Timely SMART Group Lead-Free Seminar a Sell-Out

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 1 December 2003




(2003), "Timely SMART Group Lead-Free Seminar a Sell-Out", Circuit World, Vol. 29 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/cw.2003.21729dab.016



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

Timely SMART Group Lead-Free Seminar a Sell-Out

Timely SMART Group Lead-Free Seminar a Sell-Out

Keywords: SMART Group

The fifth Annual SMART Group Lead-Free Seminar and exhibition, held at NPL's new conference facility, sold out all 128 delegate spaces and a questionnaire carried out during the day confirmed that the industry, whether large or small companies, do not have a plan in place for lead-free introduction.

Six technical papers followed the opening presentation by Steven Andrews from the Recycling Policy Unit, Sustainable Development Directorate of the DTI. He spoke about the RoHS Directive (complimentary to the WEEE Directive) and the end of lead-free soldering, with the DTI's Regulatory Impact Assessment estimate costs to be around £120 m. From July 1, 2006, lead (along with other substances) will be banned (Plate 1).

During the seminar, 82 participants contributed to a survey covering all aspects of lead-free implementation. The survey was organised by Bob Willis, the Technical Director of SMART and chairperson for the day. The results are published for members and some of the results were surprising.

Plate 1 Angus Westwater – Rohm, Steve Dowds – Indium, Hector Steen – Loctite Multicore, Mike Butler – Henkel Loctite, Steven Andrews – DTI, Chris Hunt and Alan Brewin – NPL

Both small, medium and large companies do not have a complete plan in place for lead-free introduction. There was a great deal of interest 3-4 years ago when the subject of a lead-free ban was first mooted, including an excellent report published by DTI and launched by SMART at the Nepcon show. However, most engineers moved on to more pressing matters, by trying to keep their company afloat during this continuing recession. Now that a date has been set for the banning of lead, engineers are flocking back to gain knowledge of the challenges ahead.

The survey was completed by 50 OEMs, 14 CEMs and 18 material and equipment suppliers. The majority of the companies represented at the event were large companies of over 250 staff, with only three representatives from small companies of less than 50 people. The majority of all the companies were from either consumer, military or telecoms markets.

As far as the selection of alloy is concerned, 27 believe they will be using Sn/Ag/Cu for reflow, wave and hand soldering, but 45 are still reviewing literature and various reports on alternatives. The surface finish for printed circuit boards, preferred by 28 delegates, was indicated to be gold over nickel. Lead-free solder levelling and silver and tin are possible options. The majority, 48, did not know what finish they would be using for component terminations, this is despite information being readily available from lead-free component suppliers.

The reliability concerns included voiding, the possible need to clean and unknowns on fine pitch PCB designs. Many responded (28) that they did not know what they should be specifying in terms of component peak temperature, with 16 feeling that 260°C would be a maximum requirement.

It was interesting to see that 17 companies were considering the use of nitrogen for reflow and eight for wave soldering. The majority were aware of the benefits that nitrogen could provide for reflow.

The services that SMART Group can offer were voted equally as being needed, including a regularly lead-free forum, hands on workshops, process information sheets, regular updates on technical papers and reports, on site audits and a special lead-free help desk.

Now is the time for British Electronics Industry to pull together to meet the challenges ahead. It was good to see two representatives of DTI contributing in this event, Nick Jolly taking some of the questions at the end of the day. The SMART Group and NPL certainly will be offering all the help they can.

It is clear that the lead-free snowball is now rolling. The interest in this seminar was unprecedented and all the papers from this event are available on our web site www.smartgroup.org/ followed by full name of speaker.pdf as shown below:

Steven Andrews - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/stevenandrews.pdf

Hector Steen - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/hectorsteen.pdf

Alan Brewin - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/alanbrewin.pdf

Angus Westwater - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/anguswestwaters.pdf

Chris Hunt - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/chrishunt.pdf

Steve Dowds - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/stevedowds.pdf

Mike Butler - www.smartgroup.org/leadfree/mikebutler.pdf

  1. 1.

    “The RoHS Directive – The end for lead soldering”,Steven Andrews – DTI

  2. 2.

    “Assessment of Published Data on Lead-Free Solder Joint Reliability”,Dr H. Steen – Loctite Multicore

  3. 3.

    “Impact of Lead-Free on Processing and Reliability of Laminates”,Alan Brewin – NPL

  4. 4.

    “Transition to Lead-Free Components & User Induced Components”Angus Westwater – Rohm Electronics

  5. 5.

    “Lead-Free Component Issues”,Dr Chris Hunt – NPL

  6. 6.

    “Pb-Free Manufacturing Process Development & Implementation”,Steve Dowds – Indium

  7. 7.

    “New Adhesives for 260 degree C Reflow”,Mike Butler – Henkel Loctite

For more information contact: Bob Will, Technical Director of The SMART Group Tel: +44 (0)1245 351502 E-mail: bob@bobwillis.co.uk

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