Journal of SMT Article

Lead-Free Solder Assembly Implementation for a Mid-Range Power Systems Server

Authors: PK Pu, Theron Lewis, Marie Cole, Mark Hoffmeyer, John Shaughnessy, Tom Finck, Mark Stevens, Kari Fischer, and Joe Doman
Company: IBM Corporation
Date Published: 1/30/2012   Volume: 25-1

Abstract: The implementation of lead-free solder card assembly processes continues to expand across the server system portfolio. This conversion is driven by the possible future expiration of the EU RoHS exemption that allows the continuing use of leaded solder for the assembly of server, storage and similar high performance, high reliability systems. Mid-range systems in the IBM Power architecture family are comprised of numerous card assemblies ranging in complexity and contain some unique hardware designs. In addition to the technical challenges in producing these assemblies reliably, there are planning and logistics challenges that must be addressed to ensure efficient introduction of lead-free solder processes into the system roadmap.

This paper will discuss both the logistics and technical challenges required to define and execute the lead-free solder assembly process implementation for a mid-range server. This work shows that some mid-range server applications can transition to full lead-free assembly and is a critical advancement that paves the way to extend lead-free solder assembly processes throughout the server portfolio. The card assemblies targeted in this work were successfully qualified with lead-free assembly from both a yield and reliability perspective. Based on this work, however, technical challenges do remain in developing a lead-free card assembly process for high end server hardware.


lead-free transition, high complexity SMT, RoHS Server exemption

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