A recent survey by the Association Connecting Electronic Industries (IPC) finds that more than 40 percent of manufacturing personnel in the interconnect industry have no understanding of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals). Nearly one third of senior management and 29 percent of engineering personnel are also unaware of how the European Union’s legislation affects their companies. Even 28 percent of environmental, health and safety personnel have no understanding of REACH’s impact.
The electronic survey – which was sent to executives throughout the electronic interconnect supply chain in North America and Europe – finds that only 18.3 percent of companies have identified and/or inventoried all substances in their products, even though the pre-registration deadline for REACH – December 1 – is quickly approaching. Only 60.5 percent of chemical supplier respondents are planning to register or pre-register substances at all.
In contrast to RoHS, which covers substances specifically in electronic components, REACH covers substances in nearly all applications, totaling 30,000 unique chemicals. “REACH will have a far-reaching effect on any company that buys, sells or uses chemicals,” says Tony Hilvers, VP of industry programs for IPC. “Inevitably, all companies that use chemicals or make products that contain chemicals will be affected. That pretty much sums up the entire electronics supply chain.” Hivers notes that the survey indicates that the electronics interconnect industry is “woefully unprepared for the hit it is about to take.”
IPC has scheduled a number of efforts to help electronics companies prepare for REACH, including a number of programs in the coming months. IPC will present the REACH Critical Update Webcast on pre-registration issues for PCB and EMS suppliers on September 18, 1:30 to 3:30 Central time (contact: SusanFilz@ipc.org). IPC has also lunched a REACH Supply Chain Task Force the help companies address the impacts of REACH. The task force includes representatives from the OEM, EMS, PCB and supplier industries.