The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative announced recently that the majority of its OEM and EMS members strongly support the use of unique part numbers for RoHS-compliant components. The announcement follows last year's statement by the National Electronics Distribution Association calling for unique part numbering for green components.
Many suppliers, however, have resisted issuing unique part numbers because of the data management burden that comes with creating a new set of numbers for lead-free versions of existing parts. Most companies will continue to produce traditional parts for exempt military customers. Some OEM and EMS companies also have balked because they will be forced to constantly revise their BOMs as new part numbers are introduced over the coming months leading up to next year's July 1 RoHS deadline.
Component suppliers have been mixed on their RoHS part-numbering plans. While the majority of suppliers intend to issue new part numbers, a significant minority want to identify RoHS-compliant parts by date and lot codes. "About half our suppliers plan to change their part numbers and half don't," says Steve Hopkins, VP of RoHS business development at Newark InOne. He adds that some of the suppliers that initially resisted new part numbers have recently changed their policies in favor of issuing new numbers.
GE To Go Really Green
General Electric has announced a new initiative to develop and market environmentally sound products. Following a growing tendency on the part of companies to adopt made-up buzzwords, GE's chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt called the move "ecomagination." He said he intends to focus the company's "unique energy, technology, manufacturing, and infrastructure capabilities to develop tomorrow's solutions." Immelt said ecomagination will involve solar energy, hybrid locomotives, fuel cells, lower-emission aircraft engines, lighter and stronger materials, efficient lighting and water purification technology. To push the program, GE will double its investment in R&D from $700M in 2004 to $1.5B by 2010. Immelt says the move will be good for the bottom line. "We plan to make money doing it," Immelt says . "Increasingly for business, 'green' is green."
More RoHS Help Online
Joining other electronic distributors, Newark InOne, a Chicago subsidiary of the U.K.'s Premier Farnell, has launched RoHS Express (Newarkinone.com/rohs), an area of its website dedicated to emerging environmental laws and their impact on manufacturers. RoHS Express includes state-by-state green laws in the U.S., green news from Europe, and a step-by-step guide to complying with RoHS. The site will also track compliance developments at Newark InOne's 425-plus suppliers.