The RoHS Lead Free Directive and How to Comply

The RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC is usually referred to as the Lead-cost-free RoHS, even even though it covers 5 other hazardous components. The explanation for this nick-name may possibly be the ubiquitous nature of lead in electronic equipment and the possible overall health hazards linked with lead contamination. As per the directive, a item has to be under a threshold limit of 1000 components per million (ppm) of lead on a homogeneous (any single substance that can’t be separated mechanically) material basis.

The lead content material in electronic components and systems comes primarily from discrete and IC (integrated circuit) packages, especially their solder pins, solder balls or bumps, as effectively as from electrical insulation materials. Attempts to accomplish a lead totally free regime inside the EU have primarily been based on two approaches. The first is innovative new package styles such as Plastic Leaded Chip Carriers (PLCC) and LFQ (plastic) packages. The availability of RoHS qualified packages such as Thin Quad Flat Pack (TQFP) Plastic Quad Flat Pack (PQFP) is gradually but certainly increasing.

The second strategy is the replacement of traditional Sn60Pb40 solder with lead-free solders which are primarily tin-copper-silver alloys. Each element plays a different role in the solder alloy. The lead-totally free solders typically have larger melting points and consequently want higher reflow temperatures. Consequently re-engineering of most elements used in electronic assemblies is typically required. Low lead solders are tougher, leading to cracks as an alternative of plastic deformation due to thermal stresses, and so issues remain concerning long term stability and life-cycle of RoHS compliant merchandise.

Lead free RoHS compliance has been a slow approach. Finding the correct elements is nevertheless a difficulty, especially in the semiconductor chip segment where the price of conversion to RoHS compliant parts has not been commensurate with wants. The higher cost of approach redesign and re-tooling for lead free soldering has also been a deterrent, specifically for modest organizations. RoHS compliance concerns, nevertheless, go beyond merely finding the appropriate elements or adopting lead-free of charge soldering.

To successfully comply with the RoHS directive what is necessary is an all encompassing work, backed by devoted management commitment. A great starting point is a “know your customer” program. This provides insight into consumer needs, both brief and extended-term. It investigates their conversion plans, transition period plans, future requirements of spares for existing leaded products, backward and forward compatibility, and so on.

The subsequent critical step is a organization-wide inter-disciplinary compliance team, supported by a compliance mission statement and roadmap. The roadmap would incorporate milestones for required conversions, retooling and so forth. It is very critical to asses the company’s provide chain exposure and to qualify its suppliers. The accomplishment of the compliance plan will significantly depend upon the potential of suppliers to make sure RoHS compliance of the materials and elements supplied by them. For that reason, supplier qualification is crucial.

An effective end to finish material tracking and documentation method is important for making certain Lead-free of charge RoHS compliance. It also demonstrates due diligence. The IPC 175X regular for supplier-manufacturer data exchange at distinct sophistication levels, called “classes” is such a method. Adopting an proper class level of the IPC 1752 standard (which is portion of the IPC 172X Regular) may be a preferred selection. Achieving Lead-totally free RoHS compliance will not be difficulty free of charge, but following the above methods can definitely move a business properly along the path to each RoHS compliance and a healthier planet.

Sandra Noble, president, Noble &amp Associates Consulting: I.T. Method Evaluation/Assessments, Software program Evaluation ERP/Oracle/SAP and the remedy for Post Implementation Distress

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