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Electronics Production | October 17, 2006

IPC study indicates dissatisfaction with components manufacturers

IPC has released a study which provides insight on the current level of preparedness of 196 OEMs and 94 EMS companies worldwide and perhaps most strikingly, identifies major manufacturing issues and processes impacting lead free implementation.

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries has announced the release of "Report on IPC Lead Free Preparedness Study," which provides insight on the current level of preparedness of 196 electronic end-product manufacturers (OEMs) and 94 electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies worldwide and perhaps most strikingly, identifies major manufacturing issues and processes impacting lead free implementation. Overwhelmingly, both OEMs and EMS companies indicated reliability concerns, component acquisition and labeling, and inventory management as the greatest hindrances to lead free implementation. In addition, the report identifies systems/ inventory management and components as the major costs in lead free implementation. "IPC's study clearly pinpoints the obstacles the component industry has placed before the OEM and EMS industries' implementation of lead free technology," comments Anthony Hilvers, IPC vice president of industry programs. "In our [IPC's] meetings with senior EMS leadership, they validate the results of our study which show that component acquisition and labeling is now, and will continue to be, a significant barrier to lead free compliance. Beyond the science that is core to reliability concerns, there is no excuse for some of the labeling and component acquisition complaints we hear in our office on a daily basis." Exacerbating the current situation, respondents noted that the dwindling number of suppliers for leaded components, enforceability and regulation are issues of contention. On a positive note, awareness of the lead free requirements from the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives is high. Furthermore, from 34 to 51 percent (depending on the region) of the OEMS indicated they "are fully engaged in lead free assembly," and EMS companies showed a higher level of preparedness from 64 to 78 percent. In forecasting the shift from tin lead to lead free, OEMs and EMS companies expect to have 90 percent lead free manufacturing versus 10 percent tin lead by the year 2010.
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