Now that RoHS is nearing its July 1 deadline, the new target for the European Union (EU) is batteries. EU member states are presently in discussions on the details of a battery directive. They’re expected to finalize restrictions this summer. Member states will then have two years to implement the directive’s rules.
The battery directive will resemble the WEEE take-back laws. Those producing batteries or incorporating batteries into their products will be responsible for taking back or recycling batteries at the product’s end-of-life. Some claim the WEEE law already covers much of this obligation, since batteries are already pulled out during WEEE dismantling.
The directive will also ban some content, specifically cadmium and mercury. The result will be a European ban on nickel cadmium batteries. Presently, manufacturers are trying to shape the final version of the directive, with particular concern over collection targets that are now drafted at a minimum 25 percent of sales and rising to 45 percent over 10 years.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.