September 2017, the plating world for fan guards will change dramatically. REACH has made the determination that it will sunset Cr6 Hexavalent Chromium from the plating process, a production process that has been in place for over 50 years. The Cr6, a known cancer causing agent will now be required to be discontinued in the actual manufacturing of the chrome plated fan guards. Up until this time, certain allowable limits were permitted, that has changed beginning September 2017. The problems will arise in the industry, given that other than Gardtec, there is no active plating company in the Chinese fan guard market, that either has the capital to make the change, or the technical ability to comply with these new REACH standards. Companies that either manufacture for the Euro market, or intend to market in the future will find themselves in violation of REACH rules. Unlike RoHS in which there are no specific fines, violations of REACH are governed by individual “States” within Europe and penalties can be extremely severe.
Powder coated fan guards finger guards, fall outside of current REACH/RoHS standards for environmental issues and are considered safe. Electro Deposit fan guards also fall into the area which is considered both safe for the environment and production workers. Fan tray assemblies, fan power cords, daisy chain fan cords, do not typically contain substances which are included in either the REACH/RoHS banned materials categories.
REACH, which is the European Union set of regulations, with the driving purpose to address production and use of chemical substances in both the finished product, as well as the actual manufacturing environment for purposes of protecting human health and the environment.