Heard in the Channel: Manufacturers Still Unprepared for Conflict Minerals Rule

Industry survey shows 42% of electronic component manufacturers not yet prepared for May 31 conflict minerals reporting rule; plus news from AMPT, East Coast Microwave, Laird Technologies, and more

As the deadline for reporting the use of so-called conflict minerals to the U.S. federal government looms, a new study shows that a large portion of electronic component manufacturers are unprepared to meet the requirement.

Industry researcher IHS, Inc. surveyed manufacturers as part of a webinar on the subject in December and found that 22% said they were not sure what to do to meet the regulations on conflict minerals. Another 20% said they had just begun to create a plan for meeting the regulations. IHS surveyed 162 companies from five regions around the world, with most based in the United States.

Conflict minerals are raw materials sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where their trade fuels violence and human rights violations. The minerals in question—tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin—are commonly used in electronic components needed for everything from cell phones to medical equipment. Federal regulations require publicly traded companies to report their use of conflict minerals in producing their products beginning this May. The requirements are part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect in August 2012 with initial reporting required by May 31, 2014.

Although the reporting requirements apply only to publicly traded companies, the effects are being felt throughout the supply chain because those companies must gather information on the presence and origin of conflict minerals in the products and materials they source from their suppliers. This includes distributors and raw materials suppliers.

Industry trade groups have launched resources to keep companies throughout the supply chain up-to-date on the conflict minerals issue. The Electronic Components Industry Association and IPC—The Association Connecting Electronics Industries are two groups with dedicated online resources.

In other industry news:

  • Independent distributor Advanced MP Technology is celebrating its 35th year in business, an event that coincides with the opening of a new automated logistics center in San Clemente, Calif.; the 60,000 square-foot center gives the distributor additional resources and storage space for inventory management services and houses a more advanced quality control testing facility with the addition of new testing equipment.
  • Authorized distributor East Coast Microwave was recently certified to the AS 9100 C quality standard.
  • Manufacturer Laird Technologies announced the release of its Bluetooth Selection Tool, which allows engineers to narrow down the company’s Bluetooth offerings and choose the right module solution for specific project requirements.
  • Connector manufacturer Precision Connector, Inc. announced its updated website at www.precisionconnector.com; the site includes new and enhanced product sections and selection tools.
  • TTI, Inc. signed a distribution agreement with the PKC Group to become the first authorized distributor of PKC’s component products to include power distribution centers, connection systems, terminal systems, and routing and retention aids.
  • Mouser Electronics entered into an agreement with Axiomtek to supply its extensive offering of single board computers, industrial motherboards, and embedded systems.

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