Dr. Ron Lasky put out a blog indicating that the transition to RoHS-compliant electronic components has been a success. In his blog, “RoHS 3 Years Later,” Lasky — who has spent 10 years following the lead-free movement — notes that more than $1 trillion dollars worth of RoHS compliant electronics have been manufactured “without significant incident.” He notes that the $1 trillion figure is derived by the total parts produced since the July 1, 2006 RoHS deadline and includes parts that go into countries that don’t have RoHS laws. Since most component manufacturers did not run two lines of compliant and non-compliant parts, even parts going into areas without RoHS laws were RoHS compliant.He explains that part of the success of the RoHS conversion was the lack of hard monitoring by the European Union. The relaxed compliance atmosphere allowed the industry to make a smooth transition without interruptions in supply of electronic parts and finished goods.
Lasky also notes the unintended benefit of the RoHS conversion. “In third-world countries, electronics are recycled for usable electrical components and scrap metal,” says Lasky. “Almost all of this recycling is performed unsafely. With RoHS-compliant products, this unsafe recycling will be done more safely.”
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.