Sea of Scrap Vehicles, the Target of Regulation by the End-of-Life Vehicle Directive (ELV)

ELV Compliance

Applied Technical Services performs ELV compliance testing for automotive manufacturers and parts suppliers to ensure they meet the criteria defined in this EU directive. Officially adopted in 2000, the End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive outlines a set of requirements that automotive companies must abide by to sell vehicles in the European Union (EU). These requirements help reduce the environmental impact of automotive scrap — both parts and vehicles. Much like a similar directive concerning consumer electronics, called the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, ELV sets recycling benchmarks for automotive products to meet and restricts the use of certain materials detrimental to human and environmental health in automotive components.
EU member nations require ELV compliance for automotive manufacturers to sell their products in their economic region. Noncompliance with the directive can result in punitive fines or, in the case of flagrant offenses, denial of importation to member countries. To maintain access to this large sector of the global automotive market, both manufacturers and suppliers around the world abide by the EU’s requirements.
Restricted Substance Criteria for ELV Compliance
The ELV directive holds manufacturers responsible for the compliance of their vehicles. For this reason, OEMs established the International Materials Data System (IMDS), to keep track of the materials that make up their products. By doing so, OEMs have passed some of the accountability for material compliance onto their parts suppliers. The EU requires certificates of compliance affirming that parts contain only acceptable amounts of restricted materials. Third-party testing labs like ATS perform the analysis needed to verify the compliance of component materials.
To achieve compliance with the ELV’s restriction on environmentally hazardous substances, the chemical composition of automotive components cannot contain the following materials in the associated concentrations:
According to ELV provisions, all automotive products manufactured for sale in the EU after 1 July 2003 have had to abide by the above restrictions. These limitations apply not to the chemical composition of the final assembly, but instead to each mechanically separable component. As an example, cadmium must constitute less than 0.01% of the weight of the relay in an electric vehicle’s high-voltage charging cord for the entire product to comply with the ELV.
ATS can help keep automotive clients achieve compliance with ELV requirements by testing components to detect and measure the presence of heavy metals restricted by the directive.
How ATS Tests for Restricted Metals
Our metals analysis lab uses a method called Inductively Coupled Plasma/Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) to determine client materials’ chemical composition. Because the process only utilizes liquid specimens, our chemists first digest the sample using acids. They load the resulting solution into our specialized instrumentation, which then engages a plasma source to superheat the analyte. The light emitted by the sample bears information unique to each element: information our equipment analyzes to determine the identity and concentration of elements present in the solution.

ATS produces measurements as precise as 1–10 parts per million (ppm), much more sensitive than required for ELV compliance. Our lab maintains an ISO 17025 (A2LA) accreditation to perform this method to ASTM E1479 for all four ELV-restricted metals and ASTM E1613 for lead specifically.

About Applied Technical Services
Since 1967, Applied Technical Services has dedicated itself to offering testing, inspection, and consulting engineering capabilities of the highest caliber. We have grown immensely since our founding in 1967; once a group of three engineers aiding local businesses from our founder’s basement, ATS has since flourished into a multidisciplinary firm serving clients in dozens of countries around the world with the expertise of over 1,000 chemists, scientists, technicians, inspectors, Professional Engineers, investigators, and calibrators. Although we perform ICP-AES for companies from a wide variety of industries, our capacity as an ELV compliance testing lab exclusively benefits the automotive industry.
If your company needs to ensure your automotive products comply with ELV, contact ATS today — We take a closer look!

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