When it comes to replacement parts, you don’t have to worry about using lead-free components because the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) segment is exempt, right?
Meanwhile, the components industry is going through such a massive switch to lead-free parts, you may find that the replacement part for your refrigerator is lead-free, even though it doesn’t have to be.
And soon, if you want that non-compliant leaded version—because you’re in the defence industry and don’t trust lead-free parts—it may cost you more than the new lead-free part. So even though MRO components are exempt, they are certainly not unaffected by the EU’s RoHS regulations.
“When it comes to products that are already built - like a refrigerator or a laptop, everything that goes into the product is grandfathered in,” explains Jeff Shafer, senior VP of products at Newark InOne (Farnell InOne in Australia), a large MRO parts distributor. “They can use a non-compliant part for repairs.”
There is no limit on how long non-compliant parts can be used for products produced before the RoHS deadline of July 1, 2006, he continued. “There is no end to the grandfathering, plus there will be some products that don’t have to be compliant after the July 2006 deadline. You have industries such as auto and the military that are exempt. A radio going into a Toyota is exempt, so repair parts are exempt.”
However, there will come a time when those parts will be produced in lead-free versions. And the leaded version will probably be sold at a higher cost because it will be produced in smaller lots. “As suppliers make the conversion ... some will sell their non-compliant parts at a premium,” Shafer says.