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Lars Wallin columns | September 07, 2005

Approaching lead free from a practical standpoint

After years of theoretical discussions and seminars on lead free, it is now time for a more practical approach toward RoHS compliant electronics.
There are many in industry who say they have the know how to produce RoHS compliant PCBs, but few have practical experience with production in volume. To manufacture ten circuit boards and say you manage the technology leads to underestimating problems and overestimating your ability to manufacture a product that is RoHS compliant.

When the boards are ready the mundane, yet important questions regarding total PCB quality will be raised:

*Has the PCB's internal copper plating been weakened or broken?
*Has every single soldering joint been sufficiently soldered?
*Is there any lead contamination in the soldering joints?
*Do the soldering joints contain any voids?
*Is there humidity cracking on large BGA or QFP components?
*Is there any risk for whiskers that may shortcut the chip connections?
*Have the bond wires in the chips been damaged?
* Which international standards should be used for inspection?

RoHS implementation will certainly demand additional solder joint repair and damaged component exhange. This is due to new production parameters caused by modified routines and methods which are currently not tested.

IPC and JEDEC are hosting the 10th international conference on lead free electronics and assemblies on October 17-19 in Brussels. The technical conference and professional development courses will offer a practical approach to achieving RoHS compliance. Make plans now to attend this event - you'll learn everything you need to know on how to successfully implement a lead free program. Visit www.ipc.org/LFBrussels for more information.

See You in Brussels!

Lars Wallin
IPC European Representative

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