SMTA International Conference Proceedings


ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN ELECTRONICS AND THE TRANSITION TO LEAD-FREE SOLDERING

Author: Kay Nimmo
Company: ITRI
Date Published: 9/12/1999   Conference: SMTA International


Abstract: The proposed EC draft directive on waste electronic equipment will potentially have significant impact in two particular areas of electronic assembly; firstly, by forcing a phase-out of lead use in solder and other materials, and secondly, by limiting the use of halogenated flame retardants in boards and equipment housings.

This legislation, together with similar action in other regions will also place more emphasis on recycling end-of-life goods and therefore easier disassembly processes.

Although interest in lead-free soldering has fluctuated over the past 10 years, the recent activity in both the EC and Japan, where lead-free solder is starting to be used in mass production, has again highlighted the importance of this subject. Similarly, halide-free products are also starting to appear in Japan.

This paper describes environmental legislation and market forces world-wide that will impact on the electronics industry, and, will also summarize a recent analysis of the status of lead-free soldering. The main conclusion from this work was that lead-free soldering is technologically possible, but key implementation issues need to be addressed. Short descriptions of alternatives to halogenated flame retardants are also be included.

Keywords: lead-free, solder, halogen-free, environmental



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