ICSR (Soldering and Reliability) Conference Proceedings


Author: J. Scott Nelson
Company: Harris Corporation
Date Published: 5/22/2009   Conference: ICSR (Soldering and Reliability)

Abstract: Since the European Union (EU) legislation regulates the use of lead and other environmentally hazardous elements, using lead-free solders in consumer electronics has emerged. Specifically, in the United States, Tin-Silver-Copper (SAC) has been the alloy of choice, although several variations on the Tin-Copper alloy have been used extensively for non-SMT applications.

The use of lead-free alloys in commercial electronics has been underway for almost a decade, but the use of lead-free solder in high-reliability applications is still very limited. This is at least in part due to a reluctance to change established assembly processes without historical reliability data.

Results from numerous reliability studies comparing tinlead to lead-free have yielded mixed results for SMT components but for through-hole components, durability testing has not yielded significant failure data to give cause for concern.

As the high-reliability community is pushed towards leadfree assembly, lead-free wave soldering may be the best place to start. This paper discusses the methodology to establish a lead-free wave soldering process for use in high reliability electronics assembly. Topics of discussion include specifications and contractual requirements, PWB and component requirements, flux and alloy selection, process parameter determination, product reliability concerns.

Keywords: Lead-free, Wave soldering

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