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PCB | September 28, 2007

HDP Initiates Halogen Free Properties Project

HDP User Group International Announces the Halogen Free Properties Project for Electronics Products.
The High Density Packaging User Group International, Inc. (HDP), a global non-profit cooperative research and development organization for the Telecommunications and Computer industries, announced the initiation of a project to create a distributed database containing information on the properties and availability of halogen-free electronic components and materials.

Flame-retarded plastics are commonly needed to meet strict fire safety codes for electronic equipment. Certain halogenated compounds (of which brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, are a subset) are used as flame retardants in a variety of applications including thermoplastics, insulation materials, component mold compounds, solder masks and printed circuit board laminates. In addition, polyvinyl chloride or PVC (a resin that contains chlorine, a halogen) is a commonly used base resin for certain cable jacketing. However, concerns have arisen that these materials may pose certain risks to health or the environment particularly at end-of-life. At this time, several governments are considering regulation to prohibit or restrict the use of these types of substances in electronic (and other) products. Within the marketplace, environmentally-preferable purchasing standards (such as TCO, Blue Angel, Nordic Swan, etc) also include restrictions on the use of these substances in certain products. In order for the electronics industry to continue it's long-standing commitment to product stewardship, companies throughout the supply chain will need to understand which “halogen-free" alternatives are available, as well as the electrical, mechanical and environmental, health and safety properties of these alternatives.

Since 2001, the HDP User Group has been at the forefront of evaluating halogen-free materials within the electronics industry. In 2007, HDP User Group initiated the Halogen-free Properties Project aimed at assembling a comprehensive Halogen-Free Guideline and Halogen-free Materials Database. The Halogen-free Materials Database will serve as a centralized database allowing suppliers to list their halogen-free product offerings and the properties of those offerings in a uniform, concise format that is easily accessible to product designers. Increased access to this information will enhance supply chain adoption of halogen-free components. Dell Inc. is leading this new project with project participants including major companies such as HP, IBM, Sun, Fujitsu-Siemens, NEC, Hitachi, Intel, AMD, NanYa, Supresta, Albemarle, Alcatel-Lucent, Aspocomp, Celestica, Clariant, Coretec, EIT, General Electric, Isola Group, ITRI, Kaneka Texas Corp., Multek, Park Nelco, as well as the US EPA.

The participants of this project are currently soliciting involvement by interested companies throughout the industry. Direction and guidance from as large a cross section of the industry as possible will help make the database successful and enhance adoption of these new alternative materials.

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