Cornet Technology Inc. (CTI) announced April 16 that its corporate-wide environmental protection plan is compliant with the European Union’s (EU) directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic products. Moreover, the company’s proactive actions make it compliant with California’s recently enacted RoHS legislation.

Cornet Technology is a manufacturing and services company consisting of three divisions: Cornet Technology Communications designs and manufactures data, voice and video network switching products and provides integration services for federal and commercial markets; Video Convergence provides video products and comprehensive integration services to the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and strategic security markets; and Optim Systems develops and integrates audio, video and Web conferencing solutions for government and commercial organizations. Founded in 1989, CTI is headquartered in Springfield, Va., near Washington, D.C.

To meet RoHS requirements, the company upgraded its surface mount assembly line to implement a lead-free process at its Springfield, Va., manufacturing facility. The enhanced process includes replacing the lead components on circuit boards with new, eco-friendly, lead-free parts. This new surface mount technology (SMT) equipment gives CTI the flexibility to meet all of its customers’ product needs now and in the near future. In addition, CTI upgraded its equipment to include a new solder paste printer, which allows very precise printing of the lead-free paste while a new reflow oven, with the capability of reaching the extremely high temperatures necessary for soldering lead-free surface mount components, was also added.

This upgrade also allows CTI design engineers to create compact boards that require less space, while still delivering high-quality product enhancements. Together, these equipment and process upgrades fulfill the requirements of the RoHS directive, making CTI operations fully RoHS compliant.

The RoHS directive responds to the growing concerns over human health and environmental risks associated with the use of certain environmentally sensitive materials in the production of electronic products. The EU implemented the RoHS Directive in July 2006, with compliance regarding the use of unleaded solder in telecommunications products targeted for 2010. California, the first U.S. state to apply these standards, adopted similar legislation in January 2007.

CTI’s decision to achieve early RoHS compliance positions CTI ahead of most of its competitors in terms of these industry standards. As the telecommunication industry adapts its technology to meet RoHS standards, many component parts will become obsolete. For CTI, the shift to lead-free soldering allows the company to maintain a competitive advantage, while incorporating an ecologically friendly manufacturing process.

Wally Schott, director of operations for Cornet Technology, said, “Cornet Technology made a conscious business decision to become RoHS compliant because the company recognizes that adopting green manufacturing techniques is not only environmentally responsible, but also beneficial to our employees. Even though RoHS regulations have yet to take hold in Virginia, Cornet Technology is proactively working to minimize the impact of our manufacturing facility on the local environment of northern Virginia – and our employees – by voluntarily incorporating the EU and California RoHS directives.”