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Reference document: http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13632/articles_en.pdf
“Guidance On Requirement For Substances In Articles”
Deciding What Is An Article Under REACH (section 3; see page 21)
"Article means an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than its chemical composition;".
In a general understanding, an article is an object composed of one or more substances or preparations given a specific shape, surface or design. It may be produced from natural materials, such as wood or wool, or from synthetic ones, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Substances or preparations may be added to give an article its special properties. Most of the commonly used objects in private households and industries are articles, e.g. furniture, clothes, vehicles, books, toys, kitchen equipment, and electronic equipment.
Appendices 2 contains example of borderline cases illustrating the decision-making process.
POLYMER PROCESSING (page 49)
In the polymer processing industry, the transition point from preparation to article is defined after the conversion of polymer pellets. The conversion process is what transforms the preparation into an article. The figure shows one example product / process which can be regarded as typical for the polymer processing industry and therefore represents also other processes like calendaring, injection molding, etc.
The diagram on the left side below displays the conversion process of crude oil into PE foils (page 88, Figure 9). The conversion process to transform the raw materials into articles. The diagram on the right side below represents the process of converting raw material to Twitchell Textilene yarn. As one can see, the correlations between the two diagrams have strong similarities: Twitchell Textilene yarns are articles under REACH regulations.
The plastic products diagram gives an illustrative example of the general transition point from raw materials to plastic articles (PE foils). In the adjacent diagram, the same is true for Twitchell Textilene yarn, a transition point from raw materials to plastic articles (PVC yarn with PET filament core).
See also Table 12, page 50 of Technical Guidance Document