RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU – Equipment for Research and Development


The understanding of many CE marking Directives is enhanced oftentimes by comparing a specific product to the recitals, articles, and annexes of the Directive and a detailed reading of the accompanying guidance document that is usually available to read alongside the law.

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive 2011/65/EU and the RoHS 2 FAQ is an example of this. RoHS excludes certain equipment from the scope of applicability in Article 2. We will look in particular, today, at the Article 2 (4) (j) exclusion – Research and Development Equipment made only available business to business.

See RoHS 2011/65/EU, Article 2 (4) (j) below –




On its face it would appear that equipment as describe above is categorically excluded from the Directive. That would be good news if you are a manufacturer of a product like, for instance – an electron microscope marketed solely for professional use.

The exclusion is not available for electron microscopes or other equipment similarly described. This is uncovered by reading the RoHS 2 FAQ guidance document, published alongside the Directive on the European Commission page for the Environment.

Section 4 of the FAQ reveals detailed guidance, see below.




We note the reference to “custom built solely for very specific R&D applications.” This means that the exclusion is not available to equipment built for sale to whoever can use it. A good rule of thumb would be that if you are offering this for sale on your website to whoever wants it, you probably cannot benefit from Article 2 (4) (j).  The equipment meant to benefit from this exclusion is equipment designed and assembled for one specific task and then, at the conclusion of the activity, disassembled or mothballed.

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