The Swiss-based International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has announced on its website that it has started work on developing a worldwide material declaration standard to aid companies in the electronics industry that need to respond to environmental directives.
In a statement on the IEC’s website, the industry group explained the forthcoming global standard, noting that “The team that is working on working on the IEC’s Material Declaration plans to develop a single truly international passport for environmentally conscious design in products and sub-parts, making it the first single international standard for the declaration of materials for the electronics industries.” The “Material Declaration for Electrical and Electronic Equipment” is being prepared under the responsibility of IEC Technical Committee 111 (Environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems).
While the website’s statement didn’t give a date by which the standard will be released, experts in the electronics industry expect the standard to arrive soon after February of 2007. At that time, industry insiders expect the IEC standard will override the IPC-1752 materials declaration standard.
One of the goals for the IEC standard is to provide a common declaration format that would work for a wide number of directives as they appear across the globe in places such as China and Korea. “A global standard concerned with protecting the environment will have the chance to play a pivotal role and gain endorsement from some of the big players – countries like China, for example – where measures to protect the environment are already being taken,” says the website statement.
Some believe the new standard will be slightly easier to use than IPC-1752. Dr. N. Nagaraj of Papros Inc., a company that has developed software that supports materials declaration, notes that “Companies that are keeping their data exported in the XML format of their IPC-1752 material declarations might find it a little easier to transition to the new standards which are expected to include data reporting in non-proprietary XML, though the schema most probably will be different.” He notes that in the meantime, “companies can continue to use their data in the IPC-1752 XML format for their on-going country-specific and region-specific RoHS compliance work.”
Nagaraj notes that his company has already made adjustments to accommodate materials declaration for China RoHS and plans to incorporate the IEC standard into its software once it’s released. “As far as our own strategy, we released a new minor upgrade to make it easier for companies to comply with China RoHS based on using data in the IPC-1752,” says Nagaraj. “When the new IEC standards are released, we plan to support them and offer conversion from the current IPC-1752 forms.”