Deal yourself a smart hand with Eurocircuits

It’s the beginning of a new year and we would like to thank our many customers for their valued business. As our thank-you, every user will receive a pack of eurocircuits playing cards with his first Eurocircuits order placed on or after Monday 12 January 2015. The cards will be shipped with the delivery.

Often, companies limit their thanks to the “first lucky 100” orders. Eurocircuits have over 9,000 active customers in a year and we want to thank as many of their eurocircuits users as possible. We have prepared plenty of packs of cards. So we can say that the offer is limited to the first 8.000 smart users.

As well as the playing cards we will be offering many other good things during 2015, good deliveries, good quality and good prices, as well as new tools to help you bring your projects to market on time and on budget. For a starter, visit our blog Looking forward in 2015. We will keep you updated via our Technical update emails – and every new release will be fully described in a blog.

The Eurocircuits team wish you a healthy and prosperous 2015.

In this Update:

  • New products for 2015
  • 2014 – another record year
  • Continuity of supply – we don’t buy from China

New products for 2015

Throughout 2015 we will roll-out new tools to ensure that your boards are fabricated and assembled faster and more reliably.

  1. New pre- and post-order visualisation tools:
    • See the expected results of routine data preparation (soldermask adjustment, silkscreen clipping, …)before you order
    • Choose from online solutions to any production issues detected by our validation tools (pre-order) or by our engineers (post-order)
  2. Design for Assembly tools:
    • Edit solder-paste pads to optimise paste deposition
    • Detect potential soldering issues (solder escape, solder bridging, …)
  3. 3D verification tools:
    • Generate 3D images of the assembled PCB
    • Generate 3D vector files for mechanical CAD systems to confirm that the assembled board will fit in its housing

Plus new services

  1. Schematics to PCB: producing PCBs starting from digitally supplied schematics and BOM
  2. SEMI-FLEX pool: multilayer PCBs which can be bent to fit into complex spaces.
  3. High definition soldermask: our new direct-imaging system allows tighter tolerance soldermasks for more reliable assembly of QFNs, BGAs…
For more information, see our BLOG: Looking forward at 2015. Which of the new products will be most useful for you? Use the Survey form in the BLOG to tell us. We’ll use the results to prioritise the roll-out.

2014 – a record year

2014 was a record year for sales, orders and the number of active customers. This allowed us to re-invest €1.5 million during 2014 in new equipment and new products to keep our customers at the cutting edge of PCB technology.

New services in 2014.
  1. RF pool: upgraded to provide a lower-cost solution for RF prototypes
  2. New order time-line: for easier order tracking
  3. Pre-production approval: for a final check on manufacturing data
  4. PCB PIXture: make your PCBs stand out from the crowd
New software tools.
  1. Build wizard updated: pick the most cost-effective multilayer build.
  2. Marking editor: add order-specific text exactly where you want it on the PCB.
  3. Panel Editor: design on screen the panel you need for assembly.
New eC-equipment.
  1. eC-test-mate: fixtureless testing for assembled PCBs
  2. eC-pre-heater: for faster and more reliable hand-soldering of critical components.

For more information, see our BLOG Looking back at 2014.

Continuity of supply

All our boards are produced in our own factories in Germany, Hungary and India. Don’t let your PCB supply get threatened by the Chinese New Year shut-downs (around 19 February), Contact us (euro@eurocircuits.com) and we will be happy to keep your production flowing. Our BINDI pool service now handles orders up to 50 m2.

Technical blogs

Some recent highlights:
If you would like us to produce a blog or white paper on a particular aspect of PCB manufacturing technology, PCB soldering or EAGLE CAD, email us at euro@eurocircuits.com.

Looking forward in 2015

We have a number of projects scheduled to be rolled out during the course of 2015. These are being developed in response to requests from our customers for more tools to help them get their designs to market faster and more reliably.

In 2015 we will launch  new tools to resolve potential production issues before they delay delivery or increase costs.

We have already started to provide assembly and test solutions with our equipment range. New software tools for 2015 will help designers verify the solderability of their designs, and confirm at the design stage that the assembled boards will fit into their housings.

New services include PCB layout from schematic and BOM, semi-flex PCBs to fit electronics into complex spaces without the need for connectors, and tighter toleranced soldermasks using our new Ledia direct-imaging system.

These projects are all in the pipeline. We welcome your comments, as this might influence the order in which we will complete, test and launch them. Please leave your feedback using the voting buttons below.

Software tools:

  1. CAM tools:

    Up to now, PCB Visualizer has been an image-based tool. During 2014 we have been developing a new vector-based version. This means that the data will be composed, like Gerber, of “real” entities (tracks, pads, planes, holes etc.). This allows for faster processing, but also opens the way for a whole range of new applications and repair solutions.

    • Pre-CAM data. When we prepare a job for production we run a number of routine automated procedures on our front-end engineering CAM systems ( more). These adjust the design data to our manufacturing tolerances. The procedures include
    • Pre-order solver. Our PCB Visualizer tools will continue to flag up DRC issues as they arise. The Pre-order solver software will propose possible solutions based on our service specifications and the options available in our CAM system. This may mean simply changing the classification of the job, but other options can include reducing a via-hole size, enlarging a pad size etc. Users will have the option to confirm the individual changes proposed by setting up approval rules (accept all changes, accept certain types of change, or confirm each case). The proposed solutions will be as described in our data preparation BLOGS Eurocircuits Data Preparation – Single Image 1 and Eurocircuits Data Preparation – Single Image 2
    • Post-order solver. This will incorporate the present exception flow into the PCB Visualizer tool-set. The Post-order Solver will present the solutions proposed by the CAM-operator during the data preparation workflow. The user can accept or reject them. If he rejects the proposed solution he can modify his data, as at present in the case of exceptions, or he can discuss alternative solutions with our engineers via the Online Chat.
  2. Assembly tools:

    • Solder paste editor. Edit solder paste pads on customer’s own paste layer or one generated by Eurocircuits. Functions include adding and deleting pads, as well as enlarging or shrinking them in X, Y or both. Add tooling holes or targets plus dimensions and positioning for the stencil.
    • Design for Assembly. Two predictive tools to help to detect locations where there is a risk of poor soldering.
      • Solder escape. Detect and flag places where solder could escape from the solder-pad, leaving a weak joint.
      • Solder bridge. Detect and flag potential solder shorts based on minimum isolation distances, soldermask configuration and solder process type.
    • 3D-DFM. “What will my assembled PCB look like?” “Will it fit into its housing?” Upload a digital BOM in EAGLE or Altium format with your PCB data-set and the 3D-DFM software will generate 3D views of your board and components with full 3D dimension data. You can then output a 3D vector file that can be input in a mechanical CAD-system, closing the gap between board data and mechanical data.
  3. Services:

    • Schematic to PCB. Supply us with the schematics + BOM (in EAGLE or Altium format). We will run BOM list analyses, place the components to your rules and lay out the board, and then produce the PCB. Each stage will include a customer approval step.
    • SEMI-FLEX pool. We will offer multilayer PCBs (4 or 6 layers to be decided) with a semi-flexible 100µm FR4 core that will allow a limited number of flexings (maximum +/-25) over a radius of 4-5mm. This technology can avoid the use of connectors when fitting PCBs into complex spaces.
    • High definition solder mask. We have recently installed a Ledia direct imaging machine. This exposes standard photoimageable soldermasks directly, without the need for phototools. Direct exposure allows narrower clearances between soldermask and copper pads as well as thinner webs between soldermask windows for easier and more reliable assembly of difficult components (QFN, BGA, small pitch, etc…). See our PCB Design Guidelines p. 15.

Looking back at 2014

Let’s throw some figures at you:

PCB services

Year

Customers

Orders

Sales

2014

+/- 9.000

+/- 77.500

+/- 16.600.000

2013

+/- 8.000

+/- 69.500

+/- 15.500.000

2012

+/- 6.900

+/- 63.000

+/- 15.000.000

All sales are to customers excluding transport costs and taxes.

Eurocircuits has shown a consistent growth in customers and orders over the last 2 decades. 2014 has been another successful year with a consolidated turnover including PCB services, eC-equipment and consumables of 17.5 million Euro. This growth allows us to continue to develop new products and services for our customers. We will continue to invest in new equipment and new processes to keep you at the cutting edge of PCB technology, and to provide more of the tools that will help you deliver your products to market on time and on budget.

2015 will see another leap forward in PCB services, in PCB software tools and in eC-equipment. These are described in our “Looking forward in 2015” . Here let’s summarize what was new in 2014.

First the services:

  1. RF pool updated and extended. We introduced Isola’s I-Tera material to provide a lower-cost solution for RF development.
    RF pool – insights and details
  2. New order time line. So you can track your orders more easily through manufacturing
    New timeline makes order tracking smarter
  3. Pre-production approval. For customers who want to check the final production data for their PCB just before it hits the shop-floor…
    Pre-production approval
  4. PCB PIXture. Give your PCBs a powerful visual impact and make them stand out from the crowd
    PCB PIXture launched
  5. More options added for STANDARD pool, BINDI pool and stencils
    New Eurocircuits products and services presented at this year”s Electronica 2014

New software tools

 to help designers cut costs and tailor their design data for particular orders:

  1. Buildup wizard and Layer editor updated and extended. Choose the most cost-effective multilayer builds in the Buildup Wizard and specify blind/buried vias when needed. Use the Layer Editor to confirm or fine-tune the build found by PCB Visualizer tools.
    Buildup wizard and layer editor updated
  2. Marking editor. Add order-specific text (QR codes, production dates etc.) to your PCB, or place order numbers, UL codes etc. in your preferred locations on the board.
    Marking editor
  3. Panel editor. Build a custom panel on screen to suit your assembly requirements, or view an eC-panel before production.
    Panel editor

New equipment

 including fixtureless testing of assembled PCBs as well as hand-soldering aids:

  1. eC-test-mate. Run functional tests on assembled prototype and small batch PCBs without the time/cost needed to build test fixtures.
    eC-test-mate
  2. eC-pre-heater. Reduce heating times and the risk of thermal stress to make hand-soldering/de-soldering of critical components faster and more reliable.

Workshops

We organized a series of workshops on prototype soldering and on working with the EAGLE CAD system. Many of our customers upgraded their EAGLE systems in the summer when CadSoft released a major new version. If you would like to join a workshop, contact your local sales team or email euro@eurocircuits.com.

Investments in ICT, plant and equipment.

We re-invested more than €1.5 million during 2014 in R&D and in new plant and equipment including:

  1. New servers and extra software licenses to boost the capacity and speed of our website, so that we can provide a better access experience to more customers at the same time.
  2. PCB Visualizer development. Each year we spend over 300k Euro in further development of our online tools because we believe in tools that make ordering faster and more efficient.
  3. eC-test-mate and eC-pre-heater development.
  4. Ledia direct-imaging. Direct imaging machines expose photo-imageable soldermasks and photo-sensitive etch and plating resists directly using a laser or as on the Ledia a tuneable LED light source. This cuts process times as no phototools are required and allows greater imaging precision and finer features. For the first applications, see our “Looking forward in 2015” BLOG.
  5. New plating and water treatment plant in our Aachen plant. We take environmental issues very seriously and work continuously to reduce energy and water consumption and maintain the highest quality of water output.

The Eurocircuits team wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

In this Update:

  • Equipment offer – only two working weeks left
  • Christmas closing date
  • PCB Visualizer upgrades
  • Eurocircuits/Elektor Christmas tree
  • 2015

Only two working weeks left on our special equipment offer

Place an order for any of our machines: eC-stencil-mate , eC-reflow-mate , eC-pre-heater or eC-test-mate before 1 January 2015, and you will receive a 50€ (excl. taxes) discount key valid for any of our PCB services. On top of that, if you order both eC-stencil-mate and eC-reflow-mate before 1 January 2015 you will receive a free eC-equipment-starter-kit .

Christmas closure dates

Our offices and factories will close on 19 December and re-open on 5 January.

The factories will run back-end operations only on 22 December, so final shipments will be on 22 December. 5 January will be a full production day

These dates are already incorporated into our Price calculator menus.

PCB Visualizer upgrades

We have made PCB Visualizermore comfortable and safer to use.

Faster loading

Our customers have told us that loading complex PCB images can be a bit slow, especially when they only want to check the board parameters or prices. With the latest update, the board data and prices appear onscreen right away while the board image is loading. Image loading is faster, too.

Safer closing

There is nothing more annoying – or dangerous – than making changes and forgetting to save them. Now if you have made a change, PCB Visualizer will always ask if you want to save it before closing.

Christmas trees

The Eurocircuits/ElektorLED Christmas tree is back again. Create your own Christmas tree experience with 62 programmable blue LEDs. Download our animations or program your own. Upload your sequence. The best will be shown on our website.

2015

Our next Eurocircuits Technical Update will be sent out in early January, listing our planned developments for 2015. We will include links to voting buttons, so that users can tell us their priorities.

Technical blogs

Some recent highlights:

  • PCB PIXture . Make your PCB stand out from the crowd with a visual image printed in the soldermask.
  • Optimum PCB Design Flow. How to get the best out of our DRC and Design for Manufacturability tools.

We have an on-going program of technical papers, but if there are particular topics on which you would like us to produce a blog or white paper, please email your usual sales contact or euro@eurocircuits.com.

Support in Spanish and Portuguese now available online and offline

We are delighted to inform you that we have recently appointed Claudio Cardoso Guardao as Customer Support Engineer Spain and Portugal, working out of our headquarters in Mechelen, Belgium.

We have a rapidly expanding number of customers in Spain and Portugal, and we were very fortunate to be able to add Claudio to our support team. He is a native speaker of Portuguese who is also fluent in Spanish, French and English. He joins us with three years’ experience of international customer support, based here in Belgium. He has already spent time in our factories in Germany and Hungary to learn how we make PCBs.

If you check our online blogs, you will see that Claudio has started to translate recent technical blogs into both Spanish and Portuguese, for example on the new PCB PIXture tool. This is part of our drive to provide all our customers with easy access to the technical and online tools they need to bring their designs to market on time and on budget.

You can contact Claudio via our online chat service, by email at claudio.guardao@eurocircuits.com or by phone on +32 15 28 16 38.

Eurocircuits N.V.
Antwerpsesteenweg 66, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium
Tel +32 15 28 16 30, email: euro@eurocircuits.com,
web: www.eurocircuits.com
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The History of Order Pooling?

Order pooling is now a well-established technique used to cut costs for prototypes and small batch PCBs.  But what is it and what is its history?

What is Order Pooling?

Order Pooling

Order pooling means combining several different customers’ orders on the same standard manufacturing panel.  “Order pooling” or “pooling” is probably the most common name but the process is also called “order combination”, “panel sharing”, “multi-panels” …

Pooling orders on standard panels cuts costs in 4 ways:

  1. Small individual orders are turned into a larger production order
  2. 1 machine/process set-up is shared between all the pooled orders
  3. Material utilisation is greatly improved
  4. Standardised panels make production much more efficient.

Together these can cut production costs by as much as 90%.

Order pooling is not the same as “panel filling” where a customer buys a whole panel of the same PCBs, and gets as many circuits as will fit on the panel.  This offers good material utilisation, but only if you need that many circuits; if you only need 1 or 2 small boards it can work out quite expensive.  In practice it reflects how conventional fabricators will actually produce the PCBs on standard panels.  At Eurocircuits we use it only for the occasional unusual combination of production parameters for which we don’t get enough orders to pool.

Of course, to make pooling work successfully the fabricator needs enough orders with the same technology to achieve a good “fill” on the standard panels.  Too few orders mean that material utilisation will be reduced, driving up costs.  Or not all board types can be pooled every day, extending deliveries.  Cutting corners by combining boards with different technologies on the same panel (for example, by combining 2- and 4-layer boards) risks serious reductions in quality.  At Eurocircuits we handle more than 100,000 orders a year  This allows us to offer the widest range of pooling options without impacting price, delivery or quality.

Production Panel

Online Pricing and Ordering

Today, order pooling for prototype and small batch PCBs is usually combined with online price calculation and ordering.  This exploits an added advantage of order pooling: ease of costing.  As the fabricator knows the set-up and production costs of the standard panels for each technology, pricing depends broadly on the area of panel each circuit uses.  There is no need to count holes or drill changes or measure the length of the profile.  Or to charge separately for tooling, or to impose a minimum charge.  All this makes online pricing and ordering much faster and more convenient for the customers, who no longer have to wait hours or days for a sales office to “get back” to them.  It also cuts the price of their boards: online pricing and ordering needs fewer administration staff.

If you follow internet discussions of online pricing and ordering, for example in LinkedIn PCB groups, two objections are raised:

  1. It only works for simple technologies
  2. If you use a sales office they will usually (or at least they should) check your data.

Eurocircuits have developed solutions for both of these issues.

  1. We handle a large number of orders each day so we can pool a wide range of different options.  This has allowed us to develop sophisticated “smart” menus which allow customers to price and order complex boards swiftly and securely online.
  2. We offer onscreen visual checking tools to ensure that your boards meet the technology requirements of each class.  Where possible, the online tools propose minor changes that will fit your design into a lower-priced class.

MOVIE: What is Order Pooling

This film explains briefly the principle of order pooling, how Eurocircuits applies it and what it can do for you.

The History of Order Pooling.

The pooling concept no doubt dates back to the dawn of human history when the first cave-man popped into the next-door caves to say that he was trekking to the nearest outcrop and did anyone want any flint nodules to make their tools.  Pooling became the basis of wholesaling and all forms of grouped transport.  Today it is used every day by consumers, for example for buying plane tickets or hotel rooms through third-party websites, or in collective buying schemes.  The more people who make their purchases through the same online channel, the better price the channel will get and the less the purchasers will pay.

A number of companies in Europe tried order pooling in the 70s, but the process was difficult to implement in the days of hand-taped artworks, paper-tape driven drills and fixture-based testers.  Preparing tooling for a panel of different PCBs, even for a customer who insisted that he would always re-order the same boards in the same quantities, was expensive and inflexible.  If demand changed or boards were scrapped during fabrication or assembly and had to be replaced, either expensive new tooling had to be made or a lot of surplus PCBs produced.

The situation changed during the 1980s as CAD systems and laser-photoplotters cut the cost and ease of tooling.  Indeed, it was the laser photoplotting bureaus that first used the pooling concept.  Plotters were very expensive and by today’s standards quite slow.  At first, most PCB manufacturers could not afford to invest in the new technology and so used plotting bureaus. Olivier Cadic, former owner of Info-Elec in Paris, once one of the largest bureaus in Europe and founder of www.pcb007.com, explains how he used pooling to bring down the costs of the finished films.

In the mid ‘80s at Info-Elec we introduced pooling for laser photo plotting.  Customers could upload their Gerber files via modem onto a PC where they landed in a queue. Software developed by Info-Elec and the plotter manufacturer DISC then organized the queue in such a way that the film formats were efficiently filled with customer data.  This optimised the use of expensive film and machine time, resulting in lower plotting costs per dm² and better prices to our customers”.

PCB manufacturers were also quick to exploit the new opportunities.  Thus Ton Klaver of Bellmann in Holland actively promoted the idea of PCB pooling to his customers.

“In the late ‘70s (1979) we started to present a clearly defined technology for single- and double-sided boards to our customers.  We offered attractive prices based on the cost savings achieved by pooling orders on one production panel.  This convinced them to restrict their designs to the technological parameters we offered.  The customers could calculate the prices for themselves using a simple program that, in those pre-internet days, we distributed on floppy disks.”

These trends accelerated in the ‘90s.  PC-based CAD systems finally replaced hand-taped artworks; laser-photoplotters became faster and cheaper; CAM systems became more capable; production and test equipment could be driven digitally.  The cost of tooling was slashed, so it now became feasible to make a set of tooling for a pooled panel, and then throw it away.

At the same time during the ‘90s and the early years of the new millennium the dynamics of the European and American PCB industry were changing.  Volume manufacture began to move to low-cost areas in the Far East, especially China, putting pressure on prices.  Cyclical demand for PCBs aggravated price pressure.  As prices fell, profits fell too, exactly at the time that designs were getting more complex and investment was needed in new manufacturing and test technology.  The result was a dramatic decline in the number of board shops in the West.  Some became little more than brokers for Chinese suppliers.  For others survival meant specialization.  The Chinese plants were not interested in small batch PCBs and not fast enough for prototypes, while their quality was regarded as suspect for high-technology boards, especially for sensitive applications like avionics and defense.  Many board manufacturers moved into these high-technology niche markets.  Others specialised in prototypes and small batch PCBs supplied on a fast lead-time.  Order pooling was a natural technology to adopt to meet price pressure, and pooling companies appeared in USA and Europe.  Eurocircuits was set up as the online order-pooling arm of the Europrint PCB fabrication group in 2000.  By 2011 it generated over 90% of the group turnover, and we re-structured the whole organisation under the name by which most of our customers knew us, Eurocircuits.

The internet boom of the late 1990s (despite the “bust” in 2000) got more people used to the idea of buying online.  The second pillar of the modern order-pooling company was in place, and companies like Eurocircuits began to grow.  The growth of online buying led the development of a new delivery infrastructure to match.  The new pooling companies were able to expand their operations across wider geographical areas.  Thus today Eurocircuits delivers all across Europe as well as globally, including the Americas, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Conclusion

Today’s electronics designers, in whatever country they live, have a good choice of quality suppliers of standard and high-technology prototype and small batch PCBs.  They can source PCBs for their new designs quickly and efficiently from their desks, as well as getting committed service and technical support from their vendor, where possible from fluent speakers of their own languages (at Eurocircuits we offer online chat support in at least 6 languages).

Just as our ancient caveman used his knowledge of flint to find the best nodules for his neighbours, so we want to share our fabrication knowledge with the wider European design community and to learn from them what they need for their leading-edge designs.  We are committed to maintain and expand our low-cost order pooling services and to develop new support tools to help PCB designers bring their projects to market on time and on budget.  In this way we will make a positive contribution to the success of the electronics industry in the Western world.

References

Olivier Cadic, Info-Elec, founder of www.pcb007.com

Ton Klaver, Bellmann, www.bellmann.nl

UK Sales Manager – PCBs

Eurocircuits are looking for a UK-based Sales Manager to handle sales and technical support in the UK, with some additional input into other European countries. The position has become vacant due to retirement.

The primary responsibility of the role is to grow turnover in the UK to a level justifying our own UK sales company. You will achieve this by active prospecting, exploiting our extensive contact database and working with existing customers. As we specialise in prototype and small batch PCBs, electronics designers are our target market. Here providing good technical support is one of the keys to attracting and retaining new customers.

The job’s secondary responsibility is to be part of the team providing online technical support for customers in other European countries where we don’t have our own sales subsidiaries.

As UK Sales Manager you will work from home, supported by colleagues (all English-speaking) from our head office in Mechelen, Belgium, and by our comprehensive online sales administration system.

You should be able to demonstrate some years of successful technical sales to electronics design engineers. You should also have a sound working knowledge of PCB fabrication. The role demands a self-motivated self-starting manager, able to work effectively remote from the central office. Overseas travel will not normally be required other than for sales meetings or trade shows.

Salary is negotiable depending on experience.

Eurocircuits are one of Europe’s largest specialist manufacturers of prototype and small batch PCBs. Our head-quarters are in the historic town of Mechelen in Belgium. We have factories in Germany, Hungary and India, sales subsidiaries in Germany, France, Switzerland and USA and local sales in the UK and Italy. Over the last 13 years we have developed a lean online business model based on order-pooling. This allows us to deliver small batches of PCBs across a wide range of technologies, fast, reliably, at low cost to our customers, and profitably to ourselves – profits which have financed a substantial program of re-investment over the last 3 – 4 years. In the first 9 months of this year we have already shipped more than 53,000 PCBs orders to over 7000 different customers across Europe.

To apply, please send your CV and the names of two referees to Dirk Stans, Sales Director, at dirk.stans@eurocircuits.com. Referees will not be contacted without your permission. Or email Dirk for more information. Interviews will be held in the UK end of October and November.

Eurocircuits, environment and REACH regulation

Eurocircuits and environment

Eurocircuits believe that we have an important duty to ensure good environmental practices in all business operations and to provide the necessary organization, commitment and training to fulfill this obligation. We aim to continuously improve our environmental performance, pollution prevention and environmental protection.


All employees are responsible for implementing our policy and contributing to its success through their actions.

Our company is committed to comply with all environmental laws and regulations, and all other requirements to which the organization subscribes.

We are reducing our impact on the environment by cutting our energy use. We started an energy saving project in 2008. From then on we have continuously monitored our energy usage. From 2009 we have used a web service based ION Enterprise monitoring system. In the first 2 years of our energy saving project we were able to decrease our water and electricity usage by more than 25 %.

We produce our printed circuits boards on pooling panels to reduce material, water and energy usage.

REACH

REACH is the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The law came into force on 1 June 2007, with a phased implementation over the next ten years.

The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. The REACH Regulation places greater responsibility on industry to manage the risks from chemicals and to provide safety information on the substances. Manufacturers and importers are required to gather information on the properties of their chemical substance, which will allow their safe handling, and to register the information in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki. REACH monitors and identifies potentially harmful chemical substances, not only as they are manufactured or imported but also as they occur in articles or products. Accordingly, REACH affects not only the producers of chemicals, but also all manufacturers of finished goods, distributors, retailers and importers working within the EU.

System of REACH

REACH establishes procedures for collecting and assessing information on the properties and hazards of substances.

Registration

Manufacturers and importers of substances have to submit a registration to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for each substance manufactured or imported in quantities of 1 tonne or more per year per company. Registration is based on the “one substance, one registration” principle, so the companies need to work together with other companies who are registering the same substance, and have to submit their registration together.

In the absence of registration the substance cannot be manufactured or imported.

Evaluation

ECHA and the Member States evaluate the information submitted by companies to clarify if a given substance constitutes a risk to human health or the environment.

Authorisation

The main objectives of the authorization are to ensure adequate control of the risks related to certain substances and to help replacement of the Substances of Very High Concern with safer alternatives.

Restrictions

Restriction is a tool to protect human health and the environment from unacceptable risks of chemicals. Authorities can decide to restrict the use of a particular substance or make its use subject to a prior authorisation. Restrictions can ban hazardous substances if their risks are unmanageable.

Our Reach declaration

Our declaration is available here.

Eurocircuits and Conflict Minerals

What are Conflict Minerals?

Conflict?

Conflict Minerals are minerals originating from areas of armed conflict and human rights abuse, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

These minerals are traded through middlemen from neighbouring countries, so countries where conflict materials can originate from include also Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.



Minerals?

The most commonly mined minerals are cassiterite, wolframite,coltan, and gold, which are extracted from the Eastern Congo, We are concerned about cassiterite (basis for making tin) and gold, as these metals are used in our production process.



Suppliers?

We contacted our suppliers for these metals and got confirmation that the material we receive from them do not origin from conflict areas. Based on this information we can issue a conflict minerals declaration.



Supporting Documents

Eurocircuits Conflict Minerals Declaration can be found here.

Felder Conflict Minerals Declaration (supplier of tin for HAL) felder konflikt-metalle.pdf

Ampere (tin for plating line) Conflict Minerals Declaration – Ampere Konfliktmaterial – Conflict Material