RoHS auditing involves analyzing a sample to determine the presence and amount of any of the ecologically dangerous substances listed by the RoHS directive. There are a variety of different analytical techniques used to detect these dirty demons; x-ray fluorescence or energy dispersive spectroscopy are sufficient to find the elemental pollutants like lead or mercury, while tools like Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy are necessary to examine circuit boards for more complex polybrominated compounds.
A manufacturer may choose to have RoHS certification performed at many junctures in their process. Components from a third party supplier can be audited on a piece-by-piece or lot-by-lot basis to ensure compliance to RoHS restrictions, or completely finished assemblies can be submitted for analysis to ensure that all components and processes used to create a device meet the necessary requirements. While these compliant devices may eventually make their way to the great junkyard in the sky, the environmental impact they have once they get there is much less, thanks to the due diligence spent by the manufacturer in ensuring conformance to RoHS requirements.
Compliance with RoHS is not only ecologically responsible, but fiscally beneficial is well. In order to sell consumer electronics in many areas of the world, it is absolutely necessary to be RoHS compliant; in these instances, RoHS auditing can be the gateway to opening new markets and increasing a company’s potential profits. From this perspective, it behooves all manufacturers to invest the time and energy necessary to have their parts audited for RoHS compliance.