According to an article this week in Design News sister publication, Electronics Weekly, 99 percent of electronic products are 99 percent compliant. The assessment comes from Chris Smith, the director of RoHS enforcement at the UK’s National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML). In the small number of cases where the products were not in compliance, the agency was able to work out a solution. “We have been very close to prosecuting companies, to the point of assembling formal case files. Then we have solved the problems before we got to court,” says Smith.
The article notes that the UK is more interested in forcing compliance than prosecuting manufacturers. “We are not in the business of putting businesses out of business. We are in the business of generating compliance,” says Smith. “When we find poor compliance, we have been to see a company and worked with them, and their compliance has gone up.”
The article by Steve Bush notes that the NWML works through a combination of documentation requests and product testing. The agency’s largest target is firms assembling and selling personal computers in the UK. The agency is watching these firms because there is some confusion in that industry over whether the directive applies to computers. “We have spoken to a range of these companies, large and small, and 20 percent – even some of the multi-million turnover companies – have the view that they are not ‘producers’ in the terms of the directive, even though they are,” says Smith.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.