Benefits of Moving to Lead-Free Electronic Assembly
Posted by Alphaassembly on November 26th, 2017
Since the past decade, there has seen a gradual, yet consistent, shift from traditional Tin/Lead towards lead-free electronic assembly. The RoHS and WEEE Directives have been consistently driving the electronics manufacturing industry towards the use of lead-free solders, but the concept still faces some opposition from the market. Adopting lead-free alternatives means making considerable tweaking of existing electronics assembly systems so that the significantly higher melting temperatures of lead-free solders can be accommodated. Other issues that are cited as arguments against this change are reliability and moisture sensitivity of new solder materials. But those who understand the stakes involved know better – the benefits of moving to a lead-free assembly are staggering! Here, in this article, you will find all the information that you might need to convince yourself for making the change to lead-free solders for your electronics manufacturing operations.Also See: Lead Free, Free Solder, Electronics Assembly, Solder Materials, Solder, Lead, Free
Choosing lead-free solder over traditional lead-based options – the main reason
You might be aware that lead happens to be a highly toxic metal whose poisonous effects can create severe health issues for any human who comes into contact with it. However, it has been used extensively in the electronics manufacturing industry because of the specific properties that tin/lead solders exhibit. To counter the question of toxicity, most manufacturers cited the fact that there is very little evidence of lead-based solder being harmful for users, primarily because the metal can be harmful only when ingested directly into the body through the eyes, mouth and/or nose. Simply touching lead cannot harm you. But the world today understands that these claims are far from reality. Estimates place electronic scrap generated on the earth to be about 6.5 million tons per annum, of which around 24000 tons accounts for lead used in solder joints. Most of this scrap ends up in landfills, from where the toxic lead leaches into the ecosystem through ground water and soil, making its way up the food chain until it finally reaches complex plants, animals and humans. And this indirect consumption of lead is creating a serious danger to the life and health of all these organisms.
The option of recycling lead is also present, but most of this lead ends up being used in car batteries which, in turn, reach landfills after being exhausted. So the natural solution would be to prevent lead from reaching the dumpsites at all. And the way to do that is to shun the metal from the electronic assembly industry altogether.
Choosing lead-free solder over traditional lead-based options – additional benefits
Lead-free solder materials have their own specific properties that have generated quite a few advantages for electronics assembly processes. Here is a list for your perusal:
• Lead-free solder can help reduce the overall size of PCBs, which helps manufacturers in following the industry trend towards miniaturization of gadgets.
• The solder supports the production of PCBs with increasingly tighter and finer pitches and components. High density semi-conductors can now be designed with much smaller proportions.
• The solder offers reliability and usability features that are comparable with conventional leaded solder materials. This fact makes the switchover to lead-free assembly easy and efficient.
Need more reasons to make the change? Adopt lead-free electronics assembly systems in your facility too and play your part in preserving the earth’s environment and health of everyone on it.
About the Author:
Alpha Assembly Solutions, Inc. is the global leader in the development, manufacturing and sales of innovative specialty materials used in a wide range of industry segments, including electronics assembly, power electronics, die attach, LED lighting, photovoltaics, semiconductor packaging, automotive and others. Since its founding in 1872, Alpha has been committed to developing and manufacturing the highest quality specialty materials.