LONDON Attendees at the SMART Group 8th Annual Lead-Free Seminar admitted their companies will not be compliant by the July 1 deadline.
The majority of questionnaires returned at the event showed that industry will either not be ready or is uncertain that it will meet the looming compliance date. Also a high number of companies believe they are exempt from the Directive.
The greatest challenges cited by the attendees (pictured below) for being non-compliant by July 1 were non availability of lead-free components, compliance issues, cost of stock to support spares, reliability, moisture sensitive devices, and rework & repair.
There were over 160 delegates at the event the most intriguing paper of the day was from Steve Brown, Global Product Manager-Wave Chemistry, Cookson Electronics, who accepted the poison chalice of speaking on the solder patent issue, the subject that many other speakers had refused. Brown covered intellectual property considerations, lead-free alloy patents and the typical cost of the royalty payment.
Steve Dowds, Global Product Manager, Multicore Solder Products – Henkel, presented ‘IPC-SPVC: Comparison of SAC Solder Compositions’ on behalf of the IPC Solder Product Value Council, whose goal was to reduce the confusion regarding alloy choice and is devoted to achieving a worldwide consensus on the issue. This three year, $1 million Reliability Test Programme looked at the impact of lead-free implementation on solder selection.
The SPVC 96.5/3.0/0.5 Sn/Ag/Cu recommendation becomes the commodity alloy for Pb-free applications and other key conclusions include that Standard FR4 laminate can be used, while voiding (at least in this study) had no impact on reliability.
Other presentations came from Neil Stanton of BSI Product Services, Alan Lund, the Product Compliance Manager at RS Components, and Nigel Burtt, Production Engineering Manager at Dolby Laboratories European HQ, who explained how company very early set up a RoHS/WEEE project team to implement the production changeover to RoHS compliant products.
Abigail Cottrell, Eco-Design & Product Policy at the Department of Trade & Industry gave the latest update on legislation and as well as providing an update on the materials not to be included from July 1, the agreed exemptions and those pending, she explained that there is now an informal network of EU RoHS enforcement bodies to ensure a uniform EU approach.