This year will be decisive for the implementation of the EU’s REACH regulation.
Solid foundations have been laid and the project is now entering its operational phase.
|REACH is laying the groundwork for a broader goal, which is to eliminate every potentially hazardous substance used on helicopters. Eliminating these substances doesn’t just involve finding a substitute, but certifying that the substitute provides the same level of performance.|
In 2008, the priority was to pre-register
the substances used by Eurocopter. The
accent was also placed on compiling a
list of Substances of Very High Concern
(SVHC) under REACH. Based on the
Candidate List of the European Chemical
Agency(2), this classification work identified
the priority substances and established a
plan of action to ensure their traceability all
along the supply chain. Plans for the substitution
of substances and future investments
were also defined.
The goals for 2009 are different: This year
Eurocopter must manage and build a
durable supply chain, which will primarily
require improved traceability of substances
all along their life cycle (including, in particular,
radioactive substances or even substances
targeted by the RoHS(3) directive).
The stated goals are to avoid disruption
of supply and to provide customers and
authorities with all the mandatory environmental
information. Secondly, plans for
the substitution of substances or future
investments will be implemented for the
Substances of Very High Concern identified on the list. To meet
these two goals, the reference documentation must be made
more comprehensive and integrated in the existing tools.
And representatives from the Purchasing, Procurement, Health,
Safety & Environment departments, the Materials & Processes
Laboratory, and the Design Office will join the REACH project
where they will have more of a say in how things are run.
In the longer term, REACH is laying the groundwork for a broader
goal, which is to eliminate every potentially hazardous substance
used on helicopters. Eliminating these substances doesn’t just
involve finding a substitute, but certifying that the substitute provides
the same level of performance. This gives one an idea of the
scope of the task and its impact on every step in the development
of a product: From the earliest work at the Design Office (substituting
the hazardous substances right from the get-go) through
to customer delivery (informing customers where any potentially
hazardous substances are located on the aircraft).
REACH is not therefore just about bringing substances into conformity
with the regulations, but is providing the framework for a
more strategic analysis of how helicopters are designed, built,
sold and operated. This is a great chance for Eurocopter to put
together a very persuasive sales offer and to turn a limitation into a