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A Case Study on How Enviropass Helps Manufacturers Develop Sustainable Products

Sustainability is a concept that has gained considerable attention in the past few years. Accordingly, the requirements to design and produce environmentally friendly products have become one of the main challenges manufacturers face nowadays. Here, we discuss these challenges and how Enviropass has helped Dracal Technologies develop more sustainable products.

Dracal Technologies: A Case Study

The Enviropass team has done a tremendous amount of work in a very short period of time. Their professionalism and judgment allowed them to make rapid progress on their own with the information we gave them. I recommend their services without hesitation.

Ariane Garon, Ph. D, President and CEO

Dracal Technologies is a Quebec (Canada) – based company that is innovative in the field of cutting-edge electronics and software development. Founded in 2011, Dracal Technologies develops and manufactures high-precision portable data acquisition products.
Along with Enviropass, here are the seven steps Dracal Technologies has followed toward product environmental compliance:

  1. Dracal Technologies asked Enviropass to assess their products against EU RoHS and EU REACH. A 4-week project started as soon as Enviropass received the comprehensive Bill of Materials (BOM).
  2. An Enviropass project manager gathered environmental documentation by contacting the supply chain via data mining, emails, calls, and weekly follow-ups.
  3. Additionally, the Enviropass project manager was in regular contact with Dracal Technologies and gave weekly updates on the project’s progress. As a result, our environmental data collection and analyses enabled us to qualify about 80% of the BOM.
  4. Then, Enviropass performed a risk assessment and submitted EU RoHS and EU REACH reports with corrective action plans toward full compliance, at the end of the week four-week project.
  5. Following Enviropass’s corrective action plan, Dracal Technologies was able to fix environmental matters of the 20ish % remaining BOM, except for one part. As a result, Dracal Technologies requested Enviropass to perform analytical testing for that part.
  6. After sending the samples to the ISO 17025-certified laboratory, Enviropass confirmed that the tested component was RoHS-compliant. The risk of this environmental issue was therefore solved at minimum costs.
  7. Finally, Dracal Technologies rounded up the compliance assessment of its products with the help of our services.

The Importance of Developing Sustainable Products

It is the responsibility of manufacturers to supply sustainable products that are safe for the environment and human health. Chemical safety, recyclability, and minimal adverse environmental effects are essential aspects of sustainable products. In other words, incorporating sustainability into product design and development can enhance product safety, decrease the risks that hazardous substances pose to human health and the environment, and help the world move toward a circular and low-carbon economy. Moreover, managing products’ environmental performance is crucial to ensure manufacturers can sell their products lawfully in target markets. Notably, companies can face product recalls, blocked shipments, and penalties in case of non-compliance with regulatory requirements.

The Challenges Companies Face in Developing Sustainable Products

Manufacturers confront various demands from legislators, customers, and consumers to manage and report on their products’ safety, toxicity, and overall environmental effects. On the other hand, regulatory requirements are complicated and dynamic. As a result, product environmental regulations have multiplied dramatically in recent years. Additionally, legislators amend existing regulations periodically. Furthermore, exemptions in each directive have expiry dates. Consequently, managing product environmental and regulatory performance has become an increasingly difficult challenge.

Comprehending the substances used in products and how this affects compliance, circularity, and sustainability has never been more crucial for manufacturers. Nevertheless, product compliance management is a challenging endeavor, especially for complex products in the electrical and electronics industry. There are various barriers that the compliance team faces, including the following significant challenges:

  1. Understanding hazardous substances and disclosing the presence of these chemicals in products along the supply chain,
  2. Maintaining compliance with regulations that govern the use of hazardous compounds in products. For instance, the EU REACH directive changes every 6 months by adding new chemicals to the candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC),
  3. Following tendencies toward sustainable development and adhering to the extended producer responsibility (EPR) principle, and
  4. Confronting increasing pressure on all manufacturers to expand their internal knowledge of chemicals and toxicology to improve safe chemical management.

How Enviropass Helps Companies Develop Sustainable Products

Designing and producing environmentally compliant products necessitates a significant amount of effort. Enviropass can assist you in overcoming the challenges your organization confronts in developing sustainable and non-hazardous products. We offer product assessment and testing services for a variety of products’ environmental requirements. Importantly, Enviropass performs RoHS and REACH product environmental compliance support services in accordance with standard IEC 63000Technical documentation for the assessment of electrical and electronic products with respect to the restriction of hazardous substances – and the ECHA “Guidance on requirements for substances in articles”.

Let’s discuss the steps that Enviropass typically takes to assist companies to develop and produce a sustainable product that complies with the requirements of different environmental regulations:

1. Convincing the Supply Chain and Getting their Contribution in 4 Weeks

Understanding the compliance status of every component in a product requires gathering a vast quantity of specific data from a multi-tiered supply chain. Accordingly, to undertake a compliance assessment of a complicated product, Enviropass follows the documentary approach following the IEC 63000 standard. The industry and the enforcement agencies acknowledge this standard. Some of the advantages of using this approach are:

  • Compiling as much information as possible by collaborating with the supply chain
  • Avoiding chemical analytical testing as much as possible
  • Saving money
  • Giving reliable reports

Upon receiving a comprehensive BOM from the customer, Enviropass kicks off the project. Principally, the BOM should contain the manufacturer/supplier’s name and manufacturer/supplier’s part number of all the unique components (including hardware, finishes, solder, chassis, electronic components, cables, connectors, PCBs, labels, paste, casing, etc.) of every source. Enviropass tries to gather the required environmental compliance information from suppliers’ websites and find official up-to-date documents from the manufacturers (e.g., Certificate of Compliance (CoC), Safety Data Sheet (SDS), Full Material Disclosure (FMD), etc.). We then verify if the document contains all updated information to confirm compliance. When no information is available online or when some environmental data is missing, Enviropass contacts suppliers via email or call and asks them to provide documentation or confirm the missing details. Alternatively, suppliers can fill out the relevant tabs on our EPEC form.

Regular projects take four weeks to complete. During this time, Enviropass follows up with suppliers every week via emails and calls until we get sufficient information. Additionally, it is part of the Enviropass package to be in contact with our customers by sending weekly updates regarding the project’s progress and asking remaining questions about the BOM (e.g., missing information on supplier’s name or part number, supplier contact information, drawing sheets for custom parts, etc.).

2. Performing Risk Assessments

After contacting suppliers through emails, follow-ups, and calls, an average of 20% of suppliers don’t provide valid environmental evidence. Therefore, Enviropass conducts a risk assessment and performs a Supplier and Materials Confidence Assessment (SMCA) based on the two criteria:

  • The probability of containing hazardous substances (restricted or declarable) according to materials typically used in the component, and
  • The trustworthiness of the supplier (e.g., having previous inspections or audits in place, including QC 080000, ISO 14001, or product compliance assessment procedures).

At the end of week 4, Enviropass prepares the reports based on the information gathered from the supply chain and the findings of the performed risk assessment. We submit the reports with suggested corrective action plans to the customer. In case of not having 100% responses from suppliers, the options that customers must achieve fully compliant products are:

  • Finding alternative sources that can confirm the requested environmental compliance, or
  • Following up with the current suppliers so that they eventually provide valid documentation, or
  • Sending samples for analytical testing (explained below) of the at-risk components.

Crucially, the customer replaces parts confirmed as non-compliant with active compliant ones.

Moreover, as part of our services, Enviropass continues to help customers verify any additional documents they receive from the supply chain after submission of the report.

3. Testing Samples at the Laboratory to Verify At-Risk Materials

Following the Enviropass risk assessment outcome, some materials may require laboratory testing. Then, the lab needs a minimum of samples to verify the presence and concentration of regulated substances. For this purpose, Enviropass gives companies access to cutting-edge technologies for chemical testing. Then, Enviropass issues a test report and a certificate to the client. If the chemical analysis shows that the part is non-compliant, research and development (R&D) replaces problematic materials through supply chain and product design.

Hundreds of our customers benefit from our tailored solutions! See the Enviropass list of customer’s testimonies.  

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