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Will leaded glass fiber fall under restriction from use guidelines in the RoHS directive?

We have received more than a few calls over the past several months inquiring about RoHS compliance.

We have published a new webpage on our site to help educate and inform the market in general.

Most of the recent RoHS confusion has been generated by a competitor’s marketing push to sell a new proprietary fiber. While this fiber may have some (unconfirmed) performance characteristics (which may (or may not) have value in some applications), most of the buzz is being generated by their claim of RoHS compliance, (because the new fiber has no lead content), inferring the remaining market offers non-conforming fiber.

In general the RoHS directive was intended to apply to the electronics industry; glass containing lead was an unfortunate “victim” of the directive’s interpretation. If you look at the EU directive for RoHS, you’ll find an exemption covering white glass for optical components in section 13A on page 103. We publish a copy of the compete directive on our site for your convenience and review. As a general practice, FTI works diligently to maintain compliance with all quality and environmental mandates, and the RoHS directive is no exception. All of our products, and all of our competitors glass fiber products meet the requirement of RoHS. In July 2014, the directive committee will convene to discuss removal of optical glass entirely from the list, as the directive was never intended to cover lead in the manufacture of glass.

With regard to technical differences of the fiber, the potential performance improvement is more than offset by the premium cost. We believe the cost difference can be 2-4x more than the current market price for the raw fiber, and perhaps as much as 10x more as a component in a light guide. You should get pricing directly from potential sources and make your own value judgments.

We encourage you to discuss your application with your supplier to be sure they provide what will work best for your instrument, customer, and shareholders.

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