RoHS | November 22, 2005

ELFNET Delivers 'Issues To Solutions' Initiative in Lead-Free Soldering

The European electronics industry is entering a business-critical period with only nine months to go before the RoHS Directive deadline of July 2006. ELFNET - the European Lead-Free Soldering Network - has been working to tackle the key remaining implementation issues for this revolutionary technology and now invites the lead-free soldering community to get involved in a new set of collaborative opportunities.
"The objective of the ELFNET 'Issues to Solutions' initiative is to urgently co-ordinate, integrate and optimise the critical mass of European research in lead-free soldering. This is in line with our aim to provide pan-European support for the implementation of the RoHS Directive," comments Dr Jeremy Pearce, ELFNET Co-ordinator.

The ELFNET network brings together communities of experts from research specialising in solders, components, assembly, reliability and recycling, with industry groups in consumer, automotive/industrial, aerospace/defence, IT/telecoms sectors.

In the first year of the project each of these groups drew up and prioritised lists of implementation issues for lead-free soldering technology. The work from the ELFNET experts has led to a harmonised list of issues in the 'ELFNET Issues to Solutions Matrix' published on the project website, of which around 20 currently have a top priority. A set of new initiatives has been launched, to reach collective Solutions.

It is already clear that on some of the identified issues much of the key knowledge in Europe is held by a few. It is the urgent task of ELFNET through its website, to bring this information to the many.

Further, it appears that as the deadline approaches the focus is on the supply chain and compliance though a number of key technical issues still remain. Priority action topics are:

- Materials declaration

- Marking, labelling and component numbering

- Obsolescence

- Compatibility

- Reliability

- Tin whiskers

- Large and complex boards

- Harsh environments

- Solder alloy properties

More information about progress in these areas will be released in the coming months.

The ELFNET project has been funded by the European Commission to provide the best
available opportunity for coordinating efforts. ELFNET now urges the European
research community to come forward and work together within this unique framework.
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