecting parts during the receiving process, resolving discrepancies with suppliers, notifying customers when they’ve purchased a misidentified part, and issuing certificates of compliance for customers upon request.

“While our customers generally look to manufacturers to provide them with accurate product data, we are in constant contact with our suppliers, and have the resources required for an effective due diligence program,” comments Paul Tallentire, president, Newark In One. “To create a program similar to ours would be especially challenging for our smaller size customers.”