QSC takes aim at e-waste with RoHS compliance
Oct 20, 2006 12:35 PM
Regardless of whether you call it "Roz", “Rose”, or "Row Haws", the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) is an initiative with one clear purpose: Helping to solve the problem of how to reduce huge amounts of toxic e-waste. Adopted in February 2003 by the European Union, the directive took effect on July 1st of this year, and places clear restrictions on the use of six hazardous materials used in the manufacture of electronic and electrical components.
QSC Audio Products announced just prior to the July 1st deadline that 56 percent of its catalog is in full compliance with RoHS. As of Oct. 1, 2006, 72 percent of its product line became compliant, with 83 percent expected to follow by Jan. 1, 2007. All new designs will also comply, but some legacy models will not be compliant in their existing configurations. While each European Union member state has adopted its own enforcement and implementation policies using the directive as a guideline, the six substances now restricted are listed across-the-board as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium VI, and PBB and PBDE, both of which are used as flame retardants in some plastics.
"We have been at full throttle gathering compliant information from suppliers since early 2003," relates QSC's VP of Manufacturing Operations Eric Andersen, the man who spearheaded QSC's drive to meet the eco-minded initiative. "We formed a compliance team made up of representatives from all company functions. We changed our manufacturing processes on a number of levels, have rewritten specifications, changed documentation, and added policies and procedures that affect everything from the way product is designed to the way it is built. It was a tremendous task, but well worth the effort and expense when you consider the business reasons for embracing environmental initiatives. A proactive approach will have its rewards. We are now turning our attention to other geographies adopting similar laws."
Closely aligned with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), RoHS is being studied closely in California and other US states, as well as in countries including China and Korea seeking to adopt similar initiatives and legislation.
"Yes, there's a certain satisfaction that comes with being one of the first manufacturers in our industry to achieve RoHS compliance," QSC Director of International Sales Mauricio Saint Martin adds. "But more importantly, it's gratifying to know that in context, we achieved all this by simply adhering to our own core values of delivering products that are reliable and meet the needs of our end users. When it comes to our planet, we're all end users. Any steps we can take to make it a better place is certainly in harmony with everyone's expectations."