EU – Power Supply Ecodesign Requirements

The European Commission is revising the ecodesign requirements for external power supplies, including broadening the scope to cover external power supplies that produce more than one output voltage. Once finalized, the regulation will replace the existing Commission Regulation (EC) No 278/2009 for ecodesign of external power supplies.  The current draft suggests a transition date for the new requirements starting April 1, 2020.

The proposed regulation specifies requirements for no-load power consumption, average active efficiency, and various information requirements. The energy efficiency requirements are segmented into the following four categories:

  • AC-AC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies
  • AC-DC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies
  • Low voltage external power supplies
  • Multiple voltage output external power supplies

The no-load power consumption requirements are summarized in Table 4 and the average active efficiency in Table 5 (unofficial). For official information, please see the draft regulation.

Table 4: no-load condition power consumption

 AC-AC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies AC-DC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies Low voltage external power supplies Multiple voltage output external power supplies
PO ≤ 49,0 W0,210 W0,100 W0,100 W0,300 W
PO > 49,0 W0,210 W0,210 W0,210 W0,300 W

Table 5: average active efficiency

 AC-AC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies AC-DC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies Low voltage external power supplies Multiple voltage output external power supplies
PO ≤ 1,0 W0,5 ∙ PO + 0,1600,5 ∙ PO + 0,1600,517 ∙ PO + 0,0870,497 ∙ PO + 0,067
1 W < PO ≤ 49,0 W0,071 ∙ ln(PO) – 0,0014 ∙ PO + 0,670,071 ∙ ln(PO) – 0,0014 ∙ PO + 0,670,0834 ∙ ln(PO) – 0,0014 ∙ Po + 0,6090,075 ∙ ln(PO) + 0,561
PO > 49,0 W0,8800,8800,8700,860

Information that needs to be included in the instruction manual and/or website includes:

  • Nameplate output power (W)
  • Root mean square (Rms) input voltage (V)
  • Input AC frequency
  • Rms output voltage (V)
  • Rms output current (mA)
  • Average active efficiency
  • Efficiency at low load (10%)
  • No-load power consumption (W)

 

EU – ECHA Workshop on SVHC in Articles Database

On October 22-23, 2018, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) hosted a workshop in Helsinki to discuss next steps towards developing a database for declaring information on SVHCs in articles. ECHA has just over a year left to develop the database. Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers selling products in the EU may start submitting information on SVHCs in their products starting January 2020.  The submission of SVHC in articles information becomes mandatory starting in January 2021.

The workshop was targeted for discussions with member state authorities and other stakeholders, including industry. The workshop agenda included:

  • Presentation of draft scenario and outcome of call for input
  • Break-out discussions on workability, assumptions and main open questions,
    • How to ensure the information flows:
      • How to ensure that each duty holder has the information they need?
      • How to get such information to the authorities?
      • How to avoid overlaps in the notifications?
    • Dissemination: how to make the database useful for consumers and waste operators:
      • What information is needed?
      • How to display the data?
    • How could the data be submitted:
      • Technical solutions
      • Protection of confidential business information
      • Which learnings from existing supply chains (tools)?
    • Next steps and invitation to join technical focus group(s)
      • (e.g. article identification and categorisation and/or an IT user group)
    • Implementation and workability
    • Harmonised transposition
    • Conclusions and next steps

During their opening presentation, ECHA introduced their vision for the database and provided a summary of the feedback that they received to their request for input.  Figure 1 illustrates ECHA’s thinking that suppliers throughout the supply chain will declare parts that contain SVHCs. These supplier declarations will then be used by downstream manufacturers to create their declarations. Industry has been trying to argue that this approach ignores several practical issues such as a global supplier chain, multi-vendor sourcing and confidentiality of suppliers.

In response to the call for input, ECHA received a total of 116 submissions from industry (associations and individual companies), waste operators, NGOs, academia, IT tool providers, and public authorities covering 12 EU countries, Norway, US, Canada, Mexico and Japan. ECHA provided a very high-level summary of information that was submitted and avoided many of the critical comments that were made. The full ECHA presentation is available from the workshop website[1].

A follow-up meeting to discuss the information to be submitted and the data format will be held during a material declaration standardization meeting in Genoa, Italy on November 19th.

EU – EU RoHS Methodology Identifying and Selecting Substances

A stakeholder consultation was launched on October 26, 2018 for RoHS project (Pack 15). This project includes the review and update of the RoHS substance selection methodology and the substance inventory.  It also includes the review of one new exemption request. For this stakeholder consultation, the consultant is requesting feedback on a draft substance selection methodology and substance usage data to compile a substance inventory.

A “Manual (draft) methodology to identify and assess substances for possible restriction under the RoHS Directive” has been posted for feedback. The core content of the methodology includes three parts:

  • Part I) IDENTIFICATION OF SUBSTANCES
  • Part II) PRE-ASSESSMENT OF SUBSTANCES, and
  • Part III) DETAILED ASSESSMENT OF SUBSTANCES

The substance inventory part of the consultation is asking stakeholders to provide information on EEE applications and quality used of specific substances that the consultants have specified. A spreadsheet listing the substances of interest and instructions on submitting usage information is provided on the project website.

RoHS – International RoHS Standardization Forum

The International RoHS Standardization Forum took place on October 26, 2018 in Busan, Korea.  The topics presented at the forum were split between substance regulations and International Standards that support compliance to substance regulations. We provide a brief summary of the presentations.  For copies of the presentations, please contact your ECD Compliance prime.

IEC TC111 WG3 Past, Present and Future

This presentation focused on the analytical test methods that are available or under development for RoHS and REACH substance testing. The test methods are included in the IEC 62321-X series of test methods.  Some of the test methods are screening methods that are intended to be quick and inexpensive, usually covering several elements or substances with one test and often without damaging the product. Other methods utilize analytical chemistry whereby the sample is digested into a solution and then analyzed using methods such as gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), combustion-ion chromatography, inductively coupled plasma (ICP), colorimetric method, atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), etc. A list of current and under development test methods are provide in Table 6.

Table 6: IEC 62321-X Standards

PartIEC 62321 Determination of certain substances in electrotechnical products –Edition 1.0Status
1Part 1: Introduction and overview (2013-05-17)Published
2Part 2: Disassembly, disjunction and mechanical sample preparation (2013-06-25)Published
3-1
Part 3-1: Screening -Lead, mercury, cadmium, total chromium and total bromine using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (2013-06-19)Published
3-2
Part 3-2: Screening -Total bromine in polymers and electronics by Combustion -Ion Chromatography (2013-06-19)Published
3-2
Part 3-2 Screening of fluorine, bromine, chlorine and iodine in polymer and electronics by Combustion -Ion Chromatography (C-IC).Revision under Development
3-3
Part 3-3 Screening of polybrominatedbiphenyls, polybrominateddiphenylethers and phthalates in polymers by pyrolysis (Py-GC-MS) or thermal desorption (TD-GC-MS) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.Under Development
4Part 4: Mercury in polymers, metals and electronics by CV-AAS, CV-AFS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS (2013-06-19)Published
5Part 5: Cadmium, lead and chromium in polymers and electronics and cadmium and lead in metals by AAS, AFS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS (2013-06-25Published
6Part 6: Polybrominatedbiphenyls and polybrominateddiphenylethers in polymers by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) (2015-06)Published
7-1Part 7-1: Presence of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in colourlessand colouredcorrosion-protected coatings on metals by the colorimetric method” (2015-09)Published
7-2
Part 7-2: Determination of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in polymers and electronics by the colorimetric method (2017-03)Published
8Part 8: Phthalates in polymers by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using a pyrolyzer/thermal desorption accessory (Py-TD-GC-MS)Published
9Hexabromocyclododecanein polymers by high pressure liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)Under Development
10Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in polymers and electronics by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)Under Development
11Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) in polymers and electronics by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)Under Development

Each new test method goes through an International Intra-laboratory study to assess the reliability and repeatability of the test method.  Each of several labs from around the world are given samples to test according to the draft test method without knowing the content of the samples.  The results are compiled, and the accuracy and the reliability of the test method is assessed.  If the results are not sufficiently accurate and consistent, the test method goes back to the drawing board.

US CPSC Organo-Halogen FR Guidance Regarding Petition 2015 HP 15-1

An overview was provided of US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruling to ban Organo-Halogen flame retardants and the subsequent guidance to manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.  The ban is intended to address exposure from additive, non-polymeric organohalogen FRs (OFRs) found in several products, including plastic casings surrounding electronics.

The rulemaking for the ban is currently under development (although unlikely to be enacted by the current US administration) and, in the interim, a guidance document was published in the US federal register Vol. 82 / No. 187 on Thursday September 28, 2017. The US National Academy of Sciences is currently investigating the feasibility of a ban and is expected to deliver their finding in Spring 2019.

The presentation also discusses four subnational regulations banning halogenated flame retardants in San Francisco, Maine, and Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, although none of those directly target electronics products.

Regulatory and standardization update on chemical substances in Europe

This presentation covered emerging changes to EU RoHS, challenges in REACH compliance, substance regulations and the circular economy, and critical raw materials (CRM) in the EU.

Topics for EU RoHS were the upcoming phthalate restrictions, exemption renewals, and seven additional substances under assessment – all of which have been previously covered in the ECD monthly reports. A brief summary of the European Commission’s recently launched roadmap for the RoHS Directive (RoHS 3).  A review of the Directive and a proposal for a recast (if appropriate) must be completed by July 2021.  The review includes: scope of the Directive, interface with other chemical, product and waste legislation, and is intended to consider effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence with other legislation, and EU added value.

During the update on the EU REACH regulation, the hot topics included the “once an article, always an article” SVHC reporting requirements and the upcoming ECHA database on SVHCs in articles. There are still many aspects of SVHCs in the first article that are not practical to implement; the Commission and member states have acknowledged that “some level of aggregation needed, for practical reason”, but so far there has been no interest from member states to establish an expert group to deal with this issue.  The presentation indicated that several industry associations have developed detailed sectoral guidelines (ACEA, COCIR, ASD), but ECHA has made it clear that they will not endorse sectoral guidance.  The issue remains unresolved. An enforcement project b2b SVHC communication is currently wrapping up with a report expected by mid-2019.

An upcoming EU standard on declaration of critical raw materials is expected to be published in March 2019.

Recent Japanese Activity regarding Chemicals in Products & Phthalate analysis

This presentation provided an overview of the Japanese government sponsored chemSHERPA material declaration system. chemSHERPA supports two information formats; one for article information (AI) and one for chemical information (CI) for raw chemicals and mixtures.  chemSHERPA is based on the IEC 62474 material declaration format.

Other topics included screening and testing methods for phthalates, especially the necessity for fast and inexpensive screening methods given the high occurrence of phthalates use in the supply chain. An International Interlaboratory study on phthalates was conducted in 2018 with some optimistic results: FT-IR was only effective for high concentration levels (above 5%).  HPLC/UV screening successfully separated seven different phthalates, but screening time took up to 20 minutes. As a result of the business need for phthalate screening and the results of the IIS, a new work item proposal is planned for an IEC 62321-X standard for phthalate screening.

The updated development of China RoHS and its standardization

Director of the China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) presented an overview and update on the China RoHS 2.0 regulation.  The first batch of products included in the RoHS product catalogue, the restricted substances and the list of exemptions were published earlier in 2018; however, the exact requirements for demonstrating conformity assessment have been an unnerving, open question for manufacturers.

The presentation suggested that two ways to demonstrate conformity will be provided: (1) self declaration, or (2) voluntary certification for China RoHS or State Green product certification. The self declaration approach is welcome news for manufacturers, but there are still a few details unanswered.  For example, the current expectation is that manufacturers (or importers) will need to upload their declarations into a central repository – however, the details, including any supporting information that needs to be provided has not been specified.

IEC – Study recommends International Standard with Harmonized Ecolabel Criteria

An IEC/TC111 study recommends developing an IEC International Standard with harmonized ecolabel criteria (requirements for environmental assessment of EEE products). Ecolabels are commonly used by purchasers to specify environmental performance expectations in procurement contracts for certain types of EEE equipment, especially IT equipment.
Market demand for a simple mechanism to assess the environmental performance of electronic products during procurement has led to global proliferation of ecolabels and their corresponding environmental assessment standards. These ecolabel programs are often driven by governments, product purchasers (including government purchasing), retailers, consumer groups, NGOs and the manufacturers themselves.

Standards consisting of environmental assessment criteria are used by ecolabel programs to set the requirements that must be met to earn manufacturers the right to claim and display the ecolabel. Ecolabel standards typically address environmental aspects and/or impacts that cover the full range of life cycle stages, including product design, manufacturing, transportation, use phase and end of life.

Criteria may include product requirements for reduction of hazardous substances, alternative substances assessment, materials selection, design for end of life, product longevity and life-cycle extension, energy conservation during the use phase of the product, reduction of emissions, end-of-life management, product packaging, life cycle assessment, and product carbon footprint. The criteria may also address various corporate environmental performance measures such as implementation of an environmental management system (EMS), emissions during manufacturing and transportation, sustainability reporting, organizational carbon footprint, energy management and use of renewable energy, etc.

Conflicting Requirements

The study considered environmental assessment standards that were in use in USA, Canada, EU, China, Japan, and Korea. Standards that were assessed included IEEE 1680.x (EPEAT ecolabel), Blue Angel, EU flower, TCO, Nordic Swan, several Chinese ecolabel standards, and Japan Ecomark. The group found that the environmental improvement objectives were often similar, but detailed requirements were sometimes sufficiently different that they caused conflicts in the design requirements.

EU – ECHA Proposes 18 SVHCs for REACH Authorization

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has proposed another 18 substances on the REACH Candidate List for addition to the Authorisation List (REACH Annex XIV). Substances that are on the Authorisation List may not be manufactured, placed on the market or used in the EU after the sunset date unless an authorisation has been granted to the manufacturer or importer for the specific use. The substances are listed in Table 2.

ECHA is accepting public comments on the proposal until December 5, 2018.  Additional information and instructions for submitting comments are available on the ECHA website[1].

Table 2: SVHCs Proposed for REACH Authorisation List

NameEC NumberCAS NumberTypical EEE Applications
4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol (bisphenol A; BPA)201-245-8May 7, 1980Antioxidant for plasticizer and PVC, ink, paint and adhesive; used as monomer in epoxy resins and plastics
1,6,7,8,9,14,15,16,17,17,18,18-Dodecachloropentacyclo[12.2.1.16,9.02,13.05,10]octadeca-7,15-diene (“Dechlorane Plus”™) covering any of its individual anti- and syn-isomers or any combination thereofFlame retardant for electric wire and cable covering material
Reaction products of 1,3,4-thiadiazolidine-2,5-dithione, formaldehyde and 4-heptylphenol, branched and linear (RP-HP) with ≥0.1% w/w 4-heptylphenol, branched and linear (4-HPbl)
2-ethylhexyl 10-ethyl-4,4-dioctyl-7-oxo-8-oxa-3,5-dithia-4-stannatetradecanoate (DOTE)239-622-415571-58-1PVC stabilizer
Reaction mass of 2-ethylhexyl 10-ethyl-4,4-dioctyl-7-oxo-8-oxa-3,5-dithia-4-stannatetradecanoate and 2-ethylhexyl 10-ethyl-4-[[2-[(2-ethylhexyl)oxy]-2-oxoethyl]thio]-4-octyl-7-oxo-8-oxa-3,5-dithia-4-stannatetradecanoate (reaction mass of DOTE and MOTE)PVC stabilizer
4,4'-bis(dimethylamino)-4''-(methylamino)trityl alcohol with ≥ 0.1% of Michler's ketone (EC No. 202-027-5) or Michler's base (EC No. 202-959-2)209-218-2561-41-1
Dioxobis(stearato)trilead235-702-812578-12-0Heat stabilizer for plastics, for example for wiring and cabling insulation.
Fatty acids, C16-18, lead salts292-966-791031-62-8Heat stabilizer for plastics, for example for wiring and cabling insulation.
Trilead dioxide phosphonate235-252-212141-20-7Heat stabilizer for PVC, for example for wiring and cabling insulation
Sulfurous acid, lead salt, dibasic263-467-162229-08-7Heat stabilizer for PVC, for example for wiring and cabling insulation
[Phthalato(2-)]dioxotrilead273-688-569011-06-9Heat stabilizer for plastics, for example for wiring and cabling insulation.
Trilead bis(carbonate) dihydroxide215-290-61319-46-6
Lead oxide sulfate234-853-712036-76-9Heat stabilizer for PVC used for wiring and cabling insulation.
Cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic anhydride [1], cis-cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic anhydride [2], trans-cyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylic anhydride [3] [The individual cis- [2] and trans- [3] isomer substances and all possible combinations of the cis- and trans-isomers [1] are covered by this entry]201-604-9
236-086-3
238-009-9
85-42-7
13149-00-3
14166-21-3
Hexahydromethylphthalic anhydride [1], Hexahydro-4-methylphthalic anhydride [2], Hexahydro-1-methylphthalic anhydride [3], Hexahydro-3-methylphthalic anhydride [4] [The individual isomers [2], [3] and [4] (including their cis- and trans- stereo isomeric forms) and all possible combinations of the isomers [1] are covered by this entry]247-094-1
243-072-0
256-356-4
260-566-1

25550-51-0
19438-60-9
48122-14-1
57110-29-9

Primary use is as a hardener for epoxy resins.
Tetraethyllead201-075-478-00-2
2-methoxyethanol203-713-7109-86-4
2-ethoxyethanol203-804-1110-80-5

[1] ECHA Authorisation List proposal, https://echa.europa.eu/recommendation-for-inclusion-in-the-authorisation-list

EU – ECHA Consultation on SVHC Database Suggests Challenges Ahead

On September 20, 2018, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) launched a consultation for input on the upcoming SVHCs in articles database.  Development and use of the database are mandated by the revised European Waste Framework Directive (WFD) that was published in June 2018 – see the July and August ECD Environmental Reports for additional background. The consultation period was very short, ending on October 9, 2018.

The supporting documentation and examples provided by ECHA during the consultation suggests that manufacturers, importers, distributers and/or retailers will be tasked to submit more detailed information on REACH SVHCs in products than previously expected by industry and may go beyond the mandatory requirements written in the regulations. This could impose a significant burden for companies, especially those with a large product portfolio.

Background

ECHA was tasked to create a database for manufacturers, importers, distributers and retailers to submit information on products that contain SVHCs above the REACH threshold – reporting will be required by the end of 2020.

ECHA provided two documents describing their current vision for the database and the information that companies will be expected to submit into the database.  The expectation is that all articles manufactured in the EU or imported into the EU and containing at least one SVHC above the REACH reporting threshold, will need to be reported in the database.

Overview of Information to be submitted

The first document “Draft scenario for a database on Candidate List substances in articles” provides background to the new database, indicating that every article or complex object that contains a Candidate List SVHC will need to be listed in the database with:

  1. Administrative/company data (related with submission management)
  2. Article/complex object data:
  3. Identification of the article/complex object
  4. Description of the article/complex object
  5. Candidate List substance data
  6. Safe use information

Proposed Technical Details

The second document “Technical supporting document” provides some technical details on the proposed reporting requirements.  The technical document provided by ECHA states that:

For complex objects, each supplier in the supply chain (in the production part of the supply chain) would need to provide the following types of additional information:

  • Identification of the complex object incorporating articles containing Candidate List substances: refers to the name of the complex object, the unique identifier (ID) and other identifiers which allow the identification of the specific complex object placed on the market;
  • Description of the complex object: refers to characteristics and/or use(s), as well as an explicit reference to each article containing Candidate List substances in the complex object;
  • Safe use information: refers to information for allowing the safe use of the complex object and to manage the risks from the incorporated articles containing Candidate List substances.

ECHA expects that a unique identifier will be assigned to the product and that information submitted by the manufacturer, etc. will indicate the specific type of product. ECHA is currently considering the:

  • United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) classification scheme
  • Global Product Classification (GPC) standards, or the
  • Combined nomenclature (CN codes) (which are already being used to import products into the EU)

The document also suggests that information needs to be submitted about the type of material containing the SVHC, concentration levels, whether the article is used by consumers or by workers, etc. and for complex objects, information identifying the specific articles containing the SVHC(s) (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Excerpt from “Technical supporting document”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Use Information

ECHA is considering how best to communicate safe use information.  The information needs to cover all life cycle stages, including at end of life. Their preference is to use a set of standardized statements for consistency providing advice to workers, consumers, waste treatment operators.  The technical annex document provides examples of such statements, although ECHA was clearly looking for feedback from stakeholders before finalizing a strategy:

Advice to workers:

  • Wear respiratory protection in processing operations generating dust (e.g. grinding, drilling)
  • Avoid prolonged direct contact with skin during use

Advice to consumers:

  • Avoid prolonged direct contact with skin during use
  • Keep out of reach of children
  • Keep away from heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames
  • Do not mix with municipal waste
  • For outdoor use only

Advice to waste treatment operators:

  • Dispose of as hazardous waste
  • Waste incineration is recommended
  • ..

Data submission format 

ECHA indicated that they plan to use a harmonized EU-wide format for submission into the database and that the SVHC in article database will be based on IUCLID (the database used by the chemical industry to register substances under the REACH regulation). They’ve suggested that their existing electronic submission tool (REACH-IT) will be used. REACH-IT is fine for complex substance registrations; however, it will be unnecessarily challenging and time consuming for SVHC reporting.

Several standards committees have submitted responses to the ECHA consultation suggesting that an industry standard material declaration data format be used. Submissions were made for:  IEC 62474 (EEE), IPC-1754 (Aerospace and Defense), and IPC-1752A (EEE).

GCC – EU Comments on GCC RoHS Regulations and Responses

In response to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) draft RoHS regulation, the EU submitted a few comments about the objectives of the regulation and some differences that were identified between the EU RoHS Directive and the GCC proposal.  Bahrain provided a response on behalf of the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO).

Certification Bodies

The draft GCC regulation specified a requirement for certification by an “Accepted Conformity Assessment Body” but it was unclear how an accepted body is designated.

The GSO responded that the GSO has established a “fully transparent system” for CABs qualification which is already being used for low voltage electronic equipment and toys.

“Relevant information, procedure for notification, and list of notified bodies can be reached at the following link: https://www.gso.org.sa/nb/

GSO stated that they will start to accredit Notified Bodies once the RoHS requirements are approved.

Self-Declaration vs. Certification

The EU suggested that the EU RoHS approach of manufacturer self assessment and declaration may be “less trade restrictive” than pre-market certification.

The GSO responded that they are seeking the simplest approach but that their market surveillance system is still weak, so it is too early to rely on a system based on self-declaration.

“… GSO needs first to strengthen the Market Surveillance in Member States, to establish a legal framework for producers liability and to encourage Consumer Protection Associations that contribute significantly to Market Surveillance.”

Exclusions for spare parts and other equipment

The EU noted that the draft does not include the general exclusion for spare parts for the repair and upgrade of older products.  The GSO responded that it will consider adding such a provision for spare parts to align with EU RoHS.

Alignment with EU RoHS exemptions

There are differences between the latest EU RoHS exemptions and the draft GCC RoHS. The GSO agreed to align the exemptions with EU RoHS Annex III and IV as last updated on “18 May 2018” and to include time limits on the exemptions.

Duplicate declarations by manufacturer and importer

The EU raised a concern that the requirement for similar declarations from both the manufacturer and the importer was redundant and inefficient. The GSO acknowledged that this issue has been previously raised on other regulations and the GSO is seeking with GCC member states to find a way to simplify this requirement.

Harmonized Implementation of requirements

The EU raised a desire for harmonized implementation of GCC RoHS across the GSO and its member countries. The GSO responded:

“This is the central mission of GSO, which commit and push towards a uniform implementation of GSO TRs,… “

Impact on EEE Manufacturers

The GSO commitment to align with EU RoHS on most of the technical requirements (except self-declaration) and to harmonize implementation across the GCC member states will be welcome to EEE manufacturers.  However, it appears that the certification requirement for RoHS compliance is likely to remain.

The agreement to add time limits on the exemptions to align with EU RoHS could create some challenges. History with other RoHS regulations has shown that most countries can’t maintain the exemptions as quickly as the European Commission, causing misalignment and potentially leading to old exemptions expiring without new exemptions being implemented in time. The upcoming inclusion of RoHS exemptions in the IEC62474 International standard could help regulators outside of the EU by enabling them to directly reference an International Recognized list that is maintained as up to date.

EU – Reply to China Comment on New Enforcement Proposal

China formally submitted a comment expressing concern about the proposed EU regulation that would require all manufacturers and distributors outside of Europe who sell products into Europe to have a designated EU party that is responsible for product compliance.   The European Union has now provided a response to the comment.

The China comment highlighted the complexity of current supply chains and sales distribution models, the importance of e-commerce and the challenge posed (especially to SMEs) of requiring all sellers into the EU to designate a local party for product compliance. Furthermore, the China comment suggests that some of the disclosure requirements (information about the distribution chain and the product) may violate confidential business information.  Overall, China recommends striking and amending several of the new requirements in the proposal.

In its response, the European Union stated:

“The EU carefully considered the various options to reduce the number of non-compliant products sold in the EU, in order to facilitate global supply chains without compromising on consumer safety and other requirements of public interest. The establishment of more complex or new supply chains with an increasing variety of actors should neither come at the detriment of product safety and compliance, nor should it restrict the possibility to enforce product safety and compliance requirements. The inclusion of the provision for a person responsible for compliance information was the most effective and proportionate way to achieve these policy objectives while avoiding unnecessary restrictions to trade.

The EU would like to highlight that this provision reinforces the capacity of manufacturers to communicate with market surveillance authorities.”

To address the issue that the distribution chain may be confidential information, the EU responded definitively:

“The identity of the person responsible for compliance information (which can be a legal or a natural person, at the choice of the manufacturer) cannot constitute a trade secret.”

The China comment expressed concern that the new requirements gave too much authority to enforcement bodies, implying that the enforcement bodies would abuse the information power that they are given.  This implication was not well received by the EU who (politely) responded that manufacturers and importers are already legally required to provide most of this information as technical documentation under existing regulations and that powers of enforcement are well controlled:

“The EU would like to highlight that paragraph 5 of Article 14 of the notified proposal explicitly provides that the powers of market surveillance authorities must be exercised in accordance with the principle of proportionality.”

Bottom line….  The EU thanked the Chinese for their comments but did not indicated that they would not be implementing any of the suggestions.

For the reasons specified above, the EU considers that the notified proposal is not more trade-restrictive than necessary to fulfil its legitimate policy objectives, also taking account of the risks that non-fulfilment would create. It therefore fully complies with the provisions of the TBT Agreement.

The China comment and the EU reply (along with the original posting of the proposal) are available on the EU TBT portal.

Impact to EEE Manufacturers

The EU reply suggests that they intend to follow through with the proposed rules and procedures for compliance.  EEE Manufacturers that sell products into the EU via local importers and distributers should may not only see a few additional paperwork requirements for paperwork; however, manufacturers that sell directly to end customers in the EU will need to delegate a local authority for compliance purposes.

EU – Draft Ecodesign Regulation for Servers and Data Storage Products

The European Commission has notified the WTO of a draft ecodesign regulation for servers and data storage products.  The draft regulation is the outcome of the original Lot 9 study under the Ecodesign Directive which started in 2013. It follows several years of work by the Commission, EU member state representatives, consultants, and industry consultations to develop a workable regulation.  The scope of the draft regulation is limited to specific types of servers and storage products and specifically excludes server appliances. However, the draft regulation does continue the Commission`s direction of including ecodesign requirements that go beyond just energy efficiency.

Description of content: This draft Commission Regulation sets compulsory requirements on the energy efficiency (such as minimum efficiency of the internal power supply unit) as well as on the material efficiency (such as the ability of certain components to be disassembled) of servers and data storage products. In accordance with Framework Directive 2009/125/EC, products not meeting these requirements will not be allowed to be placed on the EU market.

The draft Regulation is based on the findings of technical, environmental and economic studies which have been carried out with stakeholders from around the world.

The original intention was to implement a regulation that would cover all computer servers and storage products, but a methodology and metric that is applicable to all such products has eluded the regulator and their consultants.  As a result, the draft regulation, Article 1 (Subject matter and scope) establishes the scope as:

  1. This Regulation establishes ecodesign requirements for placing on the market and putting into service of servers and online data storage products.
  2. This Regulation shall not apply to the following products:

(a) servers intended for embedded applications;
(b) servers classified as small scale servers in terms of Regulation (EU) No 617/2013;
(c) servers with more than four processor sockets;
(d) server appliances;
(e) large servers;
(f) fully fault tolerant servers;
(g) network servers;
(h) small data storage products;
(i) large data storage products.

Definition of Server

The definition of server is provided in Article 2, Definitions as:

(1) ‘server’ means a computing product that provides services and manages networked resources for client devices, such as desktop computers, notebook computers, desktop thin clients, internet protocol telephones, smartphones, tablets, tele-communication, automated systems or other servers, primarily accessed via network connections, and not through direct user input devices, such as a keyboard or a mouse and with the following characteristics:

(a) it is designed to support server operating systems (OS) and/or hypervisors, and targeted to run user-installed enterprise applications;

(b) it supports error-correcting code and/or buffered memory (including both buffered dual in-line memory modules and buffered on board configurations);

(c) all processors have access to shared system memory and are independently visible to a single OS or hypervisor;

For clarity, Article 2 defines several other related terms such as server appliance, resilient server, large server, network server, etc.

(3) ‘server appliance’ means a server that is not intended to execute user-supplied software, delivers services through one or more networks, is typically managed through a web or command line interface and is bundled with a pre-installed OS and application software that is used to perform a dedicated function or set of tightly coupled functions.;

 Ecodesign Requirements

The technical requirements that need to be met by servers and online storage products are specified in Annex II to the regulation.

Three conformance dates are specified; the initial set of requirements need to be met by March 1, 2020, followed by stricter and/or additional requirements in 2021, 2023, and 2026.

Table 3: Compliance Dates for Ecodesign Requirements of Servers and Storage Products

Compliance DateRequirements
March 1, 2020Annex II points 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.3 and 3.4
March 1, 2021Annex II point 1.2.3
January 1, 2023Annex II point 1.1.2
January 1, 2026Annex II point 1.1.3

The draft regulation specifies requirements on:

  • Power Supply Efficiency (some of the requirements align with EnergyStar and others do not)
  • Idle State Power requirements
  • Material efficiency requirements (addressing disassembly secure data deletion and firmware upgrades)
  • Information to be provided by manufacturers

Furthermore, subsection 3.3 identifies information that manufacturers, authorized representatives, and importers need to make available information on the quantity of Cobalt in batteries and neodymium in HDDs and to provide disassembly instructions for the major components.

Overall, it seems that the Commission intends to persuade manufacturers to provide a high degree of transparency with information on product efficiency to potential customers, end-users, and recyclers.

Server Efficiency

The draft regulation refers to “server efficiency” and requires a server efficiency metric to be reported. It’s defined as the ratio of performance divided by power, Article 7 on “review” suggests that a minimum requirement may be set in the future.

ECD Compliance has produced a more detailed summary of the requirements and timeline.  Please contact ECD Compliance for additional information.