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Useful information for members

RoHS Directive - July 2006  Banned Substances Directives

The Directives

ELV – (End of Life Vehicle 2000/53/EC)

  • Legislation aimed at the automotive Industry.
  • Reason it was written was to reduce the effect on the environment due to the demolishing of vehicles.
  • In 1999 a report was issued which stated that 19 million vehicles were scrapped each year of which a large percentage ended in landfill sites.
  • Chemicals used in the 1000`s of parts assembled in a vehicle leech into the water tables and have an adverse effect on the environment and population.
  • It is written to cover two stages. Scrapping of existing vehicles to landfill and the restriction of substances that can be used to build new vehicles. 

WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronics Environmental 2002/96/EC)

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive  (WEEE) aims to minimise the impacts of electrical and electronic equipment on the environment during their life times and when they become waste.  It applies to a huge spectrum of products.  It encourages and sets criteria for the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment.  It makes OEMs responsible for financing most of these activities. Private householders are to be able to return WEEE without charge. 

RoHS  (Restriction of Harmful Substances 2002/95/EC)

The RoHS Directive will ban the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants from 1st July 2006.  There are a number of exempted applications for these substances. RoHS takes its scope broadly from the WEEE Directive.  Manufacturers will need to ensure that their products - and their components - comply in order to continue on the European market.

The Banned Substances

  Hexavalent Chrome

  • Also known as Chrome 6 (CR6)
  • Hexavalent Chrome is a chemical used in the passivation of electro plating and is added to mechanical plating to create a corrosion resistant i.e. Zinc & Clear will have hexavalent chrome in the clear passivate, Dacromet has hex chrome added to the coating.
  • Hexavalent chrome is carcinogenetic (activates cancer within the body) and has been replaced by Trivalent chrome (also known as Chrome 3 or CR3), which is natural to the environment and the human body, therefore is safe to use and does not have a detrimental affect on the environment. 
  • There are differences in the performance between Hexavalent and Trivalent chrome, Trivalent does not self-repair as does Hexavalent chrome therefore if scratched will rust. This is overcome by applying a wax on top of the passivate. This is called thick Trivalent, not only does it self repair but will then give a greater corrosion resistance. Without the wax the process is called thin Trivalent.  There are other alternatives to this that platers may offer i.e. by adding cobalt to the plating.


Banned except for the following exemptions:
Lead Allowance as an alloying element, therefore to improve machineability:

  • Steel containing up to 0.35% lead by weight
  • Copper Alloy containing up to 4% lead by weight
  • Aluminium containing up to 0.4% lead by weight 

Also exempt is solder in electronic circuit boards and other applications 


Completely banned except for some applications that do not affect i.e. light bulbs. 


Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB).  

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE).


Key Dates

  • No Electrical equipment can be sold in Europe after 1 st July 2006 if it is not compliant to the RoHS directives

  • No Vehicle can be sold in Europe after 1 st July 2007 if it is not compliant to the ELV directive
IMDS (International Material Data System)

To understand and manage materials with components, Ford were the industry leader in developing the IMDS, a web-based electronic tool that was developed by seven auto manufacturers in 1997 to handle tracking, review and reporting of all vehicle components and service parts from all suppliers.  IMDS now has 12 automotive companies as official members. More than 10,000 automotive supplier companies from all over the world are using the system.  Most major companies use this as the method of responding to customer requirements.

If you require further information on this subject call the FERA Help Line + 44(0) 121 601 350 and we can put you in contact with a FERA expert in order that the directives are meet. 


Useful Links for further information


Note: This is for information only and not a specification to be supplied against.  For anyone requiring knowledge of these directives please refer to the DTI website above.

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